Strategic investors’ engagement helps promote Việt Nam’s tourism growth
24 May 2023
The investment of domestic and foreign investors in tourism infrastructure, especially resort real estates, poor rural areas have been turned into enchanted destinations for tourists, making Việt Nam more attractive to investors. Golden Bridge in Đà Nẵng, built by Sungroup. — VNA/VNS Photo HÀ NỘI — Thanks to the investment of domestic and foreign investors in tourism infrastructure, especially resort real estates, poor rural areas have been turned into enchanted destinations for tourists, making Việt Nam more attractive to investors. Boasting 3,260km of coastline with about 400 beaches and thousands of natural landscapes and relic sites across the country, Việt Nam is an ideal place for strategic investors such as SunGroup, Vingroup, FLC and VinaCapital. Many modern hotel chains meeting international standards have been built, mostly in popular tourist attractions in Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng, Nha Trang, Phú Quốc, HCM City and Hạ Long. Meanwhile, many reputable international brands such as Accor, Mariott, Hyatte, IHG, Four Seasons, and Archipelago have marked their presence in Việt Nam, contributing to enhancing the governance capacity and tourism service quality of the country. According to Dr. Phan Hữu Thắng, former Director of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, foreign direct investment (FDI) in tourism and resort real estate has been helpful for Việt Nam from the first years of opening and integration, with the development of a system of high-end resorts and hotels. In the last 20 years, investment in tourism accommodation has boomed. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the number of accommodations in Việt Nam increased from 12,500 facilities in 2010 to 33,330 in 2022, with 667,000 rooms. As of the end of 2022, Việt Nam had 215 five-star hotels with 72,000 rooms, and 334 four-star hotels with 45,000 rooms. According to statistics from the Vietnam Real Estate Association (VNREA), the country is home to 239 tourism real estate projects with a total value of VNĐ681.8 trillion, or about US$30 billion. Sử Ngọc Khương, Senior Director of Savills Việt Nam, said that despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism real estate in Việt Nam is still an attractive segment for investors, where they can find opportunities to join the Vietnamese market. In reality, amid the difficult situation in the real estate sector, foreign investors, especially those from the Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong (China), have still shown great attention to resort real estate, especially in the south central coastal region. Many big names such as Mandarin Oriental, JW Marriott, M Gallery, Le Meridien, Wink Hotels and The Ascott Limited are likely to launch their projects in the region. According to CBRE, Đà Nẵng drew 10 projects as of the end of 2022. Bình Thuận expects more than 5,000 vacation villas by 2025, while Phú Yên will provide more than 72 villas and hotel rooms to the market by 2026. Experts held that in 2024, the accommodation occupation rate will recover to the pre-pandemic level of 63 per cent. According to Hà Văn Siêu, Vice Director of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), this year, the tourism sector aims to serve about eight million foreign visitors and 102 million domestic tourists, earning about VNĐ650 trillion ($27.71 billion). The sector plans to announce the Việt Nam tourism planning for the 2021-30 period with a vision to 2025 right after it is approved. It has implemented a marketing strategy until 2030, along with a project to strengthen the application of new technologies in developing smart tourism and turning tourism into a spearhead economic sector of the country. A community-based tourism project is also underway, said Siêu.
Hai Phong launches Free Walking Tour
15 May 2023
The northern port city of Hai Phong on May 13 launched a new tourism product named “Hai Phong – Free Walking” as an effort to fulfil its set target of welcoming 7.5 million visitors this year. Foreigners visit statue of female General Le Chan as part of Free Walking Tour (Photo: VNA) Vu Huy Thuong, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Tourism, said that this is one of the new tourism products of Hai Phong in 2023. When participating in this tour, visitors will be accompanied by a guide to take a walk around several historical, cultural and architectural sites in the city, during which they will have chances to taste specialties. Specially, the tour will bring visitors to Tam Bac Lake; statue of female General Le Chan who helped the Trung sisters to fight foreign invaders during 40-42 AD and reclaimed the ancient An Bien village, now Hai Phong city; Hai Phong Opera House; the city Museum and Post Office; and Hoang Van Thu bridge.
Various tours and activities to attract tourists during upcoming holiday
02 May 2023
Cities and provinces nationwide are offering various tours and activities to attract visitors during the upcoming five-day holiday, on the occasion of the Southern Liberation and National Reunification Day (April 30) and International May Day (May 1). Ha Long Bay is an ideal destination for the holiday. In 2023, the ceremony to commemorate the death anniversary of Hung Kings is close to the holidays of National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1), so employees are entitled to five consecutive days off. On this occasion, to attract tourists and revive the tourism industry, provinces and cities all promote tourism, organise many programs, and create attractive destinations. Diversify new tourism products Apart from night tours of Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Hoa Lo prison relic site, Literature Museum and night pedestrian streets in the capital city of Hanoi, many new tours have been introduced such as cultural and spiritual tourism, combined with health care in outlying Soc Son district, Bac Co - rice flower season at the National History Museum, returning to the ancient Vietnamese capital at the Co Loa citadel relic, and a heritage journey at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Bat Trang pottery village. In the northern port city of Hai Phong, food tours have become a booming trend on social media, attracting many domestic and foreign tourists, especially young people.
Cruise tourism – "gold mine" for Vietnam to tap into
12 Apr 2023
Vietnam witnessed an significant increase in the number of international tourist arrivals by sea in the first quarter of 2023, showing that cruise tourism has great potential for further development in the Southeast Asian nation. Seven Seas Explorer anchored at Nha Trang port (Photo: VNA) Vietnam witnessed an significant increase in the number of international tourist arrivals by sea in the first quarter of 2023, showing that cruise tourism has great potential for further development in the Southeast Asian nation. According to the General Statistics Office, in March, international arrivals to Vietnam by sea rose more than 2.8 times, as compared to the previous month. In the first three months of the year, Vietnam welcomed 33,700 cruise passengers, up 936.3 times higher year on year. Since the beginning of 2023, many cruise ships carried thousands of international tourists to localities across Vietnam, including Nha Trang, Da Nang, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh City, and Quang Ninh. Recently, the high-end Italian-flagged cruise ship MSC Poesia, with 2,145 European passengers onboard, arrived in Nha Trang City on April 1. The vessel departed from Hong Kong (China) and then sailed to Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh City. Khanh Hoa province has welcomed five cruise vessels since the beginning of this year. The province is expected to greet two more cruise ships this April and about 20 between now to the year-end. In late February, Spectrum of the Seas, one of the world's top ten most luxurious cruise ships, docked at Tan Cang-Cai Mep port in Tan Phuoc ward, Phu My town, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. Besides 1,577 crewmembers and serving personnel, the ship carried more than 3,800 foreign tourists, most of them from the US, the UK, Australia, and Singapore. This was the 7th international cruise ship and the one that carried the largest number of tourists to make landfall in Ba Ria-Vung Tau so far this year. Quantum of the Seas carries foreign tourists to Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: VNA) A representative of Saigontourist Company reported that from March 1 to 8, the company provided services for four international ships, carrying more than 4,200 cruise passengers to Vietnam. This year, the world-class Royal Caribbean Cruises has added more destinations in Vietnam to the Spectrum of the Seas’ itinerary. The cruise will allow passengers to visit Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue and Da Nang on different itineraries. Hue and Da Nang are newly-added destinations in the Tokyo - Singapore itinerary, which will depart in September and October 2023. According to Vietnam's tourism development strategy in 2020, with a vision to 2030, the country is giving priority to developing sea and island tourism. Vietnam has a favourable geographical position on the regional maritime route. The country also boasts a coastline of 3,260km, with more than 4,000 islands and many famous scenic spots, as well as time-honoured historical and cultural sites. The famous beach resorts in Vietnam such as those in Ha Long - Cat Ba, Son Tra - Hoi An, Nha Trang - Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet - Mui Ne, and Phu Quoc, can compete against other coastal resorts in the region and Asia in luring cruise passengers. Famous beach resorts in Vietnam such as those in Ha Long - Cat Ba, Son Tra - Hoi An, Nha Trang - Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet - Mui Ne, and Phu Quoc, can compete against other coastal resorts in the region and Asia in luring cruise passengers. A survey by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) showed that cruise tourism generates 40% higher revenue than travel by air or by road. This is also the reason why cruise tourism is favoured and fully exploited by developed countries around the world. UNWTO forecasts that cruise tourism will better recover in 2023 when the COVID-19 pandemic is placed under control. Although Vietnam has many advantages to developing cruise tourism, some difficulties remain to hinder the development of this type of tourism, according to participants at a seminar on developing Vietnam's sea and island tourism which was jointly held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the Vietnam Tourism Association in December 2022. Experts pointed out the lack of ports to host cruise ships, experienced human resources to serve high-paying tourists, and communication activities to promote cruise tourism. Therefore, they called on coastal localities to develop policies to encourage businesses to invest in seaport infrastructure and design new tourist products to better serve cruise passengers. They also stressed the importance of a development strategy and master plan for developing sea and island tourism./.
Concerns about unlocking the potential of cultural tourism
10 Apr 2023
The challenge of how to create a unique and profound Vietnamese cultural experience for tourists is still a concern for those working in the tourism industry. Foreign tourists experience Vietnamese culture by trying on traditional ao dai dresses during a visit to Lan Ha Bay on Cat Ba Island, Hai Phong City. (Photo: SGGP) In the Strategy for the Development of Cultural Industries in Vietnam until 2020, with a vision to 2030, cultural tourism is identified as a key sector. However, the challenge of how to create a unique and profound Vietnamese cultural experience for tourists is still a concern for those working in the tourism industry. Experiencing local culture Cultural tourism is considered a distinctive product that attracts many international tourists to developing countries, in addition to other types of tourism such as eco-tourism, medical tourism, adventure tourism, and educational tourism. Vietnam aims to make cultural tourism contribute 15-20 percent of the total revenue of US$40 billion from tourism by 2030. Mr. Vu The Binh, Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, has expressed that the expectation for cultural tourism development is not baseless, as Vietnam possesses an extremely-rich cultural heritage. Cultural tourism has been identified as a favorite trend of many domestic and foreign tourists. When visiting Vietnam, tourists often seek out new and unique experiences, explore local cultures, and interact with the locals to appreciate the beauty of the country and its people. This shows that Vietnamese culture will create unique experiences for every tourist on their travel journey. With over 20 years of experience in the tourism industry, Mr. Pham Ha, Chairman of Lux Group, has commented that Vietnam's cultural tourism has numerous unique resources that distinguish it from other countries in the region and the world. Through traveling to various places and interacting with foreign tourists, he has come to realize that Vietnam possesses a wealth of valuable tourism resources, ranging from its culture, nature, and cuisine to its people. Many international tourists have shared that their most unforgettable travel experiences involve immersing themselves in local culture. Telling the story of the national culture with will and national self-esteem is one of the driving forces that enable many tourism businesses to remain resilient and establish a position and reputation in the industry. Capturing the trend of cultural tourism Culture has always been a significant aspect of many economic sectors, including tourism. However, cultural tourism has only been developed recently. The first sign of cultural tourism development globally was in 1985 when the European Union selected Athens, Greece, as the "Cultural Capital of Europe." This event can be considered the initial step in the birth of cultural tourism worldwide. In Vietnam, cultural tourism has not been classified as a separate category. However, by observing the daily activities of the tourism industry, we can see that many enterprises offer products related to cultural tourism. These products include visits to religious architecture, cultural festivals, and the promotion of traditional cuisine. Regrettably, the relationship between tourism and culture in Vietnam is still not very strong, as evidenced by the recent case of the film set 'Dao, Pho, and Piano' by Director Phi Tien Son. A street in Hanoi from 1946 and 1947 was recreated with painstaking detail, including every doorway, roof, and signboard, but after only two months, everything had to be dismantled. In many countries with developed cinema industries, such studios are kept as tourist sites and attract many visitors. Unfortunately, this old Hanoi context was not retained as a long-term historical and educational tourist destination. Additionally, many spring festivals, with their unique cultural characteristics, have not been professionally exploited to create specific tourism products. These small stories highlight the importance of having expertise and experience in developing cultural tourism. Enterprises and government agencies should take decisive and practical steps to identify and implement changes in their regular activities. Although Vietnam has abundant cultural and natural resources, turning them into cultural tourism products that leave a lasting impression on visitors, make them feel excited, and encourage them to return, as other countries have done, is still a challenging journey for Vietnam's tourism industry. Mr. Pham Van Thuy, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, acknowledged that the utilization of cultural heritage as a tourism resource is still modest and requires further promotion in the near future because cultural resources not only generate significant revenue but also enhance the national image, thereby contributing to the country's global identity.
Picking buds on New Year's Eve for good luck
14 Mar 2023
Vietnamese people frequently visit pagodas and temples after New Year's Eve to burn incense and pick lucky buds. The ancients believed that selecting spring buds from plants like banyan trees, fig trees, weeping fig trees, and acacia trees would bring people the most luck. The origin of picking a fortune The practice of collecting buds has its roots in the legend of Hung King, says author Bui Xuan My in his book "Critiques in Vietnamese Families," which was published by Culture and Religion Publishing House. In order to pass on fortunate omens to his offspring, he went out to play in the spring and collected buds to bring back. When the kids were older, Hung King chose lucky days and months to sacrifice to heaven and earth on top of Nghia Linh Mountain (now in the province of Phu Tho), asking for the blessing of the rain and wind as well as the happiness of all. Early in the morning, when the sun was rising in the East, the King gave each son a bud and instructed them in the following: "Even when they are young, they still go to the sea; the young stay at home; the old go to hamlets." "If you encounter any misfortune, you should bring this twig of buds still covered with morning dew and shake it to the sky, then wild beasts and evil spirits can't hurt you," Hung King instructed their sons to take this twig of buds to guard the directions and instruct the people to conduct business on the way. This cultural beauty has been passed down through many centuries for all time. People used to travel to the spring on New Year's Eve to pray for luck. People go to temples and pagodas to perform the ceremony after picking an appropriate departure direction. Many people often pick buds on New Year's Eve for good luck The meaning of picking buds The ancients believed that selecting spring buds from plants like banyan trees, fig trees, weeping fig trees, and acacia trees would bring people the most luck since these trees resembled four sacred animals, including dragons, unicorns, turtles, and phoenixes. There are two definitions for "fortune," the first being a bud and the second being a boon. Accordingly, a sprout that has just emerged from the stem or from the leaf axils will be referred to as "picking buds in early spring." After arriving at the common home or pagoda to burn incense at the start of the year, folks would traditionally pick a bud to take home and hang in front of the house or place on the altar in the hopes that it would bring blessings to the family. There are many instances where there are too many people and they must stand outside in the yard carrying incense, bowing, and praying instead of participating in the rite in front of the altar. A few incense sticks are sometimes brought home and placed in a bowl of Tao Quan incense. The incense sticks' red flame represents the Buddha's wealth. Today, however, the practice of picking buds should be accompanied by environmental protection to prevent harm to trees. Some people can purchase sugar cane if they choose not to pluck trees.
Attracting Japanese investment into new fields
Vietnam ranks second in the list of foreign destinations that Japanese businesses wish to invest in. Digital transformation and green growth are issues suggested for inclusion in the Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative in the future. The production of solar battery at Vietnam Sunergy Joint Stock Company (a company with 100% Japanese capital) in Dinh Tram Industrial Park, Bac Giang province. (Photo: DONG THUY) The economic cooperation relationship between Vietnam and Japan has achieved remarkable and comprehensive development after 50 years of establishing diplomatic relations. Japan is currently Vietnam’s leading economic partner, with economic, trade and investment cooperation always being especially focused and promoted. Large room for cooperation Japan currently has more than 5,000 valid investment projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of more than 69 billion USD, ranking third among the 141 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Japan’s investment flow is present in 57 out of 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam, with a focus in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Meanwhile, Vietnam currently has 104 investment projects in Japan with total registered capital of 19.2 million USD, ranking 36th out of the 79 countries and territories receiving investment from Vietnam. In terms of trade, Japan has become Vietnam’s fourth largest trading partner with bilateral import and export turnover of nearly 50 billion USD in 2022. Attracting investment capital from Japan is also an important goal in the socio-economic development plans of many localities throughout Vietnam. Localities in the key economic zone of the Red River Delta such as Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Hai Duong, and Hung Yen say they are ready to realise cooperation opportunities between Vietnam and Japan in the fields of high-tech agriculture, manufacturing, renewable energy, and circular economy. Notably, the Vietnam-Japan ODA relationship is one of the most successful bilateral development cooperation relationships of Vietnam in recent years. Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong said that Japan’s ODA currently accounts for more than 30% of bilateral development aid for Vietnam, including more than 2.7 trillion JPY in loans, nearly 100 billion JPY in non-refundable aid, and 180 billion JPY in support of technical cooperation. Japan’s ODA capital plays an important role in Vietnam’s socio-economic development through the implementation of large-scale infrastructure development projects such as Tan Son Nhat Airport, Noi Bai Airport, Nhat Tan Bridge, and the seaports of Cai Lan, Lach Huyen, and Cai Mep-Thi Vai, creating a driving force for Vietnam’s socio-economic development. This is also an important source of capital to contribute to the transfer of advanced technology and training of human resources, and others. Many advanced technologies will be transferred to Vietnam through ODA loans, such as satellite assembly, and bridge and road construction engineering. Apart from its appeal as a production base, Vietnam, as a country with a population of nearly 100 million, the majority of whom are young, has also become attractive for expanding the services sector and startups for Japanese enterprises, said Chairman of the Japan-Mekong Business Cooperation Committee Yoshihisa Suzuki at the recent Vietnam-Japan Economic Forum 2023. The number of Vietnamese living in Japan is also increasing, which is a factor that brings the people of the two countries closer together while making the exchange of technology more essential. Proposals for the next phase The Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative ended phase 8 in March 2023 after 20 years of implementation, in which 497 out of 597 items were completed well on schedule. The Ministry of Planning and Investment proposes to develop a cooperation programme between the small and medium-sized enterprises of the two countries to further promote the role of the Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative. The programme will focus on the field of digital transformation, development of supporting industries, and training of human resources. Japanese small and medium enterprises have a lot of potential and advantages to cooperate with Vietnamese ones in technology transfer. Japanese enterprises have good capacity, experience, and high technology while Vietnamese enterprises have abundant human and labour resources, which can complement each other in the process of cooperation and development. Notably, these are the contents under phase 8 of the Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative, which need to be deepened in the future to meet the requirements of the two countries in the new context. The Ministry of Planning and Investment proposed that the Japanese side need to have more specific solutions and additional resources to strengthen connectivity and support for Vietnamese businesses to improve their capacity and competitiveness, participate deeply in the chain value, and increase the efficiency of investment cooperation through specific projects. The survey results on the current situation of Japanese enterprises investing abroad in the fiscal year 2022 published by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) show that 60% of Japanese enterprises plan to continue expanding their business in Vietnam, accounting for the highest proportion in Southeast Asia. This shows that Japanese enterprises attach great importance to the Vietnamese market. With the goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2030, Vietnam is focusing on promoting science and technology, innovation, digital transformation, green transformation, green economic development, digital economy, circular economy, and knowledge economy. In that journey, Vietnam wishes to receive the companionship of the business community, especially Japanese enterprises with suitable potential in the prioritised areas of the Vietnamese Government. In order to meet development requirements in the coming period, Vietnam encourages Japanese enterprises to expand investment cooperation in infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, high-quality agriculture, information technology, smart cities, financial services, banking, and innovation. The Vietnamese government is committed to accompanying the business community by supporting and creating all favourable conditions for investment and business activities, thus bringing more benefits to the parties and contributing to lifting Vietnam-Japan relations to new heights. TO HA
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Border - Sea Island
The Government has issued a resolution approving National strategy targets sustainable use of maritime resources
According to Resolution No. 48/NQ-CP dated April 3, maritime resources will be used effectively and equally in service of socio-economic development in line with national defense and international cooperation. By 2050, maritime resources will be used effectively to turn Vietnam into a sea-based wealthy nation, with marine biodiversity conserved and the harmony of society and nature sustained. (Photo: Margaret cruises) The Government has recently issued a resolution approving the strategy on sustainable exploitation and use of maritime resources and protection of maritime environment by 2030 with a vision towards 2050. According to Resolution No. 48/NQ-CP dated April 3, maritime resources will be used effectively and equally in service of socio-economic development in line with national defence and international cooperation. Marine pollution is to be reduced significantly, marine biodiversity will be protected, and the impacts of natural disasters will be minimized, towards turning Vietnam into a wealthy nation based on the sea. Specifically, by 2030, maritime resources should serve sea-based economic sectors such as tourism and services, exploitation of oil and gas and other natural resources, aquaculture, renewable energy; and improve living standards in the community. Notably, 100% of hazardous waste and household solid waste in coastal urban areas will be collected and treated in line with environmental standards, and all of economic and industrial zones, and coastal urban areas will be planned and built in a sustainable, ecological, smart and climate-adaptive manner. By 2050, maritime resources will be used effectively to turn Vietnam into a sea-based wealthy nation, with marine biodiversity conserved and the harmony of society and nature sustained. The resolution also sets out the task of responding to climate change and sea level rise, basic study of seas and islands, and international cooperation.