Vietnam's tourism has bigger problems than visa

November 3, 2022 | 11:48 pm PT
Vietnam's tourism has bigger problems than visa
Foreign tourists walk along Hoi An ancient town in Quang Nam Province, July 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
Visa debate aside, there are deep-rooted problems Vietnam should deal with to improve its tourism competitiveness, like traffic danger and poor services.

"The visa situation is legitimate but it's only one factor. Let's remember that Vietnam had the worst return rate by far in Southeast Asia for tourists pre-pandemic. That means they essentially can only get first-time travelers and there are less of them whereas other places get both return tourists and first-time travelers. Why the travelers don't return has been discussed many times but it boils down to poor service, poor value for money, and generally disappointed with their experience."
Chris Roberts

"I think you'll find it goes back a long way before visa policy changed. For a start, Vietnam has low return/repeat business customers. It's about 5% but a lot of them are foreigners doing visa runs and they're counted again every month. Thailand and Bali are up over 55% in return customers. So, over 95% come once, take a look, tick the box and move on and never come back. Why?

And it will likely get worse since places that did have a nice ambiance have become concrete ghettos, lost their charm and became destinations for mass market tour groups on those infamous zero-dong tours. Tour operators were doing business at close to cost to attract them.

Vietnam was a fantastic place to come 10-15 years ago, but now, ugly concrete ghettos built beachfront has ruined that ambience it once had [...] Vietnam isn't trending anymore and potential travelers all research blogs & FB groups for information, & currently that picture looks grim with a lot of unhappy people. A 90-day visa may be too little, too late to fix the damage done to Vietnam's image."

"Get those motorbikes off the pavements and enforce RED at a traffic light means stop NOT go. Read the comments on the website about the dangers of visiting or traveling in Vietnam. That should give clues why tourists stay away. It's not rocket science."

"Same problems never solved. Poor quality/customer service. Construction sites everywhere. Noise pollution is terrible. Visa hassles. Why should tourists deal with these issues?"
Russ Harvey

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