Vietnam-Thailand tourism cooperation: Promising prospects
|Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Trung Khanh (6th from left) and Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand Anan Wongbenjarat (5th from left) at the 49th ASEAN National Tourism Agency Meeting, Ha Long, January 2019. (Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism)|
Since the establishment of the enhanced strategic partnership between Vietnam and Thailand in 2015, the bilateral cooperation has been actively and effectively implemented in many fields thanks to the involvement of both side's state and businesses. Tourism is one of the well-promoted industries, and the effective bilateral tourism cooperation has been still able developed stronger in the coming time.
Thailand – an important market
Vietnam and Thailand have signed a governmental Memorandum of Understanding on tourism cooperation since 1994, which became the basis for implementing bilateral tourism cooperation activities as well as continuing to sign programs between the two ministries and two Tourism Departments.
The bilateral leaders at ministerial and directors general level regularly discuss solutions and share experiences in tourism development. The Vietnam-Thailand Tourism Development Cooperation Group was established and has become an agency of information exchange and communication.
Citizens holding ordinary passports are exempted from visa for 30 days so there is great potential to increase the number of tourists of both sides.
Air connectivity is increasingly enhanced with many direct flights, connecting major cities and tourist attractions of Vietnam (Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Can Tho) and Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai). The flights have been operated regularly with increasing frequency.
Tourism by road also has been focused. Especially, right-hand cars are allowed to operate under control in Vietnam and vice versa.
Both the Vietnam Tourism Marketing Strategy and the Vietnam Tourism Development Strategy to 2030 identify the traditional markets of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, as important ones to exploit, especially targeting the segment of customers who demand long-term relaxation, cultural and natural experiences.
The two countries have actively carried out joint activities to research market, developed tourism products and gained significant achievements in the last 5 years.
The two national authorities of tourism have coordinated with localities to welcome many business delegations and press from Vietnam, Thailand as well as from third countries such as the US, Canada and ASEAN countries to study tourism products, open up investment opportunities, business cooperation, promote and welcome visitors from the common sending markets.
The two countries regularly launch marketing programs in the foreign tourism potential cities, such as Bangkok, Udon Thani of Thailand; Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang of Vietnam.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has set up a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City to promote Thai tourism. Thai partners regularly attend Vietnam national and international tourism fairs and festivals such as the Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) in Hanoi, the International Travel Expo in Ho Chi Minh City (ITE-HCMC), Da Nang Summer Festival, Hue Festival, Carnaval Ha Long, ceremonies to honor Vietnam outstanding tourism activities and enterprises of National Tourism Year.
Vietnam, on its side, regularly participates in the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+), Thailand’s MICE Travel Mart.
In addition, tourism agencies and embassies have been working effectively, playing a role of bridge for state management agencies in tourism and tourism enterprises between the two countries.
|General Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Trung Khanh meets with Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Tanee Sangrat to exchange information on COVID-19 prevention and control and discuss solutions to restore tourism, Hanoi, February, 2020. (Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism)|
With much bilateral effort, in the period of 5 years (2015-2019), tourist exchange increased by 150%, from nearly 1 million arrivals in 2015 to 1.5 million in 2019. Meanwhile, Thai arrivals to Vietnam are nearly 500,000, up 46% and Vietnamese visitors to Thailand are more than 1,000,000, up 2% compared to 2018.
With this result, Vietnam and Thailand become leading tourist sending markets of each other. Tourists travel by air, sea, river and road, including self-driving tourism.
It can be affirmed that the potential of tourism cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand is very promising. The two countries are not only friends but also like brothers in ASEAN family.
Besides, Vietnam and Thailand also coordinate closely in multilateral forums such as the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC), East-West economic corridor, Southern Economic Corridor.
In the coming time, Vietnam will continue to exploit this potential market via direct and online promotional activities on popular media and social networks.
|Vietnam National Administration of Tourism participated in ASEAN Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) trade fair in Chiang Mai, Thailand, January 2018. (Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism)|
Besides, Vietnam often researches the market, including Thailand to develop tourism products with attractive and competitive advantages, suitable for the ones who come from different regions in Thailand in each period.
The two sides coordinate closely in the process of tourism recovery and international tourism reopening.
On the good basis of mutual consolidated foundation, with the joint effort of the government and people, the tourism agencies and businesses will continue to develop cooperation at all level in the future, contributing to further tightening the friendship and consolidating the enhanced strategic partnership between the two countries.