|Tran Phu Cuong, General Director of the International Cooperation Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, at the event|
Vanya Tran, General Director of Vietnam Hotel Resort Pro (VHRPRO) and the chair of the meeting, told Vietnam News on the sidelines of the event that Vietnam had great potential but lacked the “know-how and professionalism to offer world-class products and services” in the hospitality field.
“I believe what is unbeatable about Vietnam’s tourism and hospitality is its landscapes, people and cuisine,” she said. “The country’s landscapes are breathtaking, the cuisine is authentic, and the Vietnamese are supportive and open to learning new things.”
“Application of advanced technologies, such as digital marketing, to hospitality management and training of human resources, is the key to development,” she said, adding that better linkages among hospitality players would also enhance the value chain.
Tran Phu Cuong, General Director of the International Cooperation Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, noted that Vietnam was competing with Thailand to become one of the best tourist destinations in the ASEAN region.
“Why Thailand? Thailand is among the ASEAN countries with the highest number of international tourists, which contributes greatly to its GDP,” he said.
Despite similarities in culture and natural landscapes, Thailand’s tourism industry is more competitive than Vietnam’s.
“Vietnam can learn a great deal from Thailand, but we should keep our own special unique features,” Cuong said.
Lian Miew Ching, design director of Singapore-based CHIL Interior Design in Asia, said that she had seen many beautifully designed hotels and resorts in Vietnam.
“Vietnam’s economy is growing at the fastest pace ever, especially the hospitality industry,” she said. “Travelling has become a necessity, not a luxury any more.”
Brenton Smith, Director of Bates Smart, an Australian firm providing architecture, interior design and urban design strategies, said that Vietnam had potential to develop project management, investment and architecture and interior design.
“Everything in Vietnam is authentic, including nature, people and cuisine,” he said. “I visited Hoi An, Da Nang and Hue, and was really impressed with the beautiful landscapes.”
Last year, Vietnam was ranked the third fastest-growing tourist destination by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
More than 150 new four- and five-star properties are expected to open in the country by 2020.
In addition, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which will eliminate more than 99% of customs duties on goods, is expected to open up Vietnamese service markets to EU firms, and spur tourism between the two sides.
Vietnam received a record-high of nearly 13 million foreign visitors last year, a 29.1% jump over the previous year, according to the General Statistics Office.
The country is expected to serve 17-20 million foreign visitors and 82 million domestic tourists by 2020.
The two-day conference is being organised by Bricsa Consulting, which holds high-end networking and knowledge-sharing conferences.
Discussion topics at the event included competition trends in the hospitality market, the needs of a diversifying market and foreign investment opportunities in Vietnam.
The conference will continue today with discussions about the future of Vietnam’s tourism sector, as well as talks about merger and acquisition deals in the real estate sector in Vietnam and Thailand.