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To keep visitors coming back to Vietnam, look no further than Asia ...

To keep visitors coming back to Vietnam, look no further than Asia …

We’ve heard it all before. Tourists don’t return to Vietnam because of the trash, scams and dangerous roads.

But you could also associate these problems with next-door tourism royalty Thailand.

You don’t need a terrible experience not to revisit a country.

You may have enjoyed Vietnam, but a thousand-dollar return flight could be enough to deter you from coming back. Or don’t we all have a bucket list of places to visit? With too much to do and so little time, shouldn’t it be normal for most visitors never to return?

What is the average global rate of return visitors anyway?

According to Google, most countries seem to care more about the number of visitors they receive.

My top search results for “return visitor” or “repeat visitor” were articles and discussions on why Vietnam’s rate is so low. And of course, Thailand’s staggering 60-70 percent return rate.

There’s no fair way for us to gauge whether the low rate of less than 10 percent return visitors to Vietnam is actually that low.

So I resorted to digging deeper into the Vietnam versus Thailand comparison to see who actually visits the two countries.

Unsurprisingly, the top 10 is dominated by Asian countries, with a few exceptions being countries that have a special relationship with Vietnam or Thailand (hello, United States of America).

It makes statistical sense to say most return visitors to Thailand are from Asia.

Meanwhile, Vietnam seems to be obsessed with attracting Westerners, who are most likely to live on the other side of the globe. Remember the $2 million tourism promotion deal with CNN? Vietnam‘s tourism ambassador is the director of Kong: Skull Island.

  

If you want to increase total foreign arrivals, think global.

If you want to attract more return visitors, think regional.

Vietnam‘s rapid tourism growth clearly shows the country’s worth visiting. To keep tourists coming back, the question we should be asking is how to turn Vietnam into a weekend getaway for countries in Asia Pacific (or at least Southeast Asia) – just like Paris and Barcelona are in Europe.

FYI, there are no direct flights from Hanoi to Jakarta.

PS.

Isn’t the 21st century the Asian Century?

Mila Le works and lives in Hanoi. The views expressed here are her own.

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