Hanoi (VNA) - Boasting a kaleidoscope of jaw-dropping beaches, forests, paddy fields, and unique cultural and historical values, Vietnam has made its way onto the bucket lists of Indian travellers. The country, however, must be well-prepared to meet the growing demand from the market, according to industry insiders.

Vietnam - Aiming to “curry favour” among Indian tourists

Vihaan and Anjeli, a couple from New Delhi, are immersing themselves in breathtaking views of blue skies, seas, and mountains at Lan Ha Bay, to the south of renowned Ha Long Bay, which was officially inscribed on the world heritage list by UNESCO for its outstanding universal aesthetic value in 1994 and was honoured for a second time six years later, in 2000, when it was recognised by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Site for its outstanding geological and geomorphological value.

“Lan Ha has a primitive beauty and mystique, and we are attracted by its tranquil islands and unique myths about their shapes,” Anjeli said. “We also love the local food and culture.”

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, the couple, who are enjoying a two-week holiday in Vietnam, said more than just stunning landscapes, what made Vietnam top their travel list is the availability of non-stop flights and easy visa procedures. 

“We chose Vietnam for a two-week holiday because flying here is easy and we can apply for an e-visa,” Anjeli said. “We went to Ho Chi Minh City, and then flew to Hanoi and are now having a great time.”

Industry insiders said Vietnam has received increasing attention from Indian holidaymakers, including families, young people, and couples. COVID-19 changed Indians’ travel habits. Rather than traditional destinations for a long holiday, Indian visitors now prefer places that are affordable and convenient.

Indian tourists eyeing Vietnam hinh anh 1Vietnam has made its way onto the bucket lists of Indian travellers. (Photo: VNA)

Prior to the pandemic, Vietnamese authorities issued 250 visas a day to Indian visitors, and this has now surged to 6,000, according to Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau.

Figures on Google’s market trend tracker tool show that the volume of searches by Indian visitors about tourism services in Vietnam has been increasing strongly over recent months.

This reflects the growing demand for holidays in Vietnam among Indian tourists, especially with many direct flights between the two countries having been resumed or recently introduced.

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Vietjet Air restored its regular routes linking Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with New Delhi in late April. The low-cost carrier also opened two new direct routes linking the two Vietnamese hubs with Mumbai - the largest city in India - in June.

Indian tourists eyeing Vietnam hinh anh 2Low-cost carrier Vietjet Air has launched a new flight service linking Da Nang and India's Mumbai and New Delhi. (Photo: VNA)

Most recently, it launched a new flight service linking Da Nang city in central Vietnam with Mumbai and New Delhi. There are three flights each week using Airbus A320 on the Mumbai – Da Nang route every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and four flights a week on the New Delhi-Da Nang route every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

By the end of this year, there will be total 21 direct routes, with more than 60 flights per week, connecting Vietnam and India, said Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Pham Van Thuy, expressing his belief that convenience in flight, immigration procedures, coupled with stunning destinations creates ideal opportunities for both sides to promote tourism. 

Experts suggested that Vietnam enhance its tourism promotion campaigns to better publicise its attractive destinations among Indian people.

Though India appears to be a lucrative market for Vietnamese tourism, service providers have said it is not an easy market to serve.

Experts said Vietnamese service providers should pay due regard to Indian culture and dining habits, as travellers always ask for Indian restaurants on their itinerary but not all localities in Vietnam can accommodate such a request.

Meanwhile, many travel firms said they believe that Vietnam should provide training courses to tour guides, as there are few who understand Indian culture, cuisine, and customs.

Wedding tourism

Vietnamese localities such as Da Nang and Phu Quoc Island, which boast picturesque landscapes, excellent cuisine, and superb services, have found their way in recent times onto the radars of Indian billionaires planning an extravagant wedding.

Indian tourists eyeing Vietnam hinh anh 3A corner of JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort and Spa (Source: VNA)

Two wedding ceremonies of two Indian billionaires will be held in the central coastal city of Da Nang next January, according to the city’s Department of Tourism.

Arrangements were made during a trip to India by the city to introduce itself as an ideal venue for the weddings of Indian couples.

The radio Voice of Vietnam cited Satish Ramnani, Director of Veydaa events, as saying Veydaa and its Vietnamese partner are planning a wedding ceremony involving some 450 guests at a resort in Da Nang for an Indian billionaire family in January.

Meanwhile, Global Air Services, India, announced a plan to organise a wedding party for another Indian billionaire in Da Nang during the month.

In late 2019, an Indian billionaire chose Da Nang to host his daughter’s wedding feast, with more than 600 guests in attendance.

Similar weddings were to be held in the city in 2019 and 2020, but plans were changed due to COVID-19.

After a two-year break, destination weddings are now making a comeback in the central coastal city.

The first Indian billionaire’s wedding in Vietnam was actually held on Phu Quoc island, off the coast of Kien Giang province in the Mekong delta, with groom Rushang Shah and his bride Kaabia Grewal tying the knot at a five-star resort during a week-long party.

Indian tourists eyeing Vietnam hinh anh 4Groom Rushang Shah and his bride Kaabia Grewal tie the knot at their luxurious wedding in Phu Quoc island. (Photo: VNA)

Ambassador Chau said weddings are an important event for Indians, who splash out a great deal of money on wedding parties, with half of their savings each year spent on such occasions.

While Bali in Indonesia and Phuket in Thailand have benefited a great deal from hosting the weddings of affluent Indian families, Vietnam should become a leading choice as well, he said.

According to the Travel Agents Association of India Vietnamese destinations can win the hearts of Indians due to their stunning landscapes, great services, and easy travel and visa procedures.

It said in a bid to gain a competitive edge over regional rivals, Vietnam should pay due regard to communications campaigns on wedding tourism and diversify its tourism offerings./.