The newly-released report said that while tourism has boomed in the country, the number of foreign visitors who returned stood at just 40 percent in 2017. This is lower than key regional competitors like Thailand and Indonesia, which had some 60-70 percent and 55 percent repeat visitors in 2016, respectively.
It said road safety and cheating by tourism services are leaving bad impressions on international visitors, negatively affecting the quality of the visitor experience in many of Vietnam’s popular tourist destinations.
This has contributed to low rates of repeat visits, said the report, titled “Special Focus: Vietnam‘s Tourism Developments – Stepping Back from the Tipping Point – Vietnam‘s Tourism Trends, Challenges and Policy Priorities”.
“The overall problem with Vietnam is ‘return visitors’,” Carl Robinson, an American and a former war correspondent who used to lead tours in Vietnam, told VnExpress International. “People come once, tick it off their list and then don’t come back again.
Foreign tourists buy souvenirs at the Ben Thanh Market in downtown Saigon.
Photo by Shutterstocks/diemtinh.
“Left unaddressed, these issues, in combination with increased crowding in destinations, risk deterring first-time visitors from returning, as well as fueling negative word-of-mouth referrals,” the report noted.
1 per 100,000 last year.
Meanwhile, travel scams remain a problem in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City despite occasional crackdowns by local authorities, tarnishing the country’s image and discouraging tourists from returning.
5 million foreign arrivals in 2018, a year-on-year rise of 20 percent, the numbers remained lower than that of neighboring countries in the region. Thailand (38 million), Malaysia (25 million) and Singapore (18.
A survey released last year at the Vietnam Travel and Tourism Summit showed that a foreign tourist spent $96 a day on average in Vietnam in 2017, three times lower than in Singapore ($325), and well below that of the Philippines ($115), Indonesia ($132), Malaysia ($134), and Thailand ($163).