– The application of technology has been considered as inevitable trend to create a breakthrough of Viet Nam tourism, making it popular and favorable for both international and domestic tourists.
– Technology has changed the way tourists making decision and enjoy their trip, which is known as ‘smart tourism’.
– New tourism products and services has been appeared and forecasted to be more diverse in the future.
Vietnamese tourism industry at a glance
- Tourism in Vietnam continues to be a promising source of income for the country. Vietnam’s tourism sector has undergone a raft of changes in recent years due to technological developments, and traditional travel have had to change the way of operation to keep pace with the rapidly-growing online travel market.
- Vietnam has for the first time surpassed other Asian countries to win the “Asia’s Leading Destination 2018” title of the prestigious World Travel Awards 2018 (World Travel Awards is seen as the “Oscars of the travel industry”).
- According to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, total international arrivals in 2018 reached 15,497,791 arrivals, increase 19.9% year-on-year. The highest number of visitors coming from China and the Republic of Korea.
- The number of domestic tourists last year also showed a 9.3% increase year-on-year, totaling 80,000,000 tourists in 2018.
- Vietnam’s visa policy is rather tight, until now, the country currently offers visa-free travel to nationals of 24 countries and territories.
Technology changes face of Vietnamese tourism
There is high demand of seeking travel information online
- 71% of international visitors to Vietnam sought information about the country on the internet and 64% booked and purchased their trip online, according to Vietnam Society of Travel Agents.
- In the United States, only 18% of smartphone users search for hotel information, while in Vietnam, 48% smartphone users do the same thing. 25% of smartphone users in the United States seek information about tours and travel experiences while in Vietnam it is up to 42%. This information is given by Ms. Tu Le, Google’s Asia-Pacific Travel and Retail Executive.
- According to Google Trends, searching of the keyword “du lịch” (Vietnamese word for “travel”) was tripled in the last five years. The most popular information is related to travel experiences, destinations, restaurants, hotels, etc.
Smart tourism is a trendy choice of Vietnamese tourists
- At “Smart Tourism – Opportunities and Challenges of Vietnam Tourism” conference launched on October 2017, Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan, the General Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said that: “Developing smart tourism is one of the key orientations in order to develop tourism industry into a spearhead economic sector of Vietnam”.
- The development of information technology and the widespread use of smartphones have changed the face of Vietnamese tourism with companies using Big Data, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop products and services. Everything can now be done online through websites and smartphone applications of service providers and tour operators. Sitting at home, people can use “smart tourism” which brings them quick, easy and convenient services and information they need about destinations in and outside the country at a click.
- Smart tourism is attracting many customers, especially young people, thanks to a diverse range of services and options and promotions. 60-70% of tour operators in the country have developed their business online.
- Hong Nhung, 35 yrs, living Hanoi, has just finished a trip to a foreign country with her family. Making plans for the whole family with “so many people and so many preferences” used to be a burdensome task. But now, this duty become much easier. “All I needed was a smart phone and then I could get all the information and services I needed,” she said.
Travel information sources vary in form
- Internet has afforded tourists the ability to research travel information with tools like Google Maps, Google Street View, along with easily taking images and online reviews. The digital maps are widely known through the use of a smartphone or tablet to search for shops, restaurants and tours once tourists reach their destination. A large percentage of tourists use search engines when it comes to making travel-related decisions. In Vietnam, numerous customers (83%) use search engines before making travel purchase decisions (Source: Research article “An Impact of Social Media and Online Travel Information Search in Vietnam”, Author: Vi Tuong Tran, Huong Hue Do, Ngoc Vu Nhu Phan, Tu Ngoc Nguyen and Nguyen Van Trang).
- Search engines are undoubtedly the number one tool for tourists. Search engine sites, such as Google, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Foody, are highly popular in Vietnam, especially among young travelers, who usually plan their own itineraries and prefer free-and-easy trips to tour packages. The reviews of pre-customers have a great impact on post-customer’s decision making.
- One of the biggest travel changes is that bloggers and social media influencers are becoming increasingly important. Platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are popular among the new generation of travelers. This proliferation in technology paves the way for more and more young travelers coming to accommodations whose operators know how to apply technology in their work and sharing their travel experiences with friends and followers.