Vietnam's tourism problems won't go away overnight

By Nhan Nguyen   March 5, 2023 | 05:00 pm PT
Vietnam's tourism problems won't go away overnight
Foreigners visit Quang Nam's Hoi An Town in January 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Phuong
Vietnam’s tourism needs more time to fix itself; changes will not happen overnight.

I have been reading numerous articles about the shortcomings of the tourism industry lately. Most of them acknowledge the flaws in how Vietnamese approach tourism as an industry. I have noticed a trend among them: many attempt to compare Vietnam’s tourism industry with Thailand’s.

Objectively speaking, there is nothing wrong with such a comparison. We are still lagging behind our neighbor in many aspects when it comes to tourism. But if we want to compare, we would need to look at the bigger picture.

Over the course of a nation’s development, tough times are inevitable. The same is true of the tourism industry. All the most pressing problems, like theft, visa troubles, pollution ... every country has them.

The only difference is there are countries which are willing to look at the problems as they are and deal with them, and there are those who are not.

Let's take Singapore for example. A few decades ago it too was heavily polluted. But thanks to combined efforts, its people now greatly value environmental protection, with even patrol to prevent littering.

Many of us probably know about all the issues that plague Vietnam's tourism industry. What we lack is the resolve to deal with them. What we need is time and effort from everyone from authorities to the last citizen.

Thailand does tourism well because it knows how to best exploit its strengths. Vietnam meanwhile has a larger and younger population than Thailand. It is time we learn to lean on our strengths more, and gather the resolve to address the issues faced by our tourism.

It will take much time and effort, but it will pay off in the end.

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