A bunch of prestigious awards
A “bumper season” of awards for Vietnamese tourism was signaled when the nominations for the World Travel Awards (WTA), an annual prestigious awards programme for all components that constitute the travel industry, were officially announced in late September. Vietnam had dozens of nominations in the categories of transportation, accommodation, food and destinations.
Most outstandingly, Vietnam was listed among nominees in six world’s leading categories, including World’s Leading Cultural Destination, World’s Leading Destination, World’s Leading Tourist Board (for Vietnam National Administration of Tourism), World’s Leading City Destination (Hanoi), World’s Leading Culinary Destination, and World’s Leading Cultural City Destination (Hoi An).
In addition, Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay and Da Nang were nominated for the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction and World’s Leading Festival & Events Destination categories, respectively. Vietnam Airlines had seven nominations related to services and inflight entertainment, while Vietravel was nominated for the World’s Leading Tour Operator and World’s Leading Travel Agency awards.
Hotels and resorts occupied the largest share of Vietnam’s nominations in terms of accommodation, with 23 nominations from popular names, such as JW Mariot, Villa @ Six Senses Con Dao, Intercontinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort, Intercontinental, Anantara Quy Nhon and The Grand Ho Tram Strip.
At the 2019 WTA Asia & Oceania Gala held in Phu Quoc in mid-October, Vietnamese tourism was honoured with four awards, namely Asia’s Leading Destination, Asia’s Leading Culinary Destination, Asia’s Leading Cultural Destination and Asia’s Leading Cultural City Destination (Hoi An). It was also the first time Vietnam took the honour as a top cuisine destination in Asia.
Furthermore, at the 26th WTA held in Muscat, Oman last November, Vietnam was honoured as the World’s Leading Heritage Destination for the second time. In addition, the country was recognised as the World’s Best Golf Destination for the first time and Asia’s Best Golf Destination for the third year in a row at the World Golf Awards 2019.
Not to mention, Vietnam won another 15 ASEAN tourism awards as part of of the 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum - ATF 2019 hosted in Ha Long city, northern Quang Ninh province, last January.
The grand awards in the international arena not only brought honour to Vietnam’s travel industry, but also marked the world’s recognition for the strong growth of Vietnamese tourism.
Tourist arrivals constantly break records
2019 recorded a constant increase in the number of international tourists to Vietnam, starting with more than 1.5 million in January and growing to a record milestone of 1.62 million arrivals in October. In particular, the figure was quickly replaced by another milestone in November, with over 1.8 million arrivals, reporting a new record.
The Trang An scenic landscape complex in the northern province of Ninh Binh is among Vietnam's most popular tourist attractions.
The growth in the last months of the year contributed to raising the total number of international visitors to Vietnam in 2019. According to the General Statistics Office, throughout 12 months, Vietnam served an estimated 18 million arrivals of foreign tourists, successfully completing the goal of welcoming 17.5-18 million international arrivals previously set for the year.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism increase said the growth rates of 13% and 11% recorded in October and November were significantly higher than the world average. Statistics from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) showed that in the first six months of 2019, the number of international visitors worldwide grew by 4%, of which Asia-Pacific posted a 6% increase and Southeast Asia posted a 5% surge.
A high growth rate and prestigious international awards are strong motivators for the tourism sector to continue developing. However, there remain many internal issues for Vietnamese tourism to deal with to develop more sustainably and improve the quality of services, especially to raise the rate of returning visitors. Some recently mentioned issues, such as visa application procedures, crowded areas at several tourist sites and overcharging of tourists, need to be promptly addressed to avoid becoming obstacles on the development path of Vietnamese tourism.