MICE Tourism Market Remains Untapped

3:54:16 PM | 3/28/2016

MICE tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events) in Vietnam is being chosen by foreign partners and international tourists because Vietnam is a safe, friendly destination and an attractive investment environment. However, in practice, the true potential of this sector is being overlooked, with lack of support policies and weak human resources.
Mr Nguyen Xuan Binh, Director of the Danang Tourism Promotion and Information Centre, said that apart from Hanoi and HCM City, the two largest cities of Vietnam, MICE tourism usually targets famous destinations in Hue, Danang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc since they have good tourism infrastructure. “Danang has a special position as it lies between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Besides, the city has recently invested a lot in infrastructure systems like international airport, restaurants, hotels, resorts and support products for MICE tourism like golf tournament, international marathon competition, international firework, and nightlife entertainment system. This is an important condition to serve domestic and international MICE tourists.”
According to tour operators, a MICE group usually comes in a big number, from a few hundreds to thousands of participants, with high spending and long-term stays. Thus, it requires world class services and is somewhat different from normal tours. However, most tour operators are struggling on their own without any support from the government.
Mr Jacky Han, Event Director of HoaBinh Tourist & Convention, said MICE personnel are weak and insufficient, particularly in international service segment. For example, English competency of MCs is not good enough. Equipment and service style for various types of guests, e.g. Islamic, Russian and Kapka guests are still inadequate. Another difficulty is that MICE tourism development requires synchronous investment for equipment, hotels, restaurants and convention centres. Danang City now has standard infrastructure but its vehicle fleet for MICE tourism is not enough because a delegation usually has hundreds or thousands of participants.
Not only lacking support policies and mechanisms for MICE companies, most facilities for MICE service in Vietnam are managed by State agencies rather than businesses. Mr Jacky Han said convention centres in other countries are big enough for great events as they can hold tens of thousands of people at the same time. Meanwhile, our Giang Vo Exhibition Centre of Vietnam is only one tenth as big. Thus, instead of building many small convention centres, we should build one big centre to attract MICE delegations. Then, we will have other facilities like hotels, restaurants or even smaller convention centres as a result.

Other countries in the region such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore or a little further like South Korea and India are doing very well MICE tourism. Their experience in MICE tourism development can be useful for Vietnam. Hence, we should learn experience from other countries and advertise what we have to international friends.

Besides, the cooperation among tourism firms and the participation of State management agencies for MICE tourism development in Vietnam are important in the future.