Tourism services must work on getting visitors to return

By Viet Thanh   April 28, 2023 | 04:00 pm PT
Tourism services must work on getting visitors to return
Foreign tourists at a night market in Da Lat, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Vinh
Despite its beauty and warmth, Vietnam has several issues when it comes to tourism, from price-gouging to poor infrastructure and short-term thinking.

Many tourism insiders expect visitor numbers to be muted over the upcoming holiday, which will last five days, the second-longest vacation in the country after Lunar New Year.

With high ticket prices, occupancy rates at hotspots such as Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc are only around 50-80%. At the same time, there has been an increase in Vietnamese tourists traveling overseas, with Thailand their top destination.

Readers say a lack of coordination and poor management is seeing Vietnam's tourism industry lose out to its neighbors.

"I travel often, and I've seen many shortcomings in the way we do tourism in Vietnam. For example, seafood at tourist island and beach towns is even more expensive than in Saigon. Night markets sell at exorbitant prices, as if they just need any customer to buy from them just once, unlike markets in Thailand that sell a diversity of products at cheap prices to bring customers back. Domestic flight tickets are more expensive than outbound tickets, while domestic tourism services are not as good. This why my wife and I either stay in the city or travel overseas."
Phuoc Long

"I traveled Thailand in March from north (Chiang Mai) to south (Bangkok) in two weeks. There were large markets at very cheap prices. They choose to profit from customers buying a large number and from returning customers. I spent a lot of time going to Thai markets and I still could not go to all of them. These markets are crowded with foreign tourists even at noon. Also, the roads are spacious as there's evidently been proper investment in infrastructure and public transport."
Nguyen Tuan Anh

"Thailand's tourism is 30 years ahead of Vietnam's. Service providers in Thailand know how to make tourists willingly spend money knowing they will get good value. Many Vietnamese businesses have not tried to improve. It's true that Vietnam is gifted with beautiful scenery, but that means nothing if we do not make good use of it to develop tourism. Let's be realistic, many beaches in Vietnam are full of trash and beloved destinations like Da Lat and Sa Pa are no longer pristine. Also, many service providers try to overcharge tourists at any chance they get. With these problems, Vietnam has a very small number of returning tourists."
Kien Ngo Trung

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