Last updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019


How Does Tourism Compete?

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The competitiveness of the Vietnamese tourism industry has improved significantly in recent years, with global rankings climbing by eight places from 75th in 2015 to 67th in 2017. Vietnamese tourism has many competitiveness advantages in inheritance resources (natural resources and cultural resources), security and safety, and hygiene and health.

The tourism industry has also actively contributed to the national economy, reflected by its share to the gross domestic product (GDP), employment generation, and the national image on the international arena.
However, Vietnam’s tourism development in general and its competitiveness in particular still faces a lot of limitations and shortcomings. Although the country has great advantages in tourism resources, political and diplomatic stability, it is still not able to utilise and promote these advantages effectively. Many indicators of tourism competitiveness of Vietnam are very low, even the lowest among ASEAN countries.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has no top-placed indices, even many competitiveness indicators distant from top-ranked countries in Southeast Asia. By quantity, Vietnam only has five out of 14 indicators (according to the World Economic Forum - WEF) above Thailand and Indonesia, while the rest stand lower. Even, Vietnam is inferior to Singapore and Malaysia by 13 to 14 indicators. Main indicators concerning tourism development, such as priority for the tourism industry, the competitive environment, international openness and infrastructure, are very low and far away from regional competitors.

Although Vietnam is still far from Thailand and Malaysia in capability of attracting international tourists, it is following closely Indonesia and Singapore. At the same time, tourist growth indicators show that leading countries are showing signs of slowing down (Thailand rising by 9 per cent, Singapore by 6 per cent, Malaysia falling by 3 per cent) while Vietnam’s growth rate is very high (29 per cent - highest in the region). This shows that, if Vietnam makes good use of opportunities and resources for tourism development, it can shorten the gap with Thailand and Malaysia and even surpass Indonesia and Singapore in the near future.

According to according to Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan from Tourism Research and Development Institute under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), to further promote its advantages, grasp opportunities, address weaknesses and overcome challenges to improve the competitiveness of the tourism industry in the coming time, Vietnam should focus on six specific groups of solutions: Creating an open and effective environment and policy mechanism to pave the way for tourism development; effectively exploiting tourism resources, promoting tourism development resources, spending more on investment and attracting more investment funds; and accelerating the application of modern science and technology and Industry 4.0 achievements to the tourism industry towards smart tourism. In addition, the country needs to speed up tourism promotion and market development; strengthen effective management and control of tourism activities; and develop professional tourism human resources.

Particularly, he said that the destination development planning should be given more attention and strong tourism resources should be identified to develop tourism product quality and brands of national and international class. Vietnam should increase funds for upgrading and developing technical and material facilities, developing transport infrastructure, electricity, water, communication, bridges and ports to support tourism development. At the same time, the country needs to improve service quality in passenger transportation, accommodation, travel, entertainment, shopping and other services. “The Government needs to pay more attention to giving priority to the allocation of investment budgets for the tourism industry to realise the goal of making it a key economic sector. The tourism industry also needs to have plans and policies to call for investment funds from society and from foreign investors for development,” he affirmed.

Carrying out these solutions effectively and consistently will help improve and enhance Vietnam's competitiveness in the coming time. Improved tourism competitiveness in the role of a key economic sector will certainly help sharpen the competitive edge of the Vietnamese economy in the new period.

Anh Mai

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