Cinema and tourism: Companion for development

The experience of many countries around the world shows, that movies and music are the way to promote the image of a country and its people, quickly and effectively. Possessing huge assets of film locations, Vietnamese cinema has not really "become rich" from this opportunity, which is a concern of the management agencies and film producers.
A scene from the movie Nha Ba Nu (House of No Man). (Photo: Film crew)
A scene from the movie Nha Ba Nu (House of No Man). (Photo: Film crew)

In the current context, more mechanisms and policies are needed to attract domestic and international film crews (creating modern facilities, preferential policies to support locations, residency, simplification of licensing procedures, and incentives for film crews to borrow loans at low-interest rates). This orientation has been expressed in the Law on Cinematography 2022.

In the middle of June, it is expected that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will coordinate with Khanh Hoa province to organise a forum to link Vietnam's tourism and cinema brands. The forum will focus on creating favourable policies for domestic and foreign film crews and international experiences in promoting the cinema-tourism connection.

The total box office revenue of approximately 1.1 trillion VND of Vietnamese cinema in the first half of 2023 is an optimistic signal for the cultural industry, with the leading advantage among the 12 cultural industries of the country. Four out of 10 films that have been released in theatres in less than six months have reached the revenue milestone of one hundred billion dong per film.

Which, "Nha Ba Nu" (House of No Man) achieved revenue of 475 billion VND; "Lat Mat 6: Tam ve Dinh Menh" (Face Off: The Ticket of Destiny) surpassed the revenue milestone of more than 260 billion VND; "Sisters and sisters 2" had revenue of more than 120 billion VND.

Compared to 2019 (before the COVID-19 epidemic and the year considered the peak of Vietnamese film revenue, with a total revenue of 1.2 trillion VND), in the context of more than 3 years of stagnation due to the pandemic, this is indeed a giant leap.

The revenue of hundreds of billions of VND per film is always a "level" that is not easy to overcome for Vietnamese movies.

In 2022, in the Vietnamese film market only "Em and Trinh" reached the revenue milestone of hundreds of billions of VND. For the statistics in the past two decades, there are 19 films with revenue of 100 billion VND per film or more, from 2010 to 2019 there were 9 films (in 2019 there were 5 films). However, only from 2020 until now, there have been 10 films with revenues of more than one hundred billion VND. That shows a bright signal for the Vietnamese film industry.

After Vietnamese films with revenue of more than 200 billion VND, many experts say that the next goal of Vietnamese cinema is a trillion VND revenue.

However, with this revenue level, the factors of the number of theatres, film quality, and the public's movie-going habits must be improved synchronously.

In the immediate period, the Vietnamese film industry and movie producers must make great efforts to compete with the very developed online platforms, to make the public willing to spend money in theatres.

In the "picture" of many bright spots of the movie market in the first half of 2023, the quality of films in theatres is still a controversial issue. The Vietnamese film market is in dire need of sustainable development. The number of audiences coming to theatres depends on the quantity and quality of films, especially Vietnamese films. The more the public goes to the theatre, the more producers will have funds to continue investing in film production and new cinema clusters have conditions to expand to more provinces and cities.

In the end, the role of people - the creators of cinematic products - is the most important factor. Therefore, it is necessary to develop synchronously, improve the quality of the filmmaking team and seek and increase the number of audiences coming to the cinema, especially the new audiences of young people.

Currently, although the Vietnamese film market has hundreds of companies registered to produce films, the number of units whose films are regularly released in theatres, maintaining prestige and quality, are only very few.

Leaders of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that, along with the abundant potential of beautiful landscapes, Vietnam needs to have mechanisms and policies to attract domestic and international film crews. Cinema is an art with a strong international reach, suitable for tourism promotion, bringing real-life scenes into the lens of cinema. The successful films and the coverage of the setting in the film are even wider.

Many settings in the film have created attractive tourist destinations. In order not to waste potential, it is necessary to strengthen promotional solutions to attract international film crews. At the same time, it is necessary to create favourable conditions for talented filmmakers and directors in the country to produce more films that attract viewers.