Hanoi (VNA) – Unsettled cases of Vietnamese tourists fleeing their group have shown that management agencies have failed in paying attention to and applying effective measures to control outbound tourism activities.

“The Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) wants to pioneer in calling on people to treat each other more friendly, thus making the image of Vietnamese people nicer in the eye of foreign friends. Only by this, tourism may become the spearhead sector of the country.”

The statement was made by VITA Vice President Vu TheBinh at a forum on “Vietnam Outbound Tourism: Opportunities and Challenges”, which was held within the Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) 2019.

New face for outbound tourism

According to Doan Ngoc Xuan, head of the Socio-Culture Department under the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, along with the increasing number of foreign arrivals to Vietnam, the number of Vietnamese tourists travelling abroad has also seen two-digit growth. The number of Vietnamese visiting other countries rose to 10 million in 2018 from only 6.6 million in 2016.

“Thanks to their payment capacity, many Vietnamese tourists are interested in not only the Southeast Asian destinations but more are keen on other countries in East Asia, Europe, America and Middle East. This shows the improved living conditions of people, benefiting travel firms,” said Xuan.

Regarding potential of outbound tourism in Vietnam, Nghiem Ai Phuong from Hanoi Office of the Saigontourist said that convenient international flight and simple visa issuance procedure have prompted travel firms to open more outbound tourism products.

At the same time, rising demands for travelling abroad of Vietnamese people have also made outbound section more eventful, Phuong added.

Loopholes should be fixed in outbound tourism management hinh anh 1Vietnamese tourists in Hitachi Park in Ibaraki, Japan (Photo: VietnamPlus).

Evidently, outbound tourism drew many domestic customers at the VITM Hanoi 2019 where many firms such as Vietravel, Saigontourist, TransViet and Hanoitourist offered outbound tour packages at shocking prices. Pavilions of businesses from Japan, the Republic of Korea and the DRPK, or Russia and European countries, attracted a great number of customers.

However, in reality, State management over outbound tourism activities has remained ineffective, hindering the segment to grow in line with its potential.Therefore, leaders of the tourism sector and experts held that the reviewing of outbound tourism is an urgent matter of the sector.

According to Binh, tourism activities have three forms of inbound, outbound and domestic tourism.

Many problems have been seen in outbound segment, including the case of 700 tourists were left in Bangkok in 2013, 52 tourists escaping in Jeju island of the Republic of Korea in 2016, and 152 other disappearing in Taiwan right after landing in the airport in 2018.

However, no thorough solutions were given, showing a lack of attention to and effective management measures over the activities.

“From 2015-2018, the number of Vietnamese people travelling abroad rose 10-12 percent averagely. It is necessary to design more effective policies and support in order to make outbound tourism more healthy, helping Vietnamese tourists’ image more respectable,” said Binh.

Loopholes should be fixed in outbound tourism management hinh anh 2The entrance of Zion National Park in the US (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Obstacles hindering outbound tourism’s growth

According to Nghiem Ai Phuong, outbound tourism has face risks as many tourists abuse tourism to stay in other country illegally, or violate the host country’s law, leading to difficulties in visa granting for Vietnamese travelers.

Alongside, travel firms also counter risks from delayed/cancelled flight or fluctuation in currency exchange rate, added Phuong.

She pointed out that many tours only focus on maximising tourists’ spending but not on meeting their demands to explore the destination, while unhealthy competition such as uncontrolled price reduction that goes along with service cutting has reduced customers’ trust.

Vice Director of TransViet Nguyen TienDat held that the “disappearing” of tourists abroad also affects the nation’s image. But few cases were thoroughly handled and strict punishments have yet to be given to violators, he noted.

Loopholes should be fixed in outbound tourism management hinh anh 3A Vietnamese tourist poses for a photo in China’s Lijiang (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Meanwhile, Phung Quang Thang, Director of Hanoitourist, said that due to loose management, traveler cannot realise what travel firms are allowed to run outbound tours and what are not.

Travel companies themselves don’t know how to ensure the rights of tourists and support them in sensitive destinations due to a lack of specific regulations, he stressed.

What solutions to expect?

At the forum, representatives from many travel companies held that in order to manage outbound tourism efficiently, along with ensuring rights and policies for tourists, it is necessary to have measures to strictly handle the abusing of tourism activities to send labourers abroad illegally.

They called on tourists to show better behaviours when travelling abroad.

Xuan held that it is crucial to complete strategies, policies and mechanisms related to outbound tourism in order to boost the growth of tourism in general and outbound tourism activities in particular.

Loopholes should be fixed in outbound tourism management hinh anh 4A Vietnamese traveler in Colorado, the US (Photo: VietnamPlus)

At the same time, Ngo Hoai Chung, Vice Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said that management agencies have focused on only inbound tourism but not given adequate attention to outbound segment.

He noted that the activities have yet to be included in the annual reports of the administration, while no awards have been designed to honour the activities.

“It is crucial to reorganise the sector to have specialised units responsible for managing inbound, outbound and domestic tourism. Alongside, it is necessary to review the issuance of licences as well as regulations in the field, while improving the capacity of agencies in charge of outbound tourism, ensuring the rights of tourists, and calling on the community to show better gesture while travelling abroad,” said Binh./.