Last updated: Thursday, February 21, 2019


Industrial Revolution 4.0 with Smart Tourism

Posted: Monday, September 17, 2018

Tourism mobile applications have become quite familiar to many tourists, for example (airline, hotel and tour booking network - the first mobile application integrated travel information sharing system exclusively for Vietnamese visitors), (online hotel reservation system, providing users with solutions to find and book hotel rooms with instant confirmation and reservation system, multi-mode payment), and (the largest online hotel booking application in Vietnam, the only provider of free airport pickups and hotel services around the clock).

In the context of digital evolution, e-commerce application in the tourism industry has become imperative to create appealing tourist products, stimulate growth and sustain tourism development in Vietnam. To survive, adapt and develop, tourism businesses must upgrade their competitiveness by applying technological solutions to tourism products and business operations.

In 2017, Vietnam welcomes 13 million international visitors. According to a survey conducted by the General Statistics Office (GSO), 71 per cent of visitors found information about their destinations on the Internet; and 64 per cent booked and bought services online during their trips to Vietnam. Hence, the digital application to tourism development has become evident.

Mr Vu Quoc Tri, Chief of the Administrative Office of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said, in recent years, smart technologies have actually boomed in the tourism industry with the advent of strong cooperation between pure tech firms with travel operators, restaurants and hotels. Currently, travellers usually use smartphones to look up information and perform transactions. Technology Revolution 4.0 has exerted a strong impact on the tourism industry in Vietnam.

Nearly 100 per cent of tourism businesses have websites to promote and introduce their products, he said, adding that most of hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues have free wifi coverage and this service is being deployed by many localities. Many monuments have used multi-language robots for introduction.

In addition, over 50 per cent of companies have applied online payment solutions but revenue from this channel is not very high. About 10 electronic tourism exchange platforms have been set up but only about 20 per cent of service transactions are made through these and the rest is earned by foreign electronic tourism exchanges. Places of interest have websites but the information is mainly in Vietnamese only.

According to Resolution 08 of the Politburo, by 2020, the tourism industry will become a key economic sector featured by professional operations, modern technical facilities. It will be able to attract 17 - 20 million international tourists and 82 million domestic tourists. It will contribute over 10 per cent to the country’s GDP, earn US$35 billion of revenue and generate 4 million jobs, including 1.6 million direct jobs.

To achieve those goals, the tourism industry of Vietnam needs to be powered by technology, Tri said. In the world today, many travel companies have turned themselves into tourism technology companies. For example, TripAdvisor and Yelp provide user reviews and ratings of tourism service; Airbnb and HomeAway offer room, house and bed renting services; or Uber and Grab cater long distance travelling services and vehicle sharing services.

To develop inclusive tourism, there is a need for the engagement of various ministries and agencies to address many issues of concerns such as travel visa, transportation, finance and banking where mobile information communication is essential, he added. However, mobile operators need to cooperate and share for common good cause of smart tourism and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism is ready to be a key coordinator to arrange this.

“For the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, information technology application is an essential and disruptive solution; the government will orient and facilitate enterprises, organisations and individuals to take part in tourism development; mobilise societal resources and promote the role of the business community,” he said.

In addition, the tourism industry needs to improve its capacity, particularly its competitiveness based on appropriate strategic programmes; apply information technology to improve sectoral performance, form a smart eco-tourism environment; and digitalise data.

Besides, Vietnam needs to change its perception, timely adapt to changing tourist behaviours; introduce information about nearby destinations to visitors; develop and improve country-specific software, database and applications. It also needs to provide effective information and interaction between tourists, destinations, businesses and authorities; build a fair business environment and support startups; support new application technologies; and prepare human resources for the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Quynh Chi

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