The tourism market in Vietnam has been on a strong rise in recent years. International tourists arrivals increased at an average rate of 8.9 percent annually compared to UNWTO figures of 3.4 percent for world tourism over the same period. North Asia (China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan) provided 46 percent of Vietnam’s international arrivals. Among them, China is the largest source of arrivals , which is more than the other three countries combined. What’s unique with this large inflow of Chinese tourists is that a significant portion is in fact trade and labour movements, as indicated by the fact that 14 percent of foreign visitors arrived by land. While the movement normally happens in the bordering area between Vietnam and China, visitors come and go for a specific need. So they only stay a short time and have a low demand for spending.
In terms of region, distribution of tourism is mostly limited to Hanoi, Hue-hoi An-Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. The Northern Mountainous Area and Central Highland are catching a rapid growth in foreign tourist number.
A destination image is lacking for the tourism market in Vietnam
Although always in an increasing trend, Vietnam is still far behind in attracting foreign tourists compared to other countries in the region, such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. The foreign arrivals to Vietnam falls short by a half to one third than that of those countries. One of the reason lies on the weak marketing strategy in terms of failing to form a clear image of Vietnam as a tourism destination, as separable from countries surrounded. Although effects to advertise can be seen, it lacks the consistency to strengthen the image.
A promising future for the tourism market in Vietnam
The growth potential for the tourism market in Vietnam can be expected to be large. Extensive investment has been installed to improve the infrastructures and transportation services, and it takes time for the effects to show up. The process will be accompanied by the liberalization of the economy of Vietnam, during which more foreign developers can participate. Also, policies has been made by the government to improve the tourism industry: three regional master plans for tourism development (Red River Delta, Northern Centre and Central Highland) has been drafted for approval; the master plan on Vietnam’s tourism development until 2020, vision to 2030 has been put on place. All these factors are pointing to a positive prospect for the tourism market in Vietnam.