Vietnam received 7.8 million foreign visitors in the first eight months of this year, reaching 98 percent of the annual target of 8 million, according to the General Bureau of Statistics.
A report by tourism development consultancy Outbox Company highlighted that Vietnam is in good shape with the highest rate of meeting its foreign tourism targets in the region.
However, Vietnam’s target for 2023 was the lowest among the five most popular destinations in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, initially set a target of welcoming 7.4 million foreign tourists but later revised its target to 8.5 million this year, while Thailand expects to receive 30 million foreign arrivals, including 5 million from China.
Malaysia hopes to welcome 18 million foreign tourists while Singapore is expected to attract 14 million.
Vietnam’s tourism recovery rate in 2023 compared to pre-pandemic levels is only 44%, the lowest among the top five Southeast Asian countries: Thailand (75%), Singapore (73%), Malaysia (69%) and Indonesia (53%). .
Explaining why Vietnam has set a target of 8 million international visitors in 2023, Pham Hai Quynh, director of the Asian Tourism Development Institute, said the figure “is a safe target for recovery after reopening “.
Pham Ha, CEO of Lux Group, which specializes in operating luxury cruise tourism, said Vietnam’s foreign tourism target is the lowest among the five major Southeast Asian countries, as “the Vietnam has a long tradition of setting a low target so that it can easily achieve it by the end of the year.”
Hoang Nhan Chinh, director of the Secretariat of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Council, said Vietnam’s tourism industry has received strong support from the government in easing visa policy.
“If the tourism industry is determined to set a higher goal, the entire sector will work together to achieve it,” Chinh added.
By the end of the year, Vietnam will welcome 12 to 13 million international visitors or more, he added.
If nothing changes and technical barriers are quickly removed, Vietnamese tourism could fully return to pre-pandemic levels next year, he said.
To bring Vietnamese tourism back to its peak, the Council proposed that the tourism industry launch promotional campaigns in international media on Vietnam’s new visa policy.
From August 15, Vietnam accepts e-visa registration for citizens of all countries and territories, with the visa valid for multiple entries and for 90 days.
Currently, many Vietnamese embassy websites in other countries do not regularly update information on new policies, although it is the first source of information sought by foreign tourists if they wish to travel to Vietnam.
“Sometimes, it is not certain whether tourists trust the information on the websites of local travel agencies. They trust the website of the Vietnamese embassy located in their country more, because it is “an official source,” Chinh said.
Ha said: “We don’t need to look far, look at Thailand and its way of tourism.”
He said Thailand has well positioned itself as the land of golden pagodas and the land of smiles.
Thailand has sufficient resources for tourism and has opened many overseas tourism promotion offices. The Tourism Authority of Thailand currently has 29 offices around the world and fully understands the travel habits of tourists in each region.
The peak season for international tourism usually lasts from September to April next year, as Western tourists flock to Vietnam for winter holidays.
Industry insiders said it would be a golden opportunity for Vietnam to welcome a large number of European tourists to Vietnam following the relaxation of visa rules.