Tourism – A Profitable Industry


Efforts made by tourism enterprises have made considerable contribution to attracting tourists to Vietnam and made the tourism industry a success even in the context of economic recession. The Vietnam Business Forum had an interview with Mr Nguyen Manh Cuong, Vice Chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism on this issue. Thu Huyen reports.In 2012, Vietnam welcomed 6.847 million international tourists. In your opinion, how could Vietnam attract such a large number of tourists in the context of economic recession?

First of all, we need to mention the objective advantage. For example, that Ha Long Bay is recognized as one of the world new wonders has made Vietnam better known by many people around the world. Some international events in which Vietnam’s status was improved also contribute to further development of the sector. Remarkable examples include Ms Christine Ha’s becoming the winner of the chef contest in the US or the world famous chef Martin Yan’s record of the scenes of Vietnam cuisine to be broadcast worldwide.

In addition, Vietnam is a key tourist destination in the region. Currently, Asia Pacific is considered a region of tourism development with numerous trips including ones from Europe, America to Asia, especially Asia Pacific.

The success is attributed to the contribution of tourist enterprises. In 2012, there was an increase of 500 accommodation establishments including 3-5 star ones which are mainly located in the coastal areas of the Central region. Together with the efforts of tourist operators, accommodation businesses have actively participated in the promotion of Vietnam’s image so as to attract more and more tourists to the country. Tourist and accommodation operators have cooperated with various airlines to open direct flights from cities of China to Da Nang and Nha Trang in the peak season. Specifically, in addition, there are 3 flights from Russia to Nha Trang. Furthermore, great support in terms of infrastructure such as the opening of Phu Quoc Airport is also provided.

The above results also point out that Vietnam’s tourism sector has started paying attention to quality improvement and product creation instead of formalism, hasn’t it?

I believe that huge and extraordinary efforts have been made and enterprises deserve to be honoured.

Different from trade fairs where teapots and cups can be introduced as products, tourism does not have symbolic products. For example, we introduce to customers a tour, but it is yet to be a product. Only when we have implemented it, can it be considered a product and sellable. It is pivotal that leaders at all levels and from all industries as well as tourism practitioners be fully aware of this specific characteristic in order to develop effective products.

The Government has approved National Tourism Strategy until 2020, vision to 2030, which proves the determination for turning tourism into a spearhead economy. Before this approval, even the formation of awareness that the tourism sector was a spearhead economy was very difficult.

Besides the planning strategy, it is necessary to pay attention to specific issues which seem to be small, but actually are not. They include hygiene conditions, food safety and overcharging. We have started preparation for 2013, developing plans and projects since October. Implementation method for the demand stimulus programme 2013 will be figured out and the Government will continue to consider policies based on ideas contributed by the enterprise community from localities with a view to overcoming current limitations and giving priority to tackling of such weaknesses.

On what basis is the target figure of 7.2 million international arrivals to Vietnam calculated and is it feasible?

Despite difficulties in 2013, we believe that common efforts made by the whole sector, particularly the enthusiastic participation of localities and enterprises, will act as necessary conditions for implementation of the plan set for 2013.

Vietnam’s tourism sector has identified its sustainable development orientation focusing on generating benefits for the community, the nation, enterprises and tourism workers.

Thank you very much!