Vietnam should by the end of the year take over Indonesia as the fourth largest tourism destination in terms of international arrivals. Up to October, total international arrivals to Vietnam was up by 13% to 14.49 million while Indonesia recorded only a modest growth of 2.85% with 13.62 million international arrivals.
For the first time, Vietnam will have received by year end more international travellers than Indonesia, which until recently was the fourth largest incoming destination within ASEAN. However, while Indonesia managed to see a growth of 2.85% during the first ten months of 2019, Vietnam has seen total arrivals jumping by 13%, Estimation put Vietnam total arrivals at 17.5 million while Indonesia should reach 16.1 to 16.25 million arrivals.
Indonesia President Joko Widodo has been since his first mandate to aggressively push tourism as he sees the sector as a top source for foreign exchange for a government that’s struggling to contain a widening current-account deficit. However, targets of 17 million travellers in 2018 was missed by two million while the 20-million international arrivals’ target will not be reached either in 2019 or in 2020. Likely, Indonesia could reach the 20-million mark by 2021 with tourism revenues reaching at the same time US$20 billion. However, the country needs to boost arrivals by 12% on average for the two next years.
Vietnam success has been built on various factors such as simplified procedures to enter the country, the opening of more Vietnamese airports to international flights while an aggressive campaign towards China helped pushing numbers from Vietnam’s northern neighbour. China is now the country’s largest inbound market with 4.5 million arrivals until November, up by 27%. The Korean market remains also from crucial importance for Vietnam. Korean travellers generated close to 3,2 million arrivals in the first 11 months of the year, up by 46.5%. Korea remains the fastest growing source market for Vietnam.
Indonesia is now looking at finetuning its strategy to stimulate incoming markets. The new Indonesian minister of tourism Wishnutama Kusubandio, is looking at pushing international events and festivals at the way to stimulate international attention towards the destination. New marketing initiatives towards China should be revived as total arrivals from that market are down by more than 5% for the first ten months of the year. Korean arrivals however progressed to Indonesia by 7%.