Why Chinese tourists are flocking again to Vietnam

By Phuong Anh    June 3, 2024 | 08:00 pm PT
Why Chinese tourists are flocking again to Vietnam
A group of Chinese tourists pose for photos at the Saigon Central Post Office, June 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Increased tourism campaigns, geographical location and low costs are among the reasons for a renewed surge in the number of Chinese tourists to Vietnam, analysts said.

China surpassed South Korea to become Vietnam's largest source of tourists in May with 357,907, or nearly 40% of all foreign arrivals.

It was the first time China regained its status as the biggest feeder market since Vietnam reopened its borders in March 2022.

Nguyen Tien Dat, CEO of AZA Travel Company, said the return of Chinese tourists was thanks to "tourism diplomacy" efforts between the two countries.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has recently increased tourism promotion campaigns to stimulate demand among Chinese travelers.

A number of new direct flight have been launched between the two countries. Vietjet began direct services between HCMC and the ancient Chinese city of Xi'an on April 29.

China does not have many beaches with warm water like Vietnam. So, besides Hainan Island, Chinese tourists mainly prefer coastal areas in Southeast Asia such as Thailand and Vietnam for summer vacations.

Insiders pointed out that Chinese have been reducing spending on travel due to the economic slowdown and mainly opt for cheaper nearby destinations, making Vietnam an ideal choice.

The number of Chinese arrivals in Vietnam during the first quarter was the second highest in Southeast Asia at 889,000 after only Thailand.

But Dat said Vietnam should focus on attracting wealthy tourists from major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai to boost tourism spending.

"If Chinese visitors flock to Vietnam in droves but only come for one day or have a meal of VND100,000-200,000 (US$393-787) and then return, it is not beneficial to Vietnam's tourism.

"We need to target Chinese tourists who spend several thousand yuan (1,000 yuan equivalent to $138) per trip."

According to a report from the General Statistics Office, Chinese tourists spent $885 per trip in 2019.

Pham Ha, CEO of luxury cruise operator Lux Group, said Vietnam should position itself as a luxury destination for Chinese tourists and offer them high-end shopping options and world-class dining experiences.

Ha said Chinese visitors enjoy buying luxury brands in Vietnam and staying at internationally branded five-star hotels.

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