With an enviable backdrop to attract visitors, Vietnam’s stakeholders are making sure the destination’s tourism industry keeps pace with its Asian neighbours. Natalie Hami reports.
Providing plenty to tantalise the senses, visitors to this land of immense natural beauty can want for nothing.
Vietnam’s stunning landscape, coupled with the fact that the destination’s tourism authorities are taking the right steps to further lure in visitors, has led to positive results.
According to Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), total international arrivals in 10 months reached 8,077,397, an increase of 25.4 per cent over the same period last year.
CEO and founder, Trails of Indochina, John Tue Nguyen commented that VNAT is working with a tourism advisory board to redesign Vietnam’s official promotional website.
Meanwhile, in a further push to make travel to the country even easier for certain markets, the Vietnamese government has extended the validity of visa exemption for citizens of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The visa waiver for citizens of these five European countries is valid from July 1, 2016 until June 30, 2017. There is also talk of the introduction of an e-visa system for major markets.
The impact of the visa waiver was commented on by general director, Chains Caravelle Hotel JV Company, John Gardner, who told TTG: “The single biggest impact for next year on tourism growth will be the introduction of e-visas, providing the authorities open up entry to many more countries.”
As Vietnam’s tourism industry is steadily rebounding against a backdrop of infrastructural changes, investments and easing of visa restrictions, the destination’s stakeholders are looking forward to providing guests with an unforgettable experience.
Honing in on Hoi An, general manager, Anantara Hoi An Resort, Noel Cameron explained that the city is now being seen as a stand-alone destination, which is popular with visitors seeking cultural, culinary and adventure activities, in addition to becoming an attractive destination for bleisure travellers.
Cameron – who is also Anantara’s area general manager for Vietnam – told TTG: “The monthly Full Moon Lantern Festival is one example of travellers building their itineraries around this spectacular celebration, making Hoi An and its attractions the focal point of their journey.”
Experts in providing bespoke and customised experiences for its clientele, Nguyen of Trails of Indochina told TTG that the luxury DMC believes in tailoring unique itineraries for each traveller, and therefore is always working to improve the ultimate experience for its guests.
“This includes hosted meals with world-class singers, musicians and artists, behind the scenes theatre experiences, gallery talks and of course exposure to the gastronomic wonders of each of our showcased destinations,” said Nguyen.
Even though MICE tourism is considered a new addition to Vietnam’s tourism product, the city of Danang appears to be bounding ahead enthusiastically, starting with the The Beach-Leisure and MICE Travel Mart 2016. And as a lucrative edition to the city’s MICE landscape, Furama Resort Danang will be managing and operating Ariyana Danang Exhibition & Convention Centre (ADECC), scheduled to open in May 2017.
Speaking to TTG exclusively about the project was the resort’s executive assistant manager, Nguyen Duc Quynh. “Danang is creating its image as a MICE city, especially with the opening of the new Ariyana Danang Exhibition & Convention Centre. We would also like to attract large MICE groups from around the world.”
Located to the south of Furama Villas Danang, ADECC will include a large meeting room of 2,075m2 which will be capable of accommodating up to 2,500 guests. With a large lobby of 1,480m2 connected with the meeting rooms, the venue is ideal for local and international events and exhibitions.
TAKING THE SUSTAINABLE ROAD
With Vietnam becoming increasingly popular, the next step comes in the form of implementing a sustainable tourism plan in order to preserve its natural beauty and authenticity.
According to resort manager, Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island, Jeevan Thomas, in the past the issue of sustainable development was ignored or understated by many tourism businesses in Vietnam.
“In recent years, I have seen some good signs of changing this mind set from several investors, however, there is still a lot of work to do if we want to change the situation,” said Thomas.
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Dang Thi Bich Lien joined tourism chiefs from other ASEAN member countries in the first-ever ASEAN Ecotourism Forum 2016 that opened in Champasak, Laos during the summer.
Furthermore, a conference on sustainable tourism development in the era of climate change was held by VNAT. Speaking at the conference, Lien highlighted the important role of tourism in the country’s economic growth. By 2020, the tourism sector will strive to develop as a spearhead of the economic sector, contributing 10 per cent of GDP, generating more jobs. To reach this goal, Vietnam has released policies to develop tourism sustainably.
In turn, key properties are taking the initiative to ensure the preservation of Vietnam’s multi-faceted and breath taking product, with one such property being Six Senses Vietnam.
Director of marketing and communications, Vietnam, Six Senses, Norman Zweyer said that statistics show that travellers are aware of the importance of sustainable travel, and as such make decisions based on this mind set. “Six Senses Vietnam feels that sustainability is not about sacrifice, rather it is a celebration of abundance. The unique environments, cultures and experiences shared with guests are not meant to be experienced just once. Sustainability ensures that future generations can enjoy them for years to come.”
“It is also important to note that our resorts operate sustainably without compromise, ensuring that the quality of each guest stay is not impacted – rather it is enhanced,” Zweyer added.
Vietnam’s tourism product continues to flourish, giving visitors the opportunity to delight in a plethora of memorable experiences.