HCM City remains top destination for tourists for both domestic and foreign tourists: Agoda

Wednesday, 03/05/2023 22:15
Ho Chi Minh City has remained the top destination for both domestic and foreign tourists in recent time, Agoda said.
An image of HCM City. The city is chosen by both domestic and foreign tourists as a top destination.
(Photo from baochinhphu.vn)

According to VOV, in a report, Lam Vu, country manager for Vietnam and Indochina of Agoda, said HCM City is the place where many domestic and inbound tourist had chosen to visit after the pandemic.

Lam said that HCM City is the biggest entry point connecting Vietnam and the world. The city has a big airport with many direct flights so visitors choose the city as a destination before going to other provinces and cities.

He highlighted HCM City, Hanoi and Da Nang as the three most popular destinations domestically for the month-ending long weekend, while Bangkok, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur have emerged as the top international getaways for the long break.

The other domestic destinations during this period include Vung Tau, Da Lat, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet.

In another development, Agoda shared top three observations about the Vietnamese travel industry and the trends that players in the sector can expect for the rest of 2023 and beyond.

"Sustainability is not a fad, it's here to stay," Lam said.

"The travel industry is taking steps towards becoming more eco-friendly, and travellers are increasingly aware of this. Vietnam is making strides towards sustainability, but there is still work to be done. Increasing awareness is crucial, and travellers and hoteliers alike are demanding more eco-friendly options."

Secondly, Agoda highlights Vietnamese culture as one that emphasises close family bonds. Family travel has been one of the centerpieces of the online travel business in the past, and will continue to take centre stage moving forward.

"Vietnamese families are eager to travel, and the trend is not limited to immediate family members. According to Agoda’s Family Travel Survey, four out of five travellers are looking to plan family holidays in the next 12 months, with immediate or extended family members."

In another trend, technology is a key driver of tourism behaviour.

"Vietnamese travellers are turning to technology to get the best deals and to plan their trips. Using fintech solutions and AI, travellers can find the best flights, accommodations, and activities, all in one place. Additionally, the extended trip trend has gained popularity, where travellers book flights and accommodations for extended periods of time to save money," Lam said.

Foreign businesses dominate Vietnam’s lucrative online travel market

Foreign businesses dominated the online travel agency channel in Vietnam, according to The Outbox Company's Most Loved Ranking, which surveyed Vietnamese travellers' preferences and awareness in Q1/2023, reported VNA.

Tourists in Hoi An. Foreign businesses dominate the online travel agency channel in Vietnam. 

The top online travel agents (OTAs) in Q1 are international brands in the travel sector, such as Traveloka, Booking.com, Agoda, Expedia and Trip.com. There are no domestic OTAs platforms among the top choices of Vietnamese travellers.

Traveloka has experienced tremendous growth thanks to effective campaigns during Tet (Lunar New Year) 2023, with more than 40% of travellers selecting it in Q1, which is 10% more than the second-ranked Booking.com.

One of the main reasons domestic customers prefer foreign OTAs is that they have a head start of about 20 years, with extensive experience in online transactions, global operations and established brand names with a solid reputation and strong financial backing.

For example, Indonesia-based Traveloka is a unicorn startup valued at US$1 billion or more. Booking.com is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Agoda is headquartered in Singapore, and Expedia owns and operates travel fare aggregators and metadata search engines based in the US.

Trip.com is an international online travel agency based in China. According to a report by Google and Temasek, Vietnam’s online travel market is a lucrative industry that may reach US$9 billion in scale by 2025.

However, this market is dominated by foreign online travel agencies (OTAs), which account for 80% of the market share, leaving Vietnamese OTAs like Gotadi, VnTrip, Ivivu, and Chudu, respectively Mytour.vn and Vinabooking with only a small percentage of transactions.

Vietnam’s tourism consumption trends have undergone significant changes in the past decade due to the emergence of digital technology.

Online payment methods, such as credit and debit cards and e-wallets, have replaced cash and are now more commonly used. Additionally, booking services for airline tickets, hotels and other travel arrangements through smartphone applications have significantly increased. These developments have facilitated the growth of online travel agencies (OTAs), both foreign and domestic.

Large hotels report that 40-60% of their total revenue comes from OTA channels, primarily foreign businesses.

Since tax regulations in Vietnam do not yet bind foreign online exchanges, they have more financial resources to invest in marketing, advertising and offering discounts to their partners, creating a significant competitive advantage.

The Private Economic Development Research Board acknowledges a tax inequality between domestic tourism and travel service businesses and foreign OTAs, as the latter do not have representative offices in Vietnam. This disadvantages domestic OTAs when competing with foreign OTAs on pricing.

The founder of Gotadi Ngo Minh Duc believes that Vietnam’s tourism industry needs to build a community and product ecosystem and adopt smart policies to dominate the market.

Vietnamese tourism businesses must link and transform digitally to create an ecosystem of Vietnamese people with smart service providers, smart users, and smart destinations, no longer losing at the "home field", Duc said.

Vietnamese localities see surges in tourist numbers during five-day holidays

According to VNS, localities across Vietnam saw a boom in the number of tourists during the five-day holidays of Hung Kings Commemoration Day, Reunification Day and International Workers’ Day from April 29 to May 3 – the second longest national holidays only after the lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

Foreign visitors to Binh Tay Market in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: VNA) 

The Tourism Department of Hanoi said on May 3 that during the five-day break, the capital city served 719,000 tourists, including 69,500 foreigners, and earned around 2.4 trillion VND (102.2 million USD) from the visitors.

Tourist attractions in the city include the Temple of Literature (30,000 arrivals), Thang Long Imperial Citadel (31,400 arrivals), Ao Vua Tourist Site (17,300 arrivals), and Ba Vi National Park (17,000 arrivals).

Tourist sites in Ho Chi Minh City welcomed around 950,000 visitors, including 48,000 foreigners. This time, the southern metropolis pocketed about 3.13 trillion VND from tourism services.

Meanwhile, with many attractive activities and programmes, tourist sites in the central city of Da Nang served more than 321,600 tourists, of whom 34,800 are foreigners, during the five-day holidays.

Some sites saw large numbers of holiday-makers are Sun World Ba Na Hills (nearly 65,000 arrivals), Ngu Hanh Son (28,000 arrivals), Than Tai Mount Hot Spring Park (17,300 arrivals), and Mikazuki Water Park (13,000 arrivals).

Visitors at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province. (Photo: VNA) 

During the holidays, around 120,000 visitors flocked to the resort city of Da Lat in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong. Of the total, 4,500 are foreigners, representing a year-on-year surge of 221.4%.

On this occasion, the provincial People’s Committee held the “Lam Dong tourism golden week 2023” from April 27 to May 3. The programme is expected to draw 300,000 visitors.

In the northern mountainous region, Lao Cai province welcomed around 227,200 tourist arrivals, earning 712 billion VND, up 53% and 30% year-on-year, respectively.

The province’s Sa Pa township, home to Fansipan Peak – the highest mountain in Indochina, served 103,000 tourists and pocketed over 335 billion VND.

Fruit-vegetable imports hit US$570 million in four months

Vietnam imported around US$570 million worth of fruit and vegetables during the first four months of the year, with US$151.6 million spent in April alone.

Fruit-vegetable imports hit US$570 million in four months (Source: vov.vn)

According to the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association (VINAFRUIT), the four-month figure represented a 3.6% increase compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the export of fruit and vegetables throughout the January - April period brought in US$1.381 billion, a year-on-year increase of 17.7%, reported VOV.

Vietnam spent some US$170.9 million importing vegetables and fruits from China during the reviewed period, accounting for 40.8% of the country’s total imports of the products.

Rising fruit and vegetable imports from China can be attributed to lower prices and improved quality of the products, as well as close geographical proximity.

The United States was Vietnam’s second largest vegetable and fruit consumer, with a value of US$57.9 million, making up 13.8% of the total market share.

Most notably, Vietnamese imports of fruit and vegetables from India amounted to US$17.4 million, up nearly four times compared to the same period last year, thereby accounting for 4.15% of the market share in comparison to 1% recorded last year.

India represents a fruit and vegetable powerhouse, offering many low-cost products coupled with cheap labour, thereby giving it a competitive advantage. In addition, onion and garlic products are extremely cheap, meaning that they are imported a lot./.