06:00 | 17/12/2021 Cooperation
(VEN) - Jeff Redl, Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Vietnam, a Switzerland-based travel agency that brings several thousand Swiss tourists to Vietnam every year, told Vietnam Economic News’ Phung Khuu that he was optimistic about post-pandemic tourism revival and increasing numbers of Swiss tourists visiting Vietnam again.
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With its diverse scenic landscapes and rich cultural heritage, Vietnam has been attracting increasing numbers of Swiss tourists over the last decade. It has 12 localities that the UNESCO has recognized as world cultural heritages. In October this year, for the first time, Vietnam was voted by the World Travel Awards as Asia’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination 2021.
When Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Switzerland at the end of November, Bern mayor Alec von Graffenried spoke about Swiss people’s impressions about Vietnam’s beautiful landscapes and their interest in traveling. President Phuc also invited Swiss citizens to visit Vietnam more often to understand better the country’s culture, people and heritage.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of Swiss tourists to Vietnam had increased continuously over many years. The launch of direct flights between the two countries in November 2018 created more favorable conditions for Swiss tourists to visit Vietnam. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, in 2019, Vietnam welcomed 36,577 Swiss visitors, a year-on-year increase of 5.9 percent.
In your experience, what are the most popular destinations in Vietnam for Swiss tourists?
Based on my company’s experience, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Hoi An are extremely popular among Swiss tourists in particular and westerner tourists in general.
What is the favorite mode of travel to Vietnam for Swiss tourists?
Swiss tourists usually book a round-trip to Vietnam with a beach extension. They are eager to discovering the local culture, heritage and UNESCO sites with comfortable stay and travel conditions. They enjoy outdoor activities and observing local wildlife. They definitely tend to avoid mass tourist hotspots and large hotels/resorts without local charms.
What are the advantages and attractive features of Vietnam that influence a Swiss tourist’s choice to visit Vietnam?
Vietnam has a fascinating history and rich cultural heritage. Its delicious and diverse cuisine is another major attraction. Vietnam is also a safe country, with comfortable climate conditions and beautiful places for beach holidays at any time of the year.
A few years ago, Vietnam eased its visa procedures, which has helped a lot in attracting more Swiss visitors.
In your opinion, what should Vietnam do to facilitate its tourism recovery?
First and foremost, Vietnam should continue vaccinating the population at the highest speed possible. In last few months, the daily vaccination rate has risen significantly. What the government and local authorities are achieving is remarkable.
Another important point is to have understandable and easy procedures in place for travellers to enter and visit the entire country. The procedures will need to be the same in all provinces. Foreign vaccinated tourists will not understand why a province is applying different procedures or having different rules. Swiss tourists enjoy round-trips throughout the country, thus they will need to be able to visit all provinces without exception.
Will Vietnam remain as attractive to Swiss tourists after the pandemic?
There is no doubt that Vietnam remains attractive to Swiss and other European tourists. The pandemic has not affected interest in the country. It just puts it on hold.
Promoting tourism cooperation between Switzerland and Vietnam has never stopped for us. Diethelm Travel and Tourasia, our sister company based in Zurich, have never stopped promoting Vietnam to our clients. We do this by organizing events like art exhibitions to promote the work of Asian artists, participating in travel fairs, conducting country presentations, sales meetings, etc.
Where we see potential after this pandemic is to promote and organize trips to Switzerland for Vietnamese travellers. Tourasia is definitely the right partner for any Vietnamese travel agency wishing to develop such products for its clientele.