Vietnam’s industry players should look to tap into the rapidly growing segment of high-spending domestic tourists which remains a key driver of growth in the country’s travel sector, claim hoteliers.
As Vietnam’s middle-class continues to grow and rising levels of disposable income are spent on travel, domestic travel is rapidly on the rise.
According to figures from Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, domestic tourists increased by 6.8 million to more than 80 million in 2018.
In 2018, out of Ho Chi Minh’s 36.5 million visitors, 29 million were domestic tourists. Hanoi welcomed 28 million visitors, of which 22.5 million were locals. Meanwhile, 4.7 million out of Danang’s total 7.7 million arrivals were Vietnamese, and 7.2 million of the 12.5 million tourists who visited Quang Ninh were locals.
As a swathe of new destinations emerge and leading hospitality brands spread their reach to outlying areas, hoteliers say that the domestic market holds huge potential.
Andrew Langston, senior vice president – business development at Centara Hotels and Resorts, said: “One of Vietnam’s major strengths is its very robust domestic travel sector, which is at an all-time high. Many Vietnamese choose to travel and spend within the country, even more so as new resorts create new experiences and locations. This is a market that hotel operators should not underestimate.”
The Thai brand recently unveiled an ambitious plan to open more than 20 properties in Vietnam by 2024.
Local travellers are also playing a key role in driving business growth for hotels opening in lesser-known areas.
Best Western Hotels and Resorts is gearing up to open a property in emerging Vung Tau, which has been on the radar of investors and developers due to undergoing and imminent development and the construction of a new airport in neighbouring Dong Nai province.
Olivier Berrivin, managing director, international operations, Asia, said: “This is a popular seaside resort that already draws many local visitors from Ho Chi Minh City.”
This year, Anantara opened a property in the emerging coastal destination of Quy Nhon. Regional general manager IndoChina, Pieter van der Hoeven, said that currently the significant majority of tourism in the area is domestic.
He added: “We must remember the rapidly-growing Vietnamese middle-class who has a thirst to explore their own country, which drives significant demand, even more so for relatively new destinations such as Quy Nhon.”