The domestic tourism industry in particular, has made a spectacular comeback, after a successful celebration of the Hùng Kings Anniversary. This has brought great joy and hope to the whole of the tourism industry. Now the industry is looking forward to the Reunification Day celebrations on 30 April and to more domestic travellers during the coming summer months.
Lure of travel
In mid 2021, the website booking.com released results from a global study of more than 28,000 travelers from 28 countries and territories, including Vietnam. This result showed that Vietnamese people aspire to travel more than looking for love or promotion at work. When asked specifically what they want to experience, 69% of Vietnamese tourists preferred to go on vacation than to finding true love, and 57% of Vietnamese tourists choose a vacation instead of a promotion at work. The recent Hùng Kings Anniversary holiday partly proved this desire of Vietnamese tourists. With the current ease in domestic travel and the absence of quarantine restrictions, many destinations are now welcoming a large number of tourists.
It is estimated that from 8 April to 11 April, Đà Lạt welcomed about 50,000 visitors. During the first day of the holidays, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu welcomed 21,000 visitors, and the next day the number of visitors doubled. In Hồ Chí Minh City, about 250,000 visitors went to spend time at the Zoo and Botanical Garden, Suối Tiên, and Đầm Sen Park. Localities in the Central region such as Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, or in the North such as Hà Nội, Quảng Ninh, Ninh Bình, and Hải Phòng, also saw a dramatic increase of visitors during the recent holidays. Hà Nội alone welcomed about 200,000 visitors, reaping a total tourism revenue estimated at VND 560 bn. According to the General Department of Tourism, during the celebration of the Hùng Kings Anniversary, domestic tourism welcomed about three million visitors.
Whenever holidays coincide with a weekend, the holiday can extend for four days, which is very suitable for travel and relaxation. A representative of Saigontourist company said that on the occasion of 30 April, they are expecting to welcome 25,000 to 30,000 visitors. The promotions and services will include package tours, free & easy services, and combo packages. Vietravel is also expected to welcome about 4,000 visitors on the occasion of 30 April. Regarding domestic tour products, at Vietravel's head office alone, there are about 40 package tour products on offer. According to Vietravel's assessment, this year the holiday tourism situation is better because in addition to domestic tourism being the main choice, guests can choose a number of foreign travel tours that have been carefully selected and planned by companies.
Along with travel businesses, localities are also preparing special programs for this holiday. Đà Lạt will organize the 2022 Lâm Đồng Golden Tourism Week, which is expected to welcome about 180,000 visitors. In Khánh Hòa, the Tháp Bà Festival is expected to attract a large number of visitors. On the occasion of 30 April, Hồ Chí Minh City will welcome visitors for a new experience of a helicopter tour to see the city from above. Many hotels in Đà Lạt, Phú Quốc, and Đà Nẵng are currently seeing over 80% occupancy rate, and in some places close to 100%. With these developments, Saigontourist company believes that two holidays in April are positive signs for domestic tourism, and promise a boom this summer.
Problem of quality
The sudden increase in visitors during the holidays is bringing great joy to the tourism industry after two years of being strongly affected by the pandemic. However, when the number of tourists flocking to travel is too large, many localities fall in quality of service, which goes down drastically. The first obstacle for tourists is moving in traffic jams at many tourist spots. In addition, there is the scene of having to wait in long lines at restaurants, refreshments, attraction places, with even unreasonable price increases for services. Especially on peak days, the situation of running out of rooms, and room prices increasing is still not uncommon.
Explaining this, many business units said that due to the prolonged pandemic, many restaurants, hotels, and amusement parks had to even close down. Besides, the shortage of staff due to leave, or change to new jobs caused a shortfall in the service sector, so when guests suddenly came back in large numbers, the services are unable to cope. In order to better serve the guests on 30 April, many units said that they are urgently recruiting personnel, especially part-time employees. But with new employees, especially part-time employees, the service quality is uncertain.
Situations such as overcrowding, services going down, and overcharging tourists is not a new thing in many localities but happens almost every year, even before the pandemic. The localities always insist that they will correct themselves, but then they fall back into it. This is also the reason why many Vietnamese tourists have chosen to travel abroad, instead of within the country on holidays and Tết. At this time when domestic tourism is the first choice of tourists and also the salvation of the entire tourism industry, the quality of service is becoming even more challenging. This requires localities and businesses to work more methodically and professionally.
Since 15 March, when Vietnam's tourism industry was officially reopened, three areas, namely, domestic tourism, foreign tourism, and international tourism, have been the focus of revival plans. So far, it is being seen that at least till the end of this year, domestic tourism will be the main source of income for the whole of the tourism industry. Therefore, by making domestic tourism sustainable the entire tourism industry can once again become robust and strong again.