Vietnam taps domestic tourism as vehicle to drive industry recovery

06:00 | 07/03/2021 Culture & Tourism

(VEN) - Vietnam expected to welcome over 20 million foreign visitors in 2020 as per the Politburo’s target. The year got off to a promising start with two million foreign visitors in January, but the ensuing eruption of the Covid-19 pandemic inflicted heavy losses on the global tourism market, and on Vietnam’s, too. The domestic tourism market was also seriously affected after two outbreaks of the pandemic. 

vietnam taps domestic tourism as vehicle to drive industry recovery

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the number of foreign visitors reached 3.7 million in 2020, a decrease of 79.5 percent compared to 2019, while the number of domestic travelers reached only 56 million, down 34.1 percent. Total tourism revenues declined 58.7 percent to about US$19 billion.

The government adopted various remedies to confront the tourism decline and stagnation, including preferential electricity prices, land taxes and other fees for tourism firms. Authorities also closely coordinated with businesses on a series of domestic tourism stimulation programs’ launching campaigns in May 2020 and again in September.

According to the VNAT, the domestic tourism stimulus programs led to a strong increase in domestic travel, especially to key tourist regions. In June and July 2020, Google searches for domestic tourist destinations skyrocketed, rising 66 percent over the same period in 2019. The capacity of travel accommodations also increased, reaching 30-50 percent, and 80-90 percent on some weekends. Airlines opened new flight routes to meet the growing tourism needs.

vietnam taps domestic tourism as vehicle to drive industry recovery

International recognition

Its adaptive behavior, application of technology and introduction of new high quality products turned the domestic tourism market into the driving force for the industry's recovery.

Deputy Director General of the VNAT Ha Van Sieu emphasized that compared with other countries in the world, Vietnam's tourism reaped valuable recognition in 2020, including its selection as the world's leading heritage and cultural destination, Asia's leading culinary and heritage destination, and the title of Asia's best golf destination. Many Vietnamese tourism service providers have also been awarded prestigious international awards as a result of promoting Vietnamese culture, heritage and cuisine in multilateral forums such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Sieu added.

vietnam taps domestic tourism as vehicle to drive industry recovery
The domestic market continues to be the driving force for the tourism sector’s recovery
vietnam taps domestic tourism as vehicle to drive industry recovery
Lan Ha Bay in Cat Ba World Biosphere Reserve

According to the World Tourism Organization’s forecast, global tourism will only begin its recovery from the second half of 2021 and will only reach 2019 levels after 2.5 to four years, depending on control of the pandemic. VNAT expects it will also take time for Vietnam to reach the pre-pandemic international tourism level. The industry’s "link, act and develop" motto reflects its determination to overcome difficulties, take advantage of opportunities, implement the resolution of the 13th Party Congress and the socioeconomic development plan for the 2021-2025 period, aimed at developing tourism into a spearhead economic sector.

In 2021, the tourism sector will not only continue to implement the domestic tourism stimulus program and prepare to

welcome international guests once conditions permit, but also strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of state

tourism management, improve the business environment, enhance competitiveness, and effectively implement

government support policies and digital transformation to develop smart tourism.

Hoa Quynh