Wooing Korean Tourists to Vietnam

8:00:50 AM | 5/11/2019

More and more Koreans visit Vietnam year after year. Vietnam always sees Korea as a key tourism market.

The number of Korean tourist arrivals to Vietnam has increased very impressively in the past three years. Vietnam welcomed about 1.5 million Korean visitors in 2016 and this figure jumped to 3.5 million in 2018. After a long high-growing period, Korea surpassed China to become the biggest tourist market for Vietnam for the first time in January 2019. According to statistics from the General Statistics Office, 2.4 million Koreans visited Vietnam in the first seven months of 2019, up 22.1% year on year.

This impressive growth is attributed to Vietnam’s priority on promoting and introducing tourist destinations to Koreans. In addition, the Vietnam - Korea relationship is deepening in various fields. Korean companies invested and built manufacturing factories and supported training programs in Vietnam, led by gigantic Samsung and LG. In May 2019, the two sides opened the Vietnam-Korea IT Cooperation Center and cooperated with CMC Corporation of Vietnam to develop smart factories and network security.

After the Korea-China relationship deteriorated in 2017, Vietnam has been one of the fast-growing trade partners of Korea. Currently, the country is the third largest export market of Vietnam, just after the United States and China. Vietnam-Korea trade value climbed 34 times since 2000.

Thanks to fine relationship in all fields as well as favorite Korean cultural wave in Vietnam, Korean tourists easily find similarities and familiarities on many streets of Vietnam, from fashion, cosmetics and cuisine, to Korean-speaking tourist guides. It can be said that Vietnam is the second home to South Korean tourists.

Because of their interests in Vietnamese destinations, attracting and satisfying Korean tourists is considered an important requirement of the tourism industry. Speaking at the recent “Vietnam - Korea Tourism Cooperation Conference” held in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr. Ha Van Sieu, Deputy Director General of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, stressed “I expect that we find solutions to woo South Korean tourists to Vietnam and vice versa and to improve the quality to the best to please all visitors.”

“Based on the well-established relationship, Vietnam always defines Korean tourists as a key and potential market of the tourism industry in 2019 and beyond. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism seeks to have effective cooperation with Korean tourism businesses to bring more South Korean tourists to Vietnam as well as Vietnamese tourists to Korea, especially during tourism promotion activities organized by Vietnam in Korea this year,” said Mr. Ngo Hoai Chung, Deputy General Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Mr. Lee Chang Kun, Tourism Ambassador of Vietnam to Korea, pointed out what needs to be done to entice South Korean tourists to Vietnam. “Recently, the governments of the two countries launched cooperation programs such as US$175 million Hanoi - Hai Phong Expressway or a training program for Vietnamese railway officials. Besides, the two nations also exchanged education and students. In particular, Koreans are very interested in SME or internet advertising, and this marketing method will be thus very effective. In addition, the Vietnam Tourism Promotion Office in Korea signed cooperation agreements with district tourism councils in Seoul. Furthermore, we are forming a diversified tourism development cooperation network to draw more tourists in Korea.

Mr. Bong-Ki Ryu, General Manager of Hanatour in Vietnam, said that Vietnam has been, and definitely will be, one of the top choices of Korean tourists. He also suggested that Vietnam's tourism industry needs to address some problems such as the English information system for foreign tourists. Currently, Hanatour is studying to increase Korean tourists to other tourist destinations of Vietnam such as Nha Trang, Da Lat, Phu Quoc and Mui Ne.

Hopefully, other so-called barriers such as visa, costs and policies will be addressed by tourism authorities and businesses to create a better travel environment to increase Korean tourists to Vietnam.

Thu Huyen