When it comes to tourism appeal, Vietnam has it all – cultural diversity, natural beauty, a long history, a sense of adventure and activity, opportunities to shop, security and political stability.
That’s what hospitality consultant Horwath HTL’s Asia Pacific
managing director Robert Hecker told the Vietnam Tourism Property Opportunities
Conference and Exhibition in Ho chi minh city Thursday.
event aims to promote Vietnam as an attractive destination for tourism investors
by showcasing more than 300 potential projects from a dozen provinces.
Addressing day one of the conference at the New World Hotel saigon
Hecker said the local tourism sector had enormous potential.
from now, Vietnam is expected to welcome more than eight million foreign
visitors, double last year’s figure and higher than the forecasts for Thailand,
Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
“The interest is there,” Hecker said.
“But [the problem is] you can’t get as much of it because of
Some challenges hindering the development of Vietnam’s
tourism industry include the lack of supporting infrastructure such as airports
and roads, inadequate marketing and promotion and a shortage of skilled staff,
as well as rising costs.
Challenges as opportunities
the hotel sector, undersupply was both the biggest challenge and the greatest
opportunity for tourism investors, said Thibaud Paquin, Accor hotel chain’s
development general manager in Asia.
A shortage of hotels, especially
five-star rated properties, and high priced rooms is identified as a major
stumbling block for the local tourism industry.
Consulting firm Grant
Thornton Vietnam’s managing partner Kenneth Atkinson said one night at a
five-star hotel room in HCMC now cost more than US$200, a price few were willing
In neighboring countries a similar hotel room would cost half as
Real estate services provider CB Richard Ellis forecasts top-tier
luxury hotel room rates may reach up to $500 a night in Hanoi and HCMC during
Though providing high-spending tourists with luxury
hotels, villas and resorts should obviously be a major goal, foreign investors
at the conference called for more attention to budget facilities and services
catering to domestic customers.
“The biggest tourist in Vietnam, I say,
is a Vietnamese tourist,” CBRE Vietnam’s managing director Marc Townsend told
When it came to choosing a foreign market to target,
international investors said Vietnam should not neglect neighboring countries
where interest in Vietnam was increasing.
Another major setback, which
some at the conference believed would be short-lived was inflation, which is
around 16 percent.
The government’s drastic and constantly changing
measures to control price increases were also a concern.
deputy chief executive David Morton said the government’s tight credit policy
was temporarily causing some market distortions such as high interest rates,
liquidity shortage and difficulties in currency conversion, which could create
problems with investors’ financing.
Slow and steady
Despites these challenges, foreign investors at the conference were
optimistic about the prospect of investing in the local tourism sector.
Head of Horwath HTL in Asia’s capital services department, Roger
Griffin, said one of most appealing aspects of Vietnam as an tourism investment
destination was the “evident enthusiasm” of the government in trying to attract
David Lim from legal consultant Mayer Brown JSM
He said although foreign tourism investors still faced mountains
of red tape, especially when applying for land leases, local laws protected
their most important rights, including a guarantee their property won’t be
Head of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign
Investment Authority Phan Huu Thang assured the conference tourism was one of
Vietnam’s prioritized industries, with foreign investment into the sector
Thang said around 10 percent of foreign direct
investment went into the tourism sector, which was “too modest.”
Hoong Mun, Deputy CEO at CapitaLand Vietnam Holdings, said though Vietnam had
been slow to open up its market, it was slowly and steadily allowing greater
“Vietnam is a sleeping beauty,” Mun said.
question is just how to wake her up to turn her into an international beauty.”
Tag: Vietnam Tourism, Vietnam, Tourism, Tour, Vietnam Tour, Travel
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