The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) has recently approved a tourism marketing strategy, which lays out blueprint for growth in the nation’s tourism sector over the coming years through 2030.
The strategy responds to the need to improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector within the framework of competition with other international markets as recognised by the Vietnam government.
To this end, it focuses on both domestic and inbound tourism from foreign markets and sets targets for 2015 of increasing domestic travellers to between 7-7.5 million and inbound travellers to between 36-37 million.
In financial terms that translates to grossing overall US$10-11 billion in revenue in 2015, which would contribute from 5.5-6% to the country’s GDP.
The figures increase to 47-48 million local travellers and to 10-10.5 million inbound visitors, US$18-19 billion in revenue and 6.5-7% of GDP over the five-year period from 2015-2020.
Diversifying tourism products
The strategy prioritises international markets including Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Taiwan, Russia, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, and aims to elevate the nation’s tourism brand name using diverse, unique and competitive products in line with each market.
In addition, marketing activities will target Western Europe, including the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, Northern Europe and Northern America. India and Middle East are also potential markets that need nurturing.
The domestic market will focus on boosting sea and island tourism, and encouraging greater visitation to mountainous and highland areas, cultural tourism, festivals, ecotourism, and Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE).
However, the strategy recognises that capitalising on the nation’s strengths and turning Vietnam into a unique and attractive travel destination in Southeast Asia is an uphill and demanding task.
The involvement of media and communications agencies is needed at all levels. The strategy also calls for coordination in disseminating information to help visitors realise the vast diversity of Vietnamese tourism products and each region’s specialities.
The end goal is to encourage tourists to extend the duration of their stay and increase their spending, the strategy underlines.
It will also target to create more cooperation opportunities for tourism marketing activities among business enterprises and enhance the public-private partnership (PPP) model in improving marketing efficiency and profession towards high-growth and newly emerging markets.
The strategy specifically calls for promoting world cultural heritages, cuisine, shopping, seas and educational tourism products, entertainment services for older people in Japan.
While in the RoK it aims to market tourism products related to historical values, traditional culture and nature, entertainment, shopping, health care and golf courses.
Meanwhile, the focus in China is travel by cruise ship, luxury seas tourism products, cuisine, cultural heritage and visits to the Mekong Delta.
Diverse marketing methods
The strategy plans to rely most heavily on E-marketing, following by tools such as public relations (PR), conducting FAM trip and PRESS trip, organising and participating conferences, seminars, exhibitions, fairs, cultural, sports and tourism events abroad.
Other methods include designing, developing and publishing tourism publications, advertisement on mass media at home and abroad, and communications management.
Marketing via tourism ambassadors and representatives overseas is also specified as an effective way of boosting tourism.
The strategy outlines a detailed action plan for each year (from 2015 to 2020) in line with the national action plan on tourism and the national tourism promotion programme in the period 2013-2020.
The MoCST will coordinate with relevant ministries, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and media agencies to successfully give the strategy effect.