Vietnam tourism needs better destination management: Singaporean expert

By Phuong Anh   November 2, 2023 | 08:14 pm PT
Vietnam tourism needs better destination management: Singaporean expert
A corner of Cat Ba Island in northern Vietnam. Photo by Tran Dat
Although Vietnam has "the best tourism position" in Southeast Asia thanks to its political stability, the country should do better in destination management, a Singaporean tourism expert said.

"Vietnam is best positioned in Southeast Asia for tourism industry development," said Honorary President of the Singapore Institute of Tourism Management Wong Soon-hwa at a conference in Hanoi on Monday.

Wong stated that Vietnam has a large land area of more than 331,000 square kilometers and a large population of nearly 100 million people, creating abundant human resources for the tourism service industry.

"Vietnam is a safe destination thanks to its stable political situation, which is always a top priority for foreign investors," he added.

Vietnam also possesses many natural resources, rich heritage, and cuisine that is loved by tourists, according to Wong.

Recently, the Vietnamese government also relaxed visa policies by offering three-month tourist visas for citizens from all countries and extending visa-free stays to 45 days for some major tourism markets including Japan, South Korea and Western European economies.

However, Vietnam is still not the top tourist attraction in the region and is lagging behind both Thailand and Malaysia.

In the first 10 months of the year, Vietnam welcomed 10 million international visitors while Thailand received more than 21.5 million.

Wong said it is necessary for Vietnam's tourism industry to better manage destinations.

Sustainability and balancing the quality and quantity of tourists is the key for managing a destination, he posited.

Wong said Singapore's Sentosa island is much smaller than Phu Quoc but welcomes more than 20 million visitors each year. That figure includes a significant number of domestic tourists.

Vietnam can also learn from Sentosa's development model to improve the quality of domestic destinations, according to Wong.

The government needs to provide infrastructure, human resources and a quick approval process so investors can get started, he said. In addition, the government should widely publicize investment plans as well as completion time so that investors know what the government is doing, Wong argued.

Every destination needs to attract both domestic and international tourists, he continued, adding that Disneyland or Paris could survive on international visitors alone.

When developing tourism, Vietnam needs to think about the needs of domestic tourists, Wong said.

The total number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first ten months of 2023 reached nearly 10 million, exceeding the initial target of 8 million for the whole year.

The country served 98.7 million domestic travelers during the period.

go to top