2014 saw 11% of first-time visitors return on Vietnam tours, compared to around 50% to Thailand*
Yet in just 5 years this has changed considerably. My lovely Australian clients on their Vietnam private tour said it all today:
“We had a great day with Khanh today. He is an amazing kind and patient person. He loves talking to us and sharing his knowledge of your beautiful country. I can’t imagine a better guide. We also loved our driver. We gave him a good tip as we may not see him again. If possible could we have both the driver and guide for Hoi An on the 7th? I said this may be my last trip to Vietnam, but after enjoying such a great day today I will be back next year. Many thanks for your wonderful service. Marg Elliott”
I think many travellers saw Vietnam as a ‘travel destination’, not a holiday resort. Long-haul distances, indirect flights, visa costs, and infrastructure problems never helped.
Today, direct flights from Pacific Rim countries offer direct flying times of just 2-4 hours. Many see us as a holiday destination, returning to cities like Da Nang, with their Vietnam itinerary including many of its attractions and culture on its doorstep.
Our government and people have embraced the importance of international tourism. Benefits like e-visas, more direct long haul flights, and improved infrastructure have been introduced.
The last 18 months have seen a marked increase in returning travellers. And Clients have toured with me 2, 3 or even more times, so I feel 2019 is looking positive for of Vietnam travel
*A survey carried out by the EU-funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Program conducted in March-April and July-August 2014. The survey shows that approximately 90 percent of international respondents were first-time visitors and according to the survey, third-time and fourth-time visitors represented 2 percent and 3.2 percent of tourists, respectively. Based on projections for 2014, 11.2 percent of visitors chose to return to Vietnam