Wooing More American Tourists to Vietnam

11:28:50 AM | 4/7/2019

The United States is the world's biggest tourism spender and has the second-fastest outbound tourism growth. Attracting more American tourists to Vietnam is one of the central focuses of Vietnam's tourism industry.

Favored destination for American tourists

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), international tourist arrivals to Vietnam were projected at 1,326,668 in May 2019, 9.7% higher than the previous month, totaling 7,295,548 visitors in the first five months of the year, 8.8% higher than a year ago. U.S. tourist arrivals were estimated at 48,237 in May, 78.7% more than in April.

Explaining the reason for the increase in the number of U.S. visitors, Mr. Pham Tien Dung, Director of Goldentours Company, said, “Many big international events held in Vietnam have attracted a large number of American visitors to Vietnam. In addition, many international media firms participating in these events had special impressions of Vietnam, helping to communicate this to American visitors”.

In addition to spectacular natural landscapes, cultural diversity and varying identity of 54 ethnic groups, delicious foods and low travel costs plus the adventurous taste of American tourists, Vietnam is the ideal destination. Ha Long Bay is recognized as one of the natural wonders of the world, the spectacular beauty of Quang Binh in Kong Skull Island blockbuster movie, and particularly the attraction of the U.S.-North Korea Summit, have made Vietnam more known to Americans. Many U.S. tourists quickly set foot in Vietnam and brought back very positive impressions.

American travel blogger Jack Wilson wrote “This is my very first time in Vietnam, a beautiful country. I went to Quang Binh, where the blockbuster movie Kong: Skull Island was filmed, and I was really overwhelmed by the landscape there. I also like Vietnamese street foods. There are so many dishes to choose from, they are really unique and cheap.”

Sharing on Instagram, American tourist Jenifer Baker said, “Vietnam is the ideal destination for those who like adventure. Cliff exploration in Dalat, wooden sailing in Ha Long Bay, rice cart pulling in Sapa or sand sliding in Mui Ne are wonderful. There are many places to explore and discover in Vietnam. You will never have a chance to get bored when you come here.”

Notably, when returning to Vietnam for the U.S. - North Korea Summit in Hanoi in February, the U.S. President also shared “Great to come back from Vietnam, an amazing place. We have had very substantive negotiations with Kim Jong-un.”

Not only being appealing to tourists during international events, the friendship, hospitality and beautiful natural landscapes of Vietnam have drawn American visitors to Vietnam.

Seizing opportunity for tourism development

Mr. Vu The Binh, Chairman of the Vietnam Travel Association, said that the U.S. is a developed tourism market where hundreds of millions of people travel abroad every year. This is the desirable market for any tourism business in the world. The better bilateral relationship between Vietnam and the United States is the foundation for growing economic cooperation relations, including tourism.

But, it is not easy and simple to court American tourists to Vietnam. To attract new visitors while bringing return visitors back again, “Vietnam needs to actively study American tourist trends and tastes like tourism types they are keen on, hotel styles and shopping interests. Only with thorough research and understanding of the market can we make specific strategies, and create suitable products for them,” said Mr. Phung Gia Tuan, Director of America Discovery Company.

Taking advantage of potential natural tourism along with the typical tropical climate, Vietnam’s tourism industry can completely build a system of diversified tourism products for American tourists such as cultural tourism, heritage discovery, cultural and historical destination discovery, community tourism, village exploration, adventure sports (sea sports, mountain climbing, and cave discovery), ecotourism in national parks, protected areas, cuisine and recreational tourism.

In addition, American tourists tend to spend a lot and prefer long stays. This is an opportunity for Vietnam's tourism industry to grasp and advance further into the U.S. tourism market to bring high socioeconomic outcome.

Many big international events held in Vietnam have attracted a large number of American visitors to Vietnam.

In particular, when the aftereffect of U.S.-North Korea Summit remains, Vietnam needs to take advantage of this opportunity to promote inbound tourism, especially from the U.S. Specifically, the tourism industry needs to support market expansion, advertise tourism products, promote the image, the land and the people of modern Vietnam in the Pacific region (California, Los Angeles, San Francisco), Central Region, and plan development into the East coast and Southwest. In addition, Vietnam must strengthen destination competitiveness (aviation connectivity, administrative procedures, technology, etc.), cooperate with neighboring countries such as China, Thailand and Laos and Cambodia to increase U.S. tourism to Vietnam. Through these activities, many Americans in general and American travel companies in particular will know the beauty, the cultural identity, the cuisine, the friendship and hospitality of Vietnam. And, most of all, Vietnam is a safe, fully capable country to host large international events.

Needless to say, American tourists have a lot of opportunity to know more about the image of the country and the people of Vietnam, and a lot of them have arrived in Vietnam for travelling. However, the outcome relative to the U.S. tourism market for Vietnam is still limited. Therefore, to make tourism a key economic sector and realize the goal of 18 million international tourists, including 1 million American tourists in 2019, Vietnam’s tourism industry needs to actively promote tourism cooperation with the U.S. and capture opportunities for breakthrough success.

Giang Tu