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New investments planned as arrivals soar in Vietnam
Michael Tatarski, Ho Chi Minh City, November 1, 2016

Travel industry players in Vietnam are increasing their investments in the country in hopes to better capture rising demand for the destination.


International arrivals to Vietnam have increased 25 per cent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2016, reaching nearly 7.3 million visitors, with relaxed visa policies set to boost arrivals even further.


Ha Long Bay, Vietnam


Tran Gia Bach, general manager of Buffalo Tours, highlighted major projects taking place across the country that will help absorb future visitor increases. These include “significant infrastructure investments such as the improvement works at Noi Bai and Da Nang international airports”, he said.


“In addition, the government is undertaking a feasibility study for a new airport in Phan Thiet and preliminary work at Long Thanh near Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC),” added Bach. Tan Son Nhat, HCMC’s current airport, is also being expanded, with a new terminal set to open next year.


Bach also pointed to the new highway between Hanoi and Ha Long, which will open in 2017 and cut travel time between the two cities to three hours.


Leanne Harwood, vice president operations, South East Asia and Korea at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), agrees that Vietnamese authorities are keeping pace with tourism arrivals. “Recently, we’ve seen a strong push by the government to boost tourism to drive economic growth,” she said.


IHG plans to take advantage of this push by increasing its investment in the country. “Our presence in Vietnam spans six hotels across the country and we plan to double our presence over the next few years,” revealed Harwood. The upcoming Crowne Plaza Phu Quoc, for example, will add 300 rooms to the popular island destination next year.


Meanwhile, Buffalo Tours is also pursuing strategies to reap the benefits of Vietnam’s ongoing tourism growth. “(We) will expand our trade sales network to grow end-markets such as Scandinavia, China, Japan and South Korea to capture a greater share of arrivals to Vietnam,” said Bach.


They will also expand their network of tour desks, with 17 currently located in Hanoi and HCMC, to take advantage of demand for high-quality domestic and outbound travel services, a segment which Bach feels has been underserved.

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