Tourism firms yet to tap into solo travel trend

By Dat Nguyen   September 21, 2019 | 08:00 am GMT+7
Tourism firms yet to tap into solo travel trend
A solo woman traveler buys sweets from a Vietnamese street vendor in Nha Trang Town, Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/David Bokuchava.
Vietnamese tourism firms need to use technology well and cater to the global trend of solo travel, industry insiders say.

Nguyen Cong Hoan, deputy director of travel agency HanoiRedtours, said that the country’s diverse geography and travel experiences make Vietnam a suitable destination for travelers to explore on their own.

Vietnam has been listed as one of 30 best solo travel destinations by the U.S. News newspaper, and Ho Chi Minh City has been listed as among the top five cities for such trips by accommodation giant Airbnb.

However, Hoan told VnExpress International that the lack of online resources in English, especially for travel destinations in remote areas such as the northern mountainous provinces, could make solo travelers reluctant to explore or book services during their planning phase.

For his own company, group tourists are the dominant majority of customers, there are few solo travelers, he added.

Dang Manh Phuoc, CEO of travel solutions firm Outbox Consulting, said that as solo travelers are dependent on technology, specifically their smartphones, to plan trips, Vietnamese tourism companies need to develop their technology to access such customers.

While they visit different places, solo travelers care about costs and safety, therefore tourism companies need to focus more resources on this type of travel and reach out to such customers, he said at a recent conference.

Other experts said Vietnamese companies will have to face strong competition from global firms in the solo travel category.

Tran Binh Giang, founder of travel marketplace Tripi, said that local firms could not provide better tech solutions than foreign companies such as Airbnb and travel service booking platform Klook. They also do not have tax obligations like local companies because their servers are located outside of Vietnam, he noted.

However, foreign firms still need to cooperate with local companies when suggesting activities to their customers, Giang said.

"The strength of Vietnamese companies is their understanding of the local market and culture. Therefore they need to develop specific services for solo travelers, a trend that is becoming more popular."

Vietnam’s online travel market size was estimated at $2.3 billion last year and could rise to $9 billion in 2025, higher than that of the Philippines, according to a report released last year by Google and Singapore-based investment firm Temasek.

The country welcomed 11.3 million travelers in the first eight months this year, up 8.7 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

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