Vietnamese tourism lags Thailand due to lack of highlights

By Le Anh   April 23, 2023 | 03:45 pm PT
Vietnamese tourism lags Thailand due to lack of highlights
Colorful umbrellas are seen in a restaurant as tourists enjoy a beach on the island of Phuket, Thailand, January 2023. Photo by Reuters
I was impressed by Thailand on my first visit because of their honesty in money matters, friendly attitude and range of services.

Last March I had the opportunity to travel to Thailand. It was the first time I was setting foot in this famous tourist country.

I had been to many countries farther away on the map, and the reason I had not been to Thailand before was partly because of my bad impression of Bangkok from more than 20 years ago. At that time Thailand did not have anyone visiting purely for tourism.

So how did they rise from such a position to become the most preferred destination for tourists in the region?

Many people ask me if Thailand’s rise on the world tourism map has been due to its public adult shows. It is true that these shows have been around in Thailand for decades including at a time when topics about sex were still taboo in most Asian countries, including Vietnam.

Of course, most tourists visiting Thailand do not want to miss the opportunity to see these shows.

The fact that they were easily and publicly available was something that hardly any other country in the world could claim, bringing a huge source of revenue to the country to this day.

However, in the age of Internet, people in many countries are more open about sex and gender issues, and Thailand's adult shows no longer have the attraction they used to have. They are mainly a side show now.

I think adult shows are not the main reason why Thailand has attracted a large number of tourists for a long time.

What attracts me is the vibe of the Thai people.

In general, Thais are friendly, hospitable and polite. They have an interesting perspective on life - everything comes and goes, without any attachment or force.

This makes tourists feel the openness of the local culture and easy for them to adapt to it at first sight.

As for food, I have to admit that Thai cuisine is relatively scientific in terms of ingredient and flavor combinations. Many of their dishes may seem exotic to foreign visitors, but they are generally easy to eat and remember.

Some of the typical Thai dishes include tom yum soup with its impressive spicy and sour flavor and the deliciously simple mango sticky rice.

Thais' honesty in money matters also caught my attention. You can hold a stack of cash and go shopping, just give any bill to a vendor and they will give you back the exact change.

The vendors are also very friendly and hospitable. Even if you just ask for prices without buying anything, they still smile and politely thank you, and hope you will come back in future.

These small things leave a big impression on tourists.

I was also impressed by the taxi drivers in Thailand. They may seem impatient and annoyed in the heavy traffic, but are polite and willing to wait for you to exchange money to pay for the ride when you arrive at the hotel.

Such attitudes will surely win over even the most demanding tourist.

In terms of landscapes, I must say Vietnam is much more diverse than Thailand. However, in terms of service quality, we are far behind. Thais have the ability to create attractive landscapes equipped with extra services which are convenient and simple.

Vietnamese tourism attractions, on the other hand, seem to be superficial. We have not researched or invested strongly in entertainment activities, meaning tourists coming to Vietnam have fewer options.

Vietnam's tourism has been stagnant for many years, without anything new or innovative, and kept repeating the same old patterns.

When we do not do anything, we move backward.

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