Tourism industry eyes high-spending Australian visitors

By Phuong Anh   March 14, 2024 | 02:00 am PT
Tourism industry eyes high-spending Australian visitors
Australian tourists take a boat tour in My Tho City, Tien Giang Province in southern Vietnam in 2023. Photo by Hoang Le
Australia is a promising source of tourists and industry insiders hope the government soon waives visas for them as Vietnam seeks to compete with neighbors in attracting tourists.

"Australia is a promising inbound tourism market for Vietnam as the number of Australian tourists in the first two months of this year reached 97,500, equivalent to 25% of last year's figure," Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho An Phong said at a conference on Tuesday.

Darrell Wade, president of leading adventure tourism group Intrepid Travel Australia, said Vietnam has been attracting interest from Australian travelers.

"That has helped the number of visitors we will bring to Vietnam in 2023 exceed that of 2019."

Australia's ambassador to Vietnam, Andrew Goledzinowski, said the launch of more flights between the two countries makes it convenient for Australian tourists to come to Vietnam with cheap airfares.

Last week low-cost carrier Vietjet Air announced the launch of a new service between Hanoi and Melbourne.

Vietnam is forecast to be a favorite destination for Australians in 2024.

The number of Australians traveling internationally has not returned to pre-Covid levels, but the number coming to Vietnam last year was 390,000, higher than the 2019 figure of 383,000.

A report by online travel platform Skyscanner last year showed that HCMC was one of the 10 most sought-after destinations for Australian tourists as searches increased by nearly 2.5 times from 2022.

But Vietnam has yet to waive visas for Australian nationals.

Australian tourism businesses hope Vietnam will soon consider visa exemption to boost its competitiveness with neighboring countries.

Thailand and Indonesia are considering visa waivers for Australians.

Nguyen Tien Dat, CEO of Hanoi travel company AZA Travel, said Australian tourists usually stay long and are big spenders.

"Australian tourists often stay at five-star hotels and like to explore local cultures and experiences."

According to the 2022 Statistical Yearbook of the General Statistics Office, Australian visitors spent an average of US$1,416 per trip, making them among the 10 biggest spenders.

Last year Australia was one of Vietnam's 10 biggest sources of visitors.

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