Vietnam sees big opportunities for cruise tourism development

Published: 22/04/2011 05:00



Foreign cruises have appeared again in Vietnam since the beginning of the year, after a two year period of interruption due to the global financial crisis. However, there are still many things that need to be done to develop cruise tourism.

Where to find clients?

Vietnam now has more than 800 international travel firms, but the number of firms which can receive foreign cruises remains modest. Especially, very few travel firms can access clients directly, introduce and sell products to international carriers and serve travelers as well.

Experts say it is nearly impossible for domestic travel firms to access international carriers due to the language barrier and the geographical distances. Therefore, Vietnam has only been considered as a stopover on tourists long journeys, not the main destination.

Le Quang Thang, Head of the Cruise Division under Saigontourist, said that it is very difficult for Vietnamese officers to contact and negotiate directly with international carriers. Even if Vietnamese officers have good English skills, they would not be able to understand the foreign partners as well as indigenous people. Besides, it is very difficult to keep the close relations with partners due to the long distance between Vietnam and cruise centers in the US and Europe.

Meanwhile, according to Thang, Vietnamese firms are not financially capable enough to set up representative offices in the markets they want to exploit, and they still cannot hire foreigners to undertake these jobs. “This is a shortcoming of Vietnamese firms,” Thang admitted.

Experts have also pointed out that in doing marketing, the tendency now is to directly introduce products to partners, or join auctions right at the headquarters of companies. To date, Vietnamese firms have been only relying on trade fairs, where they hope to meet potential partners. However, it is very difficult to find potential partners at the trade fairs, because all international carriers have their partners already.

Every year, Saigontourist attends two trade fairs in the US and Europe, the two biggest cruise centers in the world, where international carriers set up their offices. The trade fairs are considered the places which can provide clients.

“We have to attend trade fairs to warm up relations, update information and set up business strategies for at least the next five years. However, it would be much better to meet partners directly,” saidThang.

Phan Xuan Anh, Chair of Viet Excursions, said the firm regularly cooperates with some other maritime companies to carry out marketing campaigns.

Anh said that it always requires patience to ask the partners to arrange schedules for meetings. “We contacted some partners in February, but we will be able to meet them in early June, because they are too busy,” he said.


Though Vietnam is considered as having advantages to develop cruise tourism with more than 3000 kilometers of the coast line and thousands of islands, it still finds it hard to lure more travelers.

2002 was considered the most prosperous year for cruise tourism. However, Vietnam could only receive over 300,000 travelers in that year. Meanwhile, the number of travelers has been decreasing continuously since then. Therefore, receiving one million cruise travelers by 2015 proves be a far-away goal.

To date, the Vietnam National Tourism Administration (VNAT) still has not had any specific programs to promote cruise tourism. While regional countries like China regularly have booths introducing China as a good destination for cruise travelers at professional trade fairs. Vietnam has never attended such events.

The biggest problem that cruises complain about is the lack of attractive tourism products. Travelers to Ha Long Bay, for example, can only go on kayaks, and then travel to Yen Tu pagoda. Meanwhile, the travelers to HCM City and Tien Giang province complain that it takes them too much time to travel due to the traffic jams.

Source: TBKTSG

Provide by Vietnam Travel

Vietnam sees big opportunities for cruise tourism development - Features - In depth |  vietnam travel company

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