In 2019, Vietnam hosted the World Travel Awards of Asia and Oceania for the first time. During the events, it was the second consecutive year Vietnam had been honoured as the leading destination in Asia, with numerous hotels and resorts around the country winning prestigious awards for their luxurious services.
The awards present a great opportunity to promote the country’s tourism image in the eyes of international tourists as well as the world’s leading tourism brands.
According to the experts, Vietnam’s tourism is one of the fastest-growing in the world. In 2019, the country received over 18 million international arrivals, which was 16.2 per cent more than in the previous year.
Vietnamese airlines opened direct flights to tens of destinations in Europe, Asia, and even America, aiming to extend to new tourism markets, while also supporting local airlines and the hotel industry.
Thanks to the government’s policy in relaxing visa restrictions, in 2019 around 14.4 million arrivals to Vietnam came from Asia, marking an increase of 19.1 per cent on-year, and more than 2.16 million visitors came from European countries, 6.4 per cent more than in 2018.
By further easing visa requirements, the robust growth of European visitors could be continued.
Instead of just relying on traditional toolkits, like investing in marketing and improving infrastructure that take a long time to come to fruition, the country has implemented some innovative policies to boost tourism in the country and diversified its tourism products.
Such significant achievements in the tourism industry helped Vietnam to rank 63rd out of 140 countries in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019.
High-end tourism on the rise
Luxury tourism only accounts for 3 per cent of the total number of visitors to Vietnam but they contribute a remarkable part to the total revenue of the sector. Unlike mass tourism, where many people prefer to travel in groups, upmarket tourists often travel in small groups with specific requirements such as privacy, uniqueness, and unusual experiences.
As such, golf tourism has become a potential target for Vietnamese tourism. Named Asia’s best golf destination in the past two consecutive years by the World Golf Awards, Vietnam’s golf tourism developed strongly with the appearance of world-class golf courses throughout the country.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, international travel companies aim to increase golf-related arrivals by 50 per cent, which would likely generate sizeable revenue to the country, as golf tourists spend twice as much as other travellers. This could translate into a $1 billion business in 2020.
Furthermore, design director of planning and landscape for Asia at Canadian-based B+H Architects, Barry Day, once shared with VIR, “Given its varied and largely undeveloped coastline, beautiful mountains, and serene forests, Vietnam is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the growing global and local eco-luxury tourism sector.”
Luxury tourism is no longer a narrow concept limited to staying in 5-star hotels but ranges across the whole experience including the method of transport, such as by helicopter or seaplane, and excursions that are not normally available to regular tourists, such as a private visit to an artist’s studio. For these travellers, the most important aspect of their journey is that it is memorable.
Today’s luxury travellers want to be entertained and stimulated, rather than simply pampered, and Vietnam offers a magical mix of tropical beaches, post-colonial charm, a string of world heritage sites, stunning inland scenery, a world-renowned cuisine, and a home-grown flair for hospitality.
According to Pham Ha, chairman of Lux Group, “Upscale tours today must offer off-the-beaten-track experiences. High-end tourists also expect efficiency, seamless travel, value for money, and a return on personal values. Many will opt for short trips which offer a slice of local culture, a splash of adventure, and authentic experiences.”
Upscale tailor-made tours in Vietnam now offer yacht cruises, helicopter tours, limousine services, wellness tours with world-class spas, centuries-old massage techniques, and delicious healthy cuisine.
Starting from Ho Chi Minh City and ending in Hanoi (or vice versa), guests can enjoy wonderful treatments and leisurely stays at some of the best hotels and resorts in the world at amazing destinations. VIR