In addition to the preparation of conditions to ensure the safe arrival of guests, enhancements in propaganda and promotional activities, especially in key markets, have been identified as a key task to attract tourists, creating momentum for the development of international tourism.
On November 17 and 18, over 100 of the first foreign guests followed commercial charter flights to Quang Nam province for traveling and visiting their relatives. On November 20, a delegation of more than 200 tourists from the Republic of Korea (RoK) arrived on Phu Quoc island under the “vaccine passport” programme. They all have full certification of safety with the epidemic as required. They can use tourism services provided in a closed form as well as visit and relax at the destinations in the prearranged schedule. These can be considered important initial steps contributing to the resumption of international tourism activities, towards opening up and recovering the green economy in a new normal. Representatives from Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air said that there will be more flights carrying international tourists to five selected locations for the pilot programme including Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang and Quang Ninh.
Thus, the reception of international tourists has been being implemented by Vietnam in accordance with the set roadmap. Following the first (from November 2021) and second (from January 2022) phases, these tourism activities will be opened fully based on the actual situation of the epidemic and the results of welcoming guests in the first two phases.
According to the experts, within the context that countries in the region have all determined to open their borders in order to attract foreign currency sources from tourism, enhance competitiveness and ensure the recovery of international tourism on the right schedule, the important task is to boost tourism promotion in potential international markets. This work needs to be done as soon as possible.
In order to enhance the tourism promotion effectively, the prerequisite is to identify the right target markets. Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Trung Khanh, said in the immediate future, the communications on the plans for reopening of tourism and promotion of Vietnam’s image will focus on the countries and territories with high safety on COVID-19 prevention and control. The key markets for Vietnam are Northeast Asian countries for the foreseeable future. However, China is restricting people to go abroad and foreign tourists to enter the country; therefore, it is not possible to set expectations on the Chinese market at this time. However, Japan and Taiwan (China) are still areas with great potential and Southeast Asia, along with Europe, North America and New Zealand, are also key markets which Vietnam is targeting.
During the time when international tourism was “frozen”, the VNAT coordinated with relevant agencies to conduct many communication activities via digital environment such as a series of products “Stay at home with Vietnam”, the column “Why not Vietnam” and the video clip “Vietnam: Travel To Love!”. These activities aim to keep connected and inspire international friends to travel to Vietnam. Boosting the communication for markets that were selected for the pilot roadmap of welcoming foreign visitors during the first phase and celebrating the National Cultural Conference, the tourism sector has introduced a clip themed “Vietnam: Travel To Love”, which featured eye-catching images of Ha Long Bay’s vibrant entertainment activities, long beaches in Phu Quoc and Nha Trang, and the ancient beauty of the World Cultural Heritage of Hoi An ancient town. During this time, the tourism sector is also actively working with representatives of Vietnamese diplomatic missions abroad, especially in the countries whose vaccination certificates or vaccine passports are recognised by Vietnam, to provide visitors with specific information about Vietnam's opening of international tourism, entry and quarantine regulations towards ensuring safety in the travel itinerary.
Notably, the promotion and advertising campaign named "Live fully in Vietnam" has been officially launched by the VNAT, in association with the national tourism brand identity: Vietnam Timeless Charm. The campaign is being implemented strongly on the page Vietnam.travel (which introduces Vietnamese tourism) and via social networks such as Facebook, Tiktok and Pinterest. It sent a significant message of inviting international tourists to Vietnam, a safe and attractive destination, with the most interesting experiences. The information about Vietnamese tourism has been modelled in the form of infographics, which combined concise information with vivid and eye-catching illustrations so that the message has been conveyed in the easiest and most convenient manner. The sector’s authorities have planned to work with major international media agencies such as CNN and CNBC to create strong communication programmes in the near future. On advertising channels, the campaign “Live fully in Vietnam” has received many positive interactions from international visitors, affirming that Vietnam is ready to welcome foreign visitors to explore and gain memorable experiences.
According to the experts, in addition to enhancing the tourism promotion via digital media, it is crucial to pay great attention to another extremely effective direct communication channel: international tourists who are participating in the pilot programme of traveling to Vietnam during this time. If they are satisfied with the well-prepared, methodical and professional services in Vietnam, they themselves will become tourism ambassadors and living proof that will help spread and promote the image of a beautiful, hospitable and safe country.