Culture and Tourism Bridge to Enhance Understanding and Connection between Vietnam and Singapore

1:50:05 PM | 8/11/2023

Singapore is a strategic and important tourism market of Vietnam in Southeast Asia. Cultural and tourism cooperation is a key driver for economic development and a catalyst for enhancing the understanding and cohesion of the two peoples.

According to the Singapore Tourism Board, Vietnam - Singapore tourism cooperation has achieved significant progress, with Vietnamese tourist arrivals to Singapore increasing steadily in recent years. The government-level tourism cooperation agreement was signed on August 26, 1994 and the Vietnam-Singapore Tourism Cooperation Committee (SVTC) was established in 1998. Its periodic meetings (for the 16th time to date) have produced tangible results.

Singapore is an important market for Vietnam. In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam welcomed nearly 310,000 Singaporean tourists, accounting for about 2% of total international tourists to Vietnam. Singapore is also one of Vietnam’s favorite overseas tourist destinations. In 2019 alone, nearly 600,000 Vietnamese people visited Singapore for tourism.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the tourism exchanges between the two countries for about two years, but they gradually recovered after Vietnam and Singapore reopened to tourism.

Vietnam is also a preferred market for Singaporean tourists. 90% of Singaporeans surveyed want to travel to Vietnam after the pandemic. In 2022, tourists from Singapore ranked 6th in Vietnam’s main source market, accounting for about 4% of total international arrivals. By the end of June 2023, about 155,000 Singaporean visitors arrived in Vietnam.

Data from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) show that Singapore welcomed about 6.28 million international visitors in the year to June 23, including about 227,300 Vietnamese tourists, up 85% year on year. Vietnam ranked 11th in sending tourists to Singapore.

Last July, STB signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance tourism experiences and attract 20,000 Vietnamese tourists to Singapore. Madam Serene Ng, Chief Representative of STB in Vietnam, said: “Singapore works closely with its strategic partners to collect and share information about visitors’ preferences and needs. This can help both sides align their marketing methods and strategies more effectively. Singapore looks forward to welcoming more visitors from Vietnam while enhancing their travel experiences.”

At a meeting with Singapore's Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Low Yen Ling within the framework of Vietnamese Cultural Days in Singapore, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Trinh Thi Thuy expressed her appreciation for Singapore’s tourism development. She said that Singapore had done a great job in promoting and attracting tourists in the wake of the pandemic and becoming a favorite destination for Vietnamese people. She proposed that Singapore share its tourism development promotion methods and policies with Vietnam. Minister of State Low Yen Ling shared that, after COVID-19, the Government and people of Singapore focused all their efforts on tourism promotion to make Singapore an ideal destination. In the first six months of 2023, Singapore attracted 13 million visitors. She fully supported Vietnam in promoting tourism and believed that Vietnam deserved to be known more on the world tourism map.

She suggested that Vietnam consider the idea of establishing a cruise ship tour through Vietnam, Singapore and a few other Southeast Asian countries, and jointly develop this new tourism product, which would contribute to the development of ASEAN tourism.

Deputy Minister Trinh Thi Thuy agreed with Singapore’s proposals and affirmed that cruise tourism products were a good idea, which could bring Southeast Asian countries closer together, especially Vietnam which has long sea routes. She hoped that Singapore would take the lead role in this project and confirmed that Vietnam’s tourism agency would join this project.

By Giang Tu, Vietnam Business Forum