Opportunities and challenges for Hà Nội amid tourism growth

March 10, 2023 - 08:13
Since the beginning of 2023, Việt Nam has seen a significant rise in the number of tourists. Hà Nội alone welcomed more than three million visitors in January and February, an increase of 2.8 compared to 2022. Head of the Hà Nội Tourism Department, Đặng Hương Giang, spoke to chinhphu.vn about the opportunities and challenges the tourism growth brings to the capital.
Head of the Hà Nội Tourism Department, Đặng Hương Giang. Photo chinhphu.vn

Since the beginning of 2023, Việt Nam has seen a significant rise in the number of tourists. Hà Nội alone welcomed more than three million visitors in January and February, an increase of 2.8 compared to 2022. Head of the Hà Nội Tourism Department, Đặng Hương Giang, spoke to the Vietnam Government Portal about the opportunities and challenges the tourism growth brings to the capital.

Why has the number of international tourists, especially tourists from South Korea, Japan, Thailand or France, visiting Hà Nội increased sharply?

In January and February of 2023, Hà Nội welcomed more than three million visitors, which increased by 2.8 times compared to the same period in 2022. International tourists are estimated at 535,000 and domestic tourists at 3.2 million.

In February, the occupancy of hotels in Hà Nội was about 56.2 per cent, up by 39.5 per cent over the same period in 2022.

The total revenue from tourists reached VNĐ13.2 trillion, which increased by 3.6 per cent compared to last year.

This is a highlight for the capital’s tourism this year. These results come from many reasons. Firstly, the COVID-19 pandemic is well-controlled over the world and many countries have lifted restrictions on travelling. The demand for travelling increases after a long period of restrictions.

Secondly, the Hà Nội Tourism Department has proactively improved the quality of management. The Department also promotes attractive tourism products, strengthens cooperation in market promotion and development, and communicates for new Hà Nội tourism products locally as well as abroad.

What is the key thing in the capital tourism products that can attract foreign tourists at New Year?

The demand for travelling at New Year always increases. Relics, heritage and belief sites always attract a large number of visitors. During the Lunar New Year holiday, the Perfume Pagoda attracted more than 80,000 visitors, around 3,300 people came to the Imperial Citadel and the Sóc Sơn relics complex welcomed nearly 1,000 visitors per day during the holiday.

Hà Nội has many historical relics and traditional folk festivals, so we take it as the core of tourism to promote our products. The Department has coordinated with Hà Nội authorities to direct the tourism businesses to improve service quality and build up tourism products to stick with our strengths and also can increase the experience for tourists.

The night tours, including the “Scared Night” tour at Hỏa Lò prison and the “Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long” tour at Thăng Long Imperial Citadel, have been successfully implemented.

Recently, the city also launched many new tourism products. For example, the board management of Sóc Sơn relic complex has cooperated with Sunvina Travel and Wonder Tour to produce a tour exploring heritage culture combined with health care. This combination is a new form of tourism, which promises to attract more tourists to the suburbs of Hà Nội.

How will the Hà Nội Tourism Department implement current tourism products as well as develop new ones?

In terms of developing new tourism products, the Department will work together with localities, travel agencies and tourist attractions to bring visitors attractive tours.

Visitors can experience health care while exploring cultural relics in Ba Vì, Sóc Sơn; travel along the Red River route, enjoy night cultural events at heritage sites of the city or join in sports activities in Sơn Tây, Sóc Sơn.

The Department will strengthen cooperation with key tourism provinces to have more interprovincial tours.

Annual tourism programmes and events are also planned during the year including the Hà Nội tourism programme to welcome 2023, the Hà Nội tourism photo contest, the Hà Nội gift product design contest 2023, the Hà Nội craft village and street festival in 2023, Hà Nội Ao Dai Festival and Hà Nội Autumn Festival.

To promote the capital’s tourism image to the world, the Department also welcomes FAM trips and press tours to Hà Nội.

We will continue to promote night tours in the city and improve services and activities in the pedestrian streets at Hoàn Kiếm lake, the area of Thiền Quang Lake - Thống Nhất park or the area around Sơn Tây Ancient Citadel.

The localities and tourist destinations should coordinate closely with travel agencies to design tours suitable for tourists.

Do you think Hà Nội will achieve the goal of welcoming about 22 million tourists this year as the capital has many promising tourism promotion programmes?

The target for this year is to welcome about 22 million visitors (up 17.6 per cent compared to 2022), including three million international visitors (up 100 per cent compared to 2022). So the Hà Nội Tourism Department needs to have a methodical strategy and the cooperation of travel agencies

The Department will promote the connection among travel businesses, state management units and tourist destinations to introduce tourism locally. Recently, we have connected Hanoi Tourist, Hanoi Tourism with localities in Hoàn Kiếm District and Sóc Sơn District to coordinate and develop tours.

We will also actively coordinate with tourism associations to implement specific tourism products. Accordingly, the Hà Nội Tourism Department will direct the Tourism Association to build unique products with Hà Nội’s characteristics, such as: “Craft Village - Ancient Village – Cultural Village” Association will be in charge of designing gifts for tourists to Hà Nội; The Chef's Association will promote Hà Nội cuisine, introduce attractive dishes to international tourists when coming to the city.

In addition, FAM trips will also be organised regularly to promote tourist destinations in Hà Nội and neighbouring provinces to connect tours between Hà Nội and other provinces as well as attract more tourists, especially international visitors.

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the number of international tourists could reach 80 to 95 per cent of the pre-pandemic level in 2023. Asian tourism is growing strongly when tourists coming to this region are increasing day by day. What opportunities and challenges will this increase affect domestic tourism as well as the tourism development plans of Hà Nội?

The tourism industry will strongly recover in 2023. China lifting the travel restrictions is an important step for the recovery of the tourism industry in the Asia-Pacific and around the world as China was the world's largest outbound market in 2019.

This year, Việt Nam hopes to welcome 110 million arrivals, including eight million international visitors. This is a big challenge but also an opportunity for Hà Nội tourism to achieve its goals.

Foreign tourists coming to the city are mainly from China, South Korea, Japan and other countries in Southeast Asia.

Recently, Việt Nam's tourism industry has also cooperated closely with other countries and achieved many important results, notably the successful organisation of a bilateral meeting with Japan in November 2021. The two countries approved the Action Plan for the period 2022-2024.

Việt Nam and South Korea also signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in tourism promotion in December 2022.

Currently, the Hà Nội tourism has the plan to develop tourism in the capital by 2023 and continue to build the image of Hà Nội’s tourism as a “safe - friendly - quality - attractive" destination.

According to the plan, Hà Nội proposes to immediately implement the tasks which can have an immediate impact on the city’s tourism development, and at the same time advises on long-term policies to promote the capital's tourism industry to develop sustainably. VNS