Before the pandemic outbreak, the period 2015 – 2019 witnessed a breakthrough growth of Vietnam tourism. International visitor arrivals increased 2.3 times, from 7.9 million visitor arrivals to 18 million visitor arrivals, an average increase of 22.7% per year. This was the fastest growing globally according to the report of the World Tourism Organisation. The competitiveness of Vietnam tourism increased 12 places, with ranking from 75/141 to 63/140 economies. Tourism contributes directly 9.2% of GDP.
Vietnam tourism is honoured to receive various prestigious international titles and awards such as World’s Leading Heritage Destination, Asia’s Leading Cultural Destination, Asia’s Leading Culinary Destination, Asia’s Leading Destination and other 2 biggest awards for golf are World’s and Asia’s Best Golf Destination.
However, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 seized tourism activities globally, including Vietnam. Tourism and aviation were the first industries to get beaten up harshly. The number of international visitor arrivals to Vietnam in 2020 decreased by 79.5%; domestic visitors decreased by 34.1%; the total tourism receipts downed by 58.7% – a decrease equivalent to about USD19 billion.
In order to minimise the damage caused by the pandemic, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MOCST) proactively proposed to the Government and the Prime Minister to issue policies to support businesses and workers in the tourism industry, who are affected by the pandemic. At the same time, the MOCST issued guidelines for localities and businesses to adapt safely, flexibly and effectively control the pandemic in the field of tourism; organise the launch of programmes to stimulate demands, resume tourism and travel activities under the permitted conditions; continuously working with localities, businesses to remove difficulties and obstacles; promoting digital transformation to support local businesses to adapt safely and flexibly.
With the attention and direction of the Government, Vietnam is one of the six countries which achieved the highest COVID-19 vaccination coverage rates in the world, creating favourable conditions to resume socio-economic activities, including tourism. On 16th February 2022, the Government agreed with the proposal of the MOCST and relevant ministries and agencies to fully resume tourism activities from 15th March 2022.
On 15th March 2022, the Government issued Resolution 32/NQ-CP on visa exemption for citizens of 13 countries to enter Vietnam regardless of passport types and entry purposes from 15th March 2022. On the same day, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh agreed that from 15th March 2022, to restore measures and immigration procedures for foreigners and Vietnamese residing overseas as before the pandemic.
In order to carry out the safe and effective opening of tourism, the MOCST has issued guidance documents and asked localities to urgently prepare for the reopening of tourism, which focus on ensuring safety, implementing tourism stimulation programmes, developing products, improving service quality, upholding promotion activities, supplementing human resources and strengthening inspection and examination.
Regarding the tourism promotion, the MOCST and the whole industry continue to promote the media campaign “Live fully in Vietnam”, promoting Vietnam’s outstanding values of culture, heritage, landscapes as well as premium services of Vietnam tourism, offering visitors a fully experience in Vietnam. Through the implementation, the campaign has received enormous support and great appreciation from localities, businesses and domestic as well as international media agencies.
As a tourism management agency of the MOCST, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has oriented and connected localities and businesses to form tourism development alliances and linkages, performing high efficiency in promotion and product development.
The tourism industry also focuses on promoting digital transformation and technology application to improve the efficiency of promotion activities as well as ensuring safe tourism. In particular, upholding image and brand promotion of Vietnam’s tourism nationally and internationally via digital platforms such as websites and social networks. Asking travel service businesses to strictly implement the registration and safe declaration of COVID-19 on the online system. Encourage visitors to use and install the “Vietnam Safe Travel” app while travelling in Vietnam.
In addition to online activities, in 2022, the tourism industry will organise and participate in international tourism programmes, events and fairs to reconnect with tourist markets, targeting key markets such as Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, USA, Europe, Australia, etc. At the same time, deploying programmes to promote Vietnam’s tourism on major international media channels such as CNN, CNBC. All ready to welcome the wave of tourism recovery right in 2022.
The analytical data from Google Destination Insights shows the soaring number of international search volume for air and accommodation, from the mid-February 2022, the number of search volumes peaked by 425% compared to the same period of 2021. This is a positive sign for the process of opening to international tourism.
Together with the attention from the Government, the close and effective coordination of ministries, branches, localities, the business community, the support of the whole society, with a proactive and creative manners, believing that Vietnam’s tourism industry will open up successfully, creating momentum for a strong recovery, worthy of being a spearhead economic sector of the country.
Source: Tourism Information Technology Center
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