Xi's Vietnam visit to bring more Chinese tourists: experts

By Phuong Anh   December 10, 2023 | 08:51 pm PT
Xi's Vietnam visit to bring more Chinese tourists: experts
Chinese tourists visit the Central Post Office in downtown HCMC, June 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Tourism industry insiders expect the upcoming visit to Vietnam by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to spur the Chinese tourist market recovery rate to 90% in 2024.

"President Xi Jinping's Vietnam visit is very important," Hoang Nhan Chinh, secretariat director of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board, said.

"We hope that after this visit the Chinese tourist market will reach a recovery rate of 80% - 90% in 2024."

As the number of Chinese tourists starts recovering, tourism and hospitality businesses in popular destinations such as Ha Long, Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc would thrive, helping create more jobs and foster economic growth, he added.

In 2019, the year before the onset of the Covid pandemic, China was Vietnam's biggest source of tourists with 5.8 million arrivals.

But the number has plummeted post-pandemic. In the first 11 months of this year only 1.5 million Chinese visitors came, or 28.8% of pre-pandemic levels.

Chinh said the Chinese tourist market's recovery rate has been "quite slow" compared to other major markets.

The number of visitors from the U.S. is back at 96.3% of pre-pandemic levels, while South Korea (83.4%) and Taiwan (89.6%) have also recovered strongly, according to data from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Pham Hai Quynh, director of the Institute of Asian Tourism Development, said President Xi's visit would positively impact the tourism industry.

"The potential of the Chinese tourism market in Vietnam could increase again next year if there are policies to promote tourism cooperation effectively."

According to industry insiders, Vietnam needs to do more to get Chinese tourists back.

Pham Hong Long, a tourism expert, said Chinese tourists are more circumspect about choosing their travel destinations after the pandemic and seek safe and friendly places.

"Vietnam needs to promote itself as a safe, friendly and welcoming destination for Chinese tourists."

Chinh said Vietnamese destinations need to be marketed more to Chinese tourists.

Tourism promotion campaigns on WeChat and Weibo, the largest social media sites in the world's second most populous country, should be expanded, he said.

Vietnam should consider opening tourism promotion offices in China’s major centers and organizing Vietnamese cultural festivals in key locations in China, he added.

Nguyen Le Binh, a representative of the Guangxi Overseas Travel Company based in China's Guangxi Province, said Chinese tourists are now keen on luxury tours with quality services in Vietnam.

They spend an average of US$1,850 on a trip, the third highest in the Asia-Pacific region after Australians ($3,370) and Singaporeans ($2,440).

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, will make a two-day state visit from Dec. 12 to 13 at the invitation of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and his wife, and President Vo Van Thuong and his wife, a press release by the Vietnam Party Central Committee's Commission for External Relations said Thursday.

Xi's third visit to Vietnam as Party general secretary and president will coincide with the 15th anniversary of the two countries establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership.

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