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Vietnam’s Smart Tourism Initiatives

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The rapid advancement of digital transformation has given rise to a diverse array of smart tourism options, aimed at offering new experiences to travellers and aiding in the revival of the tourism sector, which endured significant setbacks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT) has collaborated with domestic and international partners to implement cutting-edge technologies to promote tourism activities, according to VNAT Chairman Nguyen Trung Khanh.

The Vietnam National Authority of Tourism’s video campaign titled “Vietnam: Travel to Love.”
Image credit: Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism

In partnership with a technology industry leader, the tourism authority initiated the “Wonders of Vietnam” online exhibition project two years ago. This project enables people to explore art, history, and the wonders of the world via an online platform. With 35 stories and more than 1,300 photographs of iconic landmarks, historical heritage sites, natural beauty, Vietnamese cuisine, and the culture of Central Vietnam, the project allows travellers to embark on a unique virtual journey.

With the initial backing from the industry player, the authority’s campaign is ongoing, featuring a series of videos under the theme “Vietnam: Travel to Love”. Additionally, various initiatives are being undertaken to promote Vietnamese tourism across websites and social media networks.

Recognising the pivotal role of digital transformation in advancing tourism, many cities and provinces have revamped their marketing strategies and introduced innovative products to cater to the evolving demands of tourists.

The People’s Committee of Sa Pa town in Lao Cai province inaugurated a centre for monitoring and managing smart urban areas. The centre has a pilot project that uses 3D technology to offer virtual tourism information and services about local tourist destinations.

At the end of 2020, the Northwestern region of Vietnam introduced a virtual tour supported by 360 Virtual Reality (VR 360) technology. Visitors were able to completely immerse themselves in a virtual representation of the Moc Chau tourism site. Starting from the beginning of the year, the number of searches related to Vietnamese tourism experienced a significant increase, moving up from the 11th fastest-growing rate globally to the 7th position. Vietnam stood out as the sole Southeast Asian nation to secure a spot in the top 10.

The Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Nguyen Van Hung, attributed this surge to the tourism sector’s endeavours in promoting digital transformation, characterising it as an effective tool that brings Vietnamese destinations closer to international travellers and fosters a greater engagement with them.

In March this year, several tourist sites in Hanoi applied new technologies in product development and operation management. At the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, the management is using QR codes for visitors to find information about relic sites. Further, the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum launched the iMuseum VFA, a multimedia guide app. It is one of the museum’s first efforts to introduce artworks to visitors and promote museum artefacts in the digital environment.

In an optimistic scenario, by the end of 2024, international tourism in Vietnam has the potential to rebound and reach 80% of the pre-pandemic level. In the first eight months of this year, the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang attracted 6.83 million visitors. This represented 82.3% of the total number of visitors the province had anticipated for the entire year. Meanwhile, Quang Ninh, a northern province in Vietnam, received 12.06 million tourist arrivals in the first eight months of 2023. This figure represents an increase of 1.47 times compared to the same period in the previous year.

Although the sector has witnessed growth, several challenges hinder the digital transformation process. This includes a shortage of qualified human resources, a lack of modern technologies, and incomplete digital infrastructure. Furthermore, many small-scale tourism businesses struggle to bear the costs associated with advanced technologies. Consequently, their access to smart tourism remains limited and modest.

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