Vietnam Starts to Experience a Slowdown in Tourism Growth

Like in other countries in Southeast Asia and after recording double-digit growth over the last three years. Vietnam is bracing this year for a slowdown in international tourist arrivals. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) tries to look for new ways to boost again tourist arrivals…

In a recent conference hosted in Hanoi, Vice Chairman of VNAT Ha Van Sieu highlighted that, in the period of 2015-2018, international tourists coming to Vietnam increased dramatically, from 7.9 million in 2015 to 15.5 million in 2018 (+195%), representing an average growth rate of 25% per year. This was one of the highest growth rates in the world according to the annual assessment of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), much higher than the average growth of 5.8% per year of the world and 6.1% of Asia and the Pacific region in the same period.

However, in the first 7 months of 2019, the country welcomed nearly 9.8 million international tourist arrivals, an increase of 7.9% over the same period last year. For the same period of 2018, tourist arrivals growth topped 25.4% compared to 2017, showing a marked slowdown. A major reason is a weakening of the tourism demand from the Chinese outbound marke, affected by a slowing economy and uncertainties due to the trade conflict with the USA, which affects also consumption. Chinese arrivals are also declining in other countries such as Thailand or Australia.

Speaking at the conference, Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien asked tourist hubs such as Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Danang or Ho Chi Minh City to find solutions to increase international tourists. The Minister evoked enhanced tourism promotion in a bid to maintain the number of international visitors from the Chinese, Korean and Japanese markets as well as from European markets.

Vice Chairman of Da Nang City People’s Committee Le Trung Chinh informed that Danang City has identified tourism as a key economic sector. The city aims to develop environmental friendly tourism, green tourism and sustainable growth. Da Nang City has strengthened cooperation in order to promote the image of Da Nang tourism destinations.

Director of Khanh Hoa Tourism Department Tran Viet Trung emphasized the importance of training and use of tourism human resources; the flexible visa policies; and electric payments.

According to Mr. Le Minh Tan, Deputy Director of Tourism Department of Quang Ninh Province, the qualifications and capacity of tourism human resources are factors that determine the quality of tourism products. The lack of high tourism human resources is affecting the quality of Vietnam tourism service. Vietnam needs then to increase the number and quality of tourism training.

In view of human resources issues, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Ky, Chairman of Vietravel said that workers in the tourism field remain weak at practicing foreign languages, service skills and specialized expertise. Training programs are not conform to the ambitions  with the Vietnam Tourism Occupation Skills Standards (VTOS).Vietnam training programs are focusing to much on theory and are lacking  practical skills and the use of foreign languages.

Concluding the conference, Chairman of VNAT Nguyen Trung Khanh highly appreciated the proposals of local provinces on general promotion program in key markets as well as the possibility to launch common marketing tourism strategies with the participation of cities/provinces and private companies enterprises; and a better use of information technology in tourism while restructuring the promotion on source markets as well as ensuring security and safety. VNAT chairman estimates that more efforts should be done between airlines, tourism companies but also entertainment companies, hotels as well as shopping centres.