Many Challenges Hinder Tourism Recovery in Vietnam in 2022-2023

10/8/2022| 10:37

Although optimistic about the recovery of the travel industry, industry players warned that the target of five million international arrivals this year could be out of reach due to strict visa policies and a shortage of human resources and infrastructure.

Inbound tourism plays a vital role in the growth of Vietnam's tourism sector, especially with the country reopening its borders after more than two years and lifting most Covid restrictions since mid-March of 2022.

Phung Quang Thang, Director of Hanoitourist, said the spending by the 18 million international arrivals in 2019 surpassed that of the 85 million domestic tourists, highlighting the vital role of inbound travel.

Many Challenges Hinder Tourism Recovery in Vietnam in 2022-2023Vietnam Airlines' online check-in counters (Photo: VNA).

For the first 7 months of 2022, domestic travel has seen a strong rebound whereas international tourism, with a target of five million arrivals this year, remains in a slump, said Vu The Binh, Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association

Domestic visitor numbers topped 71.1 million in just the first seven months of this year against a full-year target of 60 million, he said.

In the same period there were only 733,000 international visitors, or 8% of pre-pandemic numbers, he told a two-day programme titled ‘Lien Ket Suc Manh Du Lich Vietnam Nam 2022’ (Power of Vietnam Tourism Linkages) that ended in Ho Chi Minh City on August 9.

According to Cao Thi Tuyet Lan, sales manager of Viettours Incentives& Events Company, though international tourism resumed in mid-March, the burdensome visa application process has slowed down international travel. Due to this issue, the number of international visitor arrivals to Vietnam are unlikely to be any higher during the busy international year-end travel season.

She added that tourism services have developed strongly at popular destinations such as Phu Quoc, Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Ha Long but other localities have not invested adequately in tourism services and promotions. 

One of the main reasons for the lack of tourism services and promotions is the shortage of human resources is another factor hindering the recovery, said Lan.

Other industry insiders said the inbound tourism market can't stage a short-term recovery to pre-pandemic times, given the absence of tourists from China, Japan and South Korea, Vietnam's biggest feeder markets.

China, Vietnam's biggest tourism markets with 5.8 million arrivals in 2019, is still pursuing its zero-Covid policy with lockdown measures and strict entry restrictions.

South Korea and Japan, Vietnam's second and third largest tourism markets, are imposing quarantine rules on those visiting or returning from abroad.

Cao Tri Dung, Chairman of the Da Nang City Tourism Association, said to boost international travel, the tourism sector needs to engage with digital and social media platforms considering the vast number of people accessing them.
Sharing the same opinion, Phan Thi Thang, Vice Chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the tourism sector needs to have more offerings, promotion and marketing programmes to attract international tourists.

E-visa tips for foreigners visiting Vietnam

Many Challenges Hinder Tourism Recovery in Vietnam in 2022-2023

 

South Korea tourists at the Danang International Airport on April 29, 2022 (Photo: Nhan Tam). 

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung said tourists from some of Vietnam’s major markets such as Russia, Japan and the Republic of Korea have not returned. He assured that his ministry along government counterparts has worked with related ministries to address visa policy-related concerns. 

This initiative has also stepped up international marketing and promotion activities to speed up recovery and growth of the tourism sector, he added.

Right now, Vietnam offers 30-day single-entry e-visa service for citizens from 80 countries and territories.

Among the main eligibility conditions for the e-visa are a passport with six months' validity; a photo in .jpg format of full passport data page; a passport photo in .jpg format; and a valid international credit or debit card.

In order to apply for the e-visa, the first step is to visit the official website for Vietnam's e-visa application at evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn and complete an online form.

The form has to be filled with required information from the passport data page and the .jpg images of the page and passport photo have to be uploaded.

All information regarding the trip, including intended date of entry, intended length of stay in Vietnam, intended port of entry and departure, and intended temporary residential address in Vietnam will have to be filled in.

After completing the form and submitting it to the Vietnam Immigration Department, the applicant will receive a verification code, after which US $25 has to be paid as e-visa fees.

It takes three working days for the visa to be issued. The visa status can be checked at evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/tra-cuu-thi-thuc after entering the registration code, email, and date of birth.

Once the visa is issued, the .pdf file can be downloaded and printed. It is advisable to have two printed copies when traveling.

The e-visa is valid for entry at any of 28 international checkpoints in Vietnam, including 7 international airports: Cat Bi (Hai Phong), Cam Ranh (Khanh Hoa), Can Tho, Da Nang, Noi Bai (Hanoi), Phu Bai (Hue), Tan Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City).

 ZOEY NGUYEN

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