Although "low cost" was already considered as the top priority for attraction of international tourists to Việt Nam, the standard of Việt Nam's tourism product has been endlessly enhanced , evident by a large number of honorable international awards.
The incredible "reform"
In July, 2016, according to The Richest Magazine (US), Việt Nam ranked sixth among the Top 10 Cheapest Countries to Travel to in 2016. By the end of August, 2016, Việt Nam was listed among Top 20 Cheapest Places to Travel, by Roughguide (UK).
Việt Nam has been regarded as the most attractive "cheap destination" regionally and globally, for many consecutive years. Low cost has been also an important competitive advantage of Việt Nam over regional countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia, etc.
It cannot be denied that the title "the heaven of low-cost travel" has become one of the factors attracting tourists to Việt Nam. Thanks to the great effort of the Government, Việt Nam's tourism industry in 2016 took the biggest leap ever, with a growth rate of 26% compared to 2015. In 2016, Vietnam welcomed more than 10 million international arrivals, much more than 8.5 million forecast and total income from tourism hit VND400,700 billion, climbing by 18.6% compared the previous year.
Although this grow rate set a new record of Việt Nam's tourism industry at that time, Việt Nam was completely "inferior" to neighboring countries, regarding the growth rate of the number of tourists and tourism revenue. In 2016, Thailand served more than 32 million international arrivals and earned over US$64 billion - the dream of Việt Nam's tourism industry.
Once considered a weakness, tourism infrastructure is a major strength of Việt Nam's tourism industry (Photo courtesy of InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort)
While Thailand's tourism industry got professional and various investments and made tourists extremely busy enjoying its own tourism products, Việt Nam mainly offered tourism products based on available natural resources and invested less in tourism infrastructure. Poor and monotonous night tourism products made tourists confused about where to spend money, where to go or what to do when visiting Việt Nam?
But, in the last five year, besides the special attention of the Party and State, the intense involvement of strategic investors such as Sun Group, Vingroup, etc, has helped Việt Nam's tourism to reform incredibly. Once considered a weakness, tourism infrastructure is now a major strength of Việt Nam's tourism industry and helps to meet the increasing demand of tourists, especially high-end tourists. A wide range of Việt Nam's high-class tourist facilities won the world's top prestigious prizes in the tourism and recreation industry, such as World Travel Awards, World Luxury Hotel Awards or Trip Advisor, CN Traveller, etc.
Việt Nam's tourism "benefits" from international awards
Previously, international tourists only knew about InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort that was invested by Sun Group in Danang and honored as the world's most luxurious resort by WTA for four times (2014 - 2017). Nowadays, a large number of Việt Nam's award-winning resorts, hotels, tourism infrastructure and tourist facilities have become globally famous.
They are Hotel de la Coupole, MGallery Sapa - the Asia's leading design hotel; Sun World Ba Na Hills (Danang) - Asia's leading iconic tourist destination 2020, Golden Bridge - Asia's leading iconic tourist bridge 2020, Sun World Fansipan Legend - the world's leading cultural tourist attraction 2020 and the world's leading natural landscape tourist attraction 2020, etc. Vietnam had no international airport invested by a private enterprise in the past but now, Van Don International Airport, invested by Sun Group in Quang Ninh, won the world's leading regional airport 2020.
Hotel de la Coupole, MGallery Sapa was named the Asia's leading design hotel 2020 by WTA 2020
According to Phung Xuan Khanh, the Chief Executive Officer of Tien Phong Travel, 10 years ago, Việt Nam was almost "unknown" in the world tourism market, but now Việt Nam's tourism has become globally well-known. The standing of Việt Nam's tourism has reached new heights and Việt Nam has become the heaven of recreation, thanks to the development of premium hotels for high-end tourists across the North, Central and South.
Professionally invested tourism infrastructure and honorable awards continuously given to Việt Nam's facilities and destinations have really enhanced the competitiveness of Việt Nam's tourism and attracted more tourists to Việt Nam. The number of international tourists during 2015 - 2019 period rocketed 2.3 times, from 7.9 million to 18 million, whereas total income from tourism surged 2.1 times, from VND355 trillion to VND755 trillion. The average spending of international tourists also soared, from US$76.4 to US$96 per day.
“Professionally invested premium resorts, Vietnamese superb cuisine, stunning natural landscape, splendid cultural works and long-standing history, etc altogether created a unique, high-quality and impressive service chain for tourists”, said Phung Quang Thang, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents and Director of Hanoitourist.
“The impressive existence of the Golden Bridge (Danang) in the natural landscape of God Mountain (Ba Na Hills) not only promotes available natural values but also helps to sustainably develop local tourism. Tourists also visit the sights such as the Golden Bridge to enjoy natural values and the human's wise creativity.”
Despite Việt Nam's tourism industry has been facing the toughest challenges ever caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be certainly empowered by recent achievements, especially a "collection" of honorable international awards, to revive and develop after the pandemic ends.