Vietnam has received 5 million foreign visitors this year, far surpassing a target of 4.2 million. However, experts say that in a year with a wide range of major events, the country is able to get 6-7 million tourists.
Unclear image and message
The tourism sector’s weakness is that it has not yet built a strong tourism brand. Over the past 10 years, the tourism sector has changed its slogan three or four times, however, none of them is able to convey a message that the sectors want to send. Even “Vietnam- the hidden charm” which is considered as good one sounds common and rather weak.
Many businesses say that it is not necessary to change the slogan every five years because it is costly. Other countries’ experiences show that a long established logo and slogan bring greater benefits as they make visitors remember and trust them. Only themes should change for each tourism year, they recommend.
Over the past decades, Thailand has succeeded with “Amazing Thailand”, Singapore has attracted a lot of tourists with “Uniquely Singapore”, Malaysia with “Malaysia- Truly Asia” and India with “Incredible India”. These slogans have helped these countries promote their images and their tourism brands in the world and attract a large number of foreign visitors.
Victor Wee, Head of the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Department says that Vietnam can do better in building its trademark for tourism development. Whenever mentioning Malaysia, people remember “Malaysia- Truly Asia”. The slogan has been memorized by heart by many foreigners. Vietnam should conduct a survey to know what percentage of tourists remember its slogan.
Lack of professional skill in promoting and advertising
The ability to advertise and promote Vietnam’s image to international tourists is limited due to limited budget and lack of clearly defined products and markets. Vietnam has not had a tourism product with international status.
Nguyen Anh Tuan from the Travel Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism says that tourist businesses lack professional skills and efficient coordination. Not enough attention has been paid to promotion and the quality of products and services is not high.
Visitors face many disappointments when coming to the sites which are described as tourist paradise in guides handbooks or the Internet, such as polluted environment, and low quality product and services.
Few years ago, not many people knew about Malaysian tourism but in recent years the country has received a large number of tourists because they have coordinated with other countries, such as Singapore and Thailand. Currently, international tourism linking is a common trend in the world as it saves time and money to promote trademark. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia share cultural similarities and if travel agents know how to promote the tours of three countries together, they will become attractive destinations for international visitors.
The question of how to build trademark for Vietnamese tourism has been discussed for many years but the sector has not come up with a specific plan yet. Tourism development needs support from the whole society and a specific strategy built by professional people.