Vietnam targets 1m annual visitor numbers from UK

The Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board is targeting one million annual visitors from the UK – up from 300,000 in 2019.

Trần Trọng Kiên (pictured), chairman and chief executive of the tourist board and the Thien Minh Group (TMG), said he hopes the destination can reach the target in the next five years as it bounces back from the effects of the pandemic.

He was in London for a tourism event on Thursday (April 7) to mark the reopening of Vietnam’s borders, which was attended by UK trade representatives and executives from Vietnam Airlines, TMG Hospitality, SLC Representation and destination management company Vivu Journeys.

SLC Representation has just opened a UK office to support the British trade and promote the coastal province of Quang Nam.

TMG and Vietnam Airlines are planning to host about 100 people from the UK on fam trips to the country, and a new Visit Vietnam office will open in the UK on May 1.

The PC Agency will be launching the Visit Vietnam office and will be the official trade and PR representative for the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board in the UK.

Kien hopes the fam trips will start in May and include a river cruise on the Victoria Mekong ship.

Agents will also be able to have discounts on travel to Vietnam so they can visit with their families.

More: Vietnam province opens UK office to support trade

Vietnam tourism leaders fly in to mark border reopening

Vietnam set to fully reopen to overseas tourists next month

He said tourism had been growing at a rate of 15%-20% a year before Covid so it has the potential to reach one million from the UK in five years’ time.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand,” he said, pointing out that other Asian destinations such as China and Japan are not likely to open up to tourists soon.

He highlighted the destination’s value-for-money as well as its safety credentials and Covid protocols, adding the UK travel industry plays a “key role” in promoting Vietnam’s tourism attractions, cultural heritage, nature reserves and beaches.

When the announcement was made about borders reopening from March 15, the tourist board saw a 75% increase in travel searches to destination, via Google’s Destination Insights.

Kien said there have been some late bookings for Easter and summer but expects numbers from the UK to really return from October onwards.

He hailed the launch in March of twice-weekly Heathrow-Hanoi services by Bamboo Airways and hopes Vietnam Airlines will soon increase its frequency from the UK to three times a week.

New hotels have been opening in the country, such as Tui Blue Nam Hoi An, he added.

“We want our partners to know Vietnam is back and open for business,” concluded Kien.

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