Now that the effects of the pandemic have been contained and the disease has been successfully brought under control within its borders, Vietnam is gearing to once again revive the tourism sector.
Attractive stimulus programs for domestic travelers are on offer with added discounts, safe travel, and free entry to most tourist spots in travel destinations across the country.
Huge discount offers
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has launched a stimulus travel program called "Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam" from June to the end of 2020. This program is being supported by several domestic tour companies, localities and businesses across the country. Many localities are now offering discounts on travel activities on tours and visits to travel destinations. For instance in Hue, a visit to a relic will be on a 50% discount ticket until the end of July, and in Danang all visitors to the Marble Mountain and the City museums will receive a free entry pass until the end of August.
Larger corporations with more entertainment facilities, such as resorts and hotels like Sun Group and Vin Group will also join this stimulus program and offer reduced prices that will help in boosting domestic tourism. Vinpearl and VinWonders have announced three consecutive promotional packages of a Mega Sale, Summer Deal and Great Promotions, which all have maximum discount for travel, entertainment, and vacation packages in 45 facilities. The very attractive promotional program "Free Travel-Book Vinpearl" has seven attractive features on offer, and guests can choose any one offer from a 100% refund on the spot, to free return air tickets or unlimited entertainment.
Similarly, Sun Group has launched attractive promotional programs since May. The Sun World Fansipan Legend in Sa Pa is offering a 60% discount on cable car tickets to tourists in the North-western provinces until 28 June and the Sun World Ba Na Hills in Da Nang is offering a 60% discount on cable car tickets for people in 19 provinces in the Central Highland region. In particular, from 15 May to 15 July, Ba Na Hills will add a buffet ticket on every purchase of a cable car ticket. The Sun Group will also launch two unique tourism products that will be valid from the end of May, which include a visit to the largest rose valley in Vietnam at Sun World Fansipan Legend in Sa Pa in Lao Cai Province, and to phase I of Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh, the first Japanese style hot spring resort in Cam Pha City in Quang Ninh Province.
Huge discounts from airlines, and the hospitality industry for accommodation, and in entertainment and visits to travel attractions, have all helped tour operators launch many domestic tours that can lure travelers with discount packages. For instance, Vietravel Tourism Company has restarted the tourism market, with a stimulus package of up to 60% in discounts. Saigon Tourism Corporation has launched a large-scale promotional program from 1 June to 30 September in which travelers will receive a discount of up to 50% in accommodation, tours, food and entertainment.
Evaluating the alliance programs and discounts to stimulate tourism at this time, Mr. Vu The Binh, Vice President of Vietnam Tourism Association, believes that a coalition stimulus in next two months will restore tourism activities, and after four months the recovery will be in process and by the end of the year perhaps international tourism can resume.
Need for new products
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest tourist center in the country and with more than ten million people can help boost travel substantially. Besides coordinating with travel businesses for attractive tours, the City can also promote regional links to its neighboring provinces. The People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has now assigned the Saigontourist Group to coordinate with authorities of the City and 13 provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta, to organize a survey of new travel destinations, potential resources of localities, create new products and build at least three new tourism itineraries. The City also plans to organize a conference on tourism development cooperation between Ho Chi Minh City and the Southeast Provinces.
A long-standing weakness in Vietnam's tourism has been the monotony of products and trying to copy others. Though stimulus discount is essential, but if the product is too monotonous it will be difficult to attract long-term visitors. Looking at tours of the travel agencies, it is easy to see there are similarities. New ideas have not been incorporated and copying others is a huge problem in the industry, which then impedes any desire to create new products. When visitors have fewer choices this limits the advantages of any stimulus program. People may be eager at an early stage of a tour, but gradually as other foreign markets open after the pandemic, visitors will then prefer foreign travel to domestic tourism.
In a recent discussion among tourism businesses and associations, Mr. Dang Manh Phuoc, Managing Director of Outbox Consulting and Travel Solutions, said that Vietnam should learn lessons from Thailand. Currently Thailand is launching a program "We love Thailand" which is very different from "Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam" program. Thailand has taken the novelty of local experiences and new destinations as a basis for stimulating domestic travel to cover a longer duration for the next one to two years. However, Vietnam has stayed with a fairly old solution, which is to reduce prices in the short term, without offering many new products or choices to visitors.