Brand positioning, proper planning needed to capitilise on urban tourism potential

In Việt Nam, the urbanisation rate has reached nearly 40 per cent, with over 860 urban areas.

Tourists at an attraction site in Nha Trang City. VNS Photo Mai Hương

HÀ NỘI Urban tourism has the potential to contribute to the socio-economic development of a locality significantly but to capitalise on this potential, experts have identified strong brand positioning, proper planning, and development as key areas to focus on.

In Việt Nam, the urbanisation rate has reached nearly 40 per cent, with over 860 urban areas.

Cities are the driving force of socio-economic development, facilitating economic restructuring towards industrialisation and modernisation.

However, not all cities are tourist destinations, even though most have outstanding tourism potential.

Việt Nam has numerous urban areas, especially coastal cities or key tourist destinations like HCM City, Đà Nẵng, Nha Trang, Phan Thiết, Vũng Tàu and Phú Quốc.

To improve tourism competitiveness and attractiveness, cities with strengths in tourism development must create and position a brand. According to Nguyễn Thu Hạnh, President of the Science Union for Sustainable Tourism Development, brand positioning is one of the important strategies for cities with a focus on tourism.

Vũng Tàu City, for example, is rich in advantages such as convenient traffic locations, seaports, a large oil and gas centre, a four-season climate, and beautiful beaches.

This urban area also converges different cultures through religious monuments, churches, communal houses, and pagodas.

Hạnh describes Vũng Tàu as a "smart, modern and dynamic coastal city" with a system of industrial parks, high-tech zones, event centres, festivals, entertainment, and shopping operating on a digital platform.

Phú Quốc, located on the southwest coast, is considered a centre of eco-tourism and high-class beach resorts. With around 150km of coastline, the length of beaches suitable for tourism development is about 50km.

Sustainable planning and development

In recent years, experts have warned that coastal cities are at risk of sea level rise and unusual natural disasters due to climate change.

In response, architects Nguyễn Việt Huy and Đỗ Đình Trọng, from the Hà Nội University of Civil Engineering, have proposed measures to minimise the harmful effects of natural disasters and develop stable technical and economic-tourism infrastructure systems that can adapt to climate change.

To achieve this, it is necessary to think differently and have a more open and positive view of climate change. Building construction plans should be based on integrated planning that promotes the socio-natural potential of the region while adapting to climate change.

Additionally, rational exploitation and strengthening solutions are essential to manage and use freshwater resources and protect coastal lands, sea mouths, and estuaries.

Associate Professor Phạm Trung Lương, Vice President of the Việt Nam Association for the Protection of Marine Resources and Environment and a member of the National Planning Advisory Group, emphasises the importance of promoting sustainable marine tourism urban development.

To achieve this, he recommends reviewing and adjusting the planning of existing sea tourism urban areas, especially for coastal spaces.

Separate services, shopping, and entertainment areas should be planned with little impact on the lives of residents, ensuring that tourism activities can take place 24/7, thereby promoting the development of the urban night economy, in which tourism will be the core. 

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