Domestic Travel Set to Kick-start Vietnam’s Tourism Recovery

Vietnam’s tourism industry has gotten an early start to recovery, with domestic demand set to spearhead growth, as the country becomes the first in South-east Asia to lift social distancing restrictions.

The lifting of social distancing restrictions was announced by the Vietnamese government on April 24, setting the stage for the return of domestic tourism. Restaurants in the country have started filling up again and some airlines are operating domestically. From April 23, VietJet started six daily flights connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Jeff Redl, managing director of Diethelm Travel Vietnam, said: “It’s a very positive signal. The demand seems to be quite strong as per information received from several hotels.”

Linh Le, principal and co-founder of Luxperia, said with restrictions lifted, many city dwellers had planned trips to the coast for the four-day holiday from April 30 to May 4. However, he noted that the cost of flights is significantly higher, making flying more of a luxury than previously.

Added Le: “Hotels are offering some good deals with added value, however, while domestic tourism will increase, its pre-pandemic high-performance shall be shortened this year. Savvy operators are to tap into local micro and niche markets to attain some recovery of business within domestic tourism.”

Michael Piro, CEO of Wink Hotels, said he is slowly starting to see a “modest” pickup in bookings. He added: “We believe the market will continue to show signs of improvement towards the end of the year.”

Piro predicts the recovery will initially be led by business travel, transitioning to leisure-driven travel through the summer months. To further stimulate domestic demand, he said discounts and promotions will be used to encourage locals to travel.