Indian tourist market is new and potential. However, to exploit effectively and long-term needs more time.
Many localities have implemented tourism promotion programs in the Indian market such as Da Nang and Khanh Hoa. Some routes are also deployed such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang to 3 capital cities of western, central and southern India, including Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bangalore (Bengaluru).
India is a market with great tourism potential with a population of more than 1.3 billion people. According to the latest United Nations report published on July 11, India will “overtake China” to become the world’s most populous country by 2023, with a population of more than 1.4 billion.
According to a representative of the Indian Ministry of Tourism, the Covid-19 epidemic has changed the travel habits of Indians.
“Statistics show that after the epidemic, Indians have changed their habits when the need to go to other countries to relax is great. This is the highlight for us to cooperate with domestic travel agencies as well as Vietnam’s tourism industry to promote tour programs and routes to exploit in the context of India’s tourism is recovering strongly,” said the representative.
On August 18, 32 Indian tour operators came to Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa to survey the tourism market. Photo: Xuan Hoat.
Sharing the same opinion, travel agencies in India also affirmed that the tourism industry in India, Vietnam in general and the world, in particular, has been recovering strongly after the epidemic. This is an indispensable condition to connect the billion-people market with a country rich in cultural traditions like Vietnam.
Mr. Rajeev Kale, representative of travel agency Thomas Cook (India) affirmed that Vietnam is receiving great attention in India. This is not only limited to corporate customers, but also families, young people and couples.
“In the context of the Covid-19 epidemic raging for the past 3 years, Indian tourists are willing to switch to short, convenient and affordable destinations rather than choosing long-term tours, traditional destinations like before”, said Mr. Rajeev Kale.
Daniel D’Souza, a representative of SOTC Travel, also said that the restoration of air connectivity has boosted tourism demand in India. However, he believes that the current barrier of European tourist visas is causing Indians to switch directions.
“Indians have changed their travel habits markedly. Statistics show that the demand to travel to destinations that are close and easy to obtain a visa from Indian tourists has increased by 30-35% per month. That is a signal for travel businesses in India to change their promotion policies, look for markets with near-term, short-term trends and reasonable prices,” said Mr. Daniel D’Souza.
Meanwhile, despite assessing India as a potential market and a bright spot in the context that international tourists have not really recovered, especially the traditional markets are shrinking, Vietnamese tourism businesses believe that it still needs time before effective exploitation.
Potential but not easy
Mr. Phan Dinh Thao, General Director of HTS International Co., Ltd., said that India is a potential market with a large population. Some big cities of India like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata… have good income and are suitable markets for us to exploit. However, the Indian market is not easy as many people mistakenly believe.
According to the General Director of HTS International Co., Ltd, some characteristics of this market, if not adapted, will easily make Vietnamese businesses “disappointed”.
“Indians often pay the price. Even though they have been friends for a long time, they still go around ‘prices’ in many places and compare carefully before making a decision,” said Mr. Thao, noting that their “loyalty” is not high.
The representative of an Indian travel company inquired about the tour price of the business in Nha Trang. Photo: A. Thao.
According to Mr. Thao, another remarkable point is that many Indian guests are often late. “I greet the long-time Indian tourist, so I know it quite well. Indian tourists are often very ‘free’ in terms of time and sometimes affect related services, so it is necessary to plan more time to ensure the safety of the trip,” Mr. Thao said and assessed that Indian customers are very “sensitive” to price.
In addition, the General Director of HTS International Co., Ltd. also noted that the culture of typical eating habits is also a key point for Vietnam’s tourism industry to pay attention to when welcoming guests of the billion-people market.
“Indian guests often request to have an Indian restaurant in the program. However, not every locality in Vietnam can meet this requirement. To form this culinary culture, restaurants and hotels in Vietnam need time,” Mr. Thao added.
Meanwhile, some businesses also believe that learning from the experience of welcoming Russian and Chinese tourists in 2016-2017, Vietnam’s tourism industry needs to immediately prepare a team of domestic tour guides.
“In 2016 and 2017, we witnessed the ‘crisis’ of Russian and Chinese-speaking guides. This leads to thousands of foreign guides operating underground, resulting in a distorted industry. Currently, the tour guide team has not much experience in serving Indian guests. They need to understand Indian culture, living habits as well as food. This cannot be fixed overnight.” said a director of a travel agency.
According to Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Linh, business manager of Erica Nha Trang hotel, to prepare to welcome guests to the Indian market, the unit must plan its personnel as well as the food menu.
“We have not had the experience of welcoming Indian guests, so we have to prepare many things, especially the culinary culture. In the near future, the hotel will have an Indian menu as well as redeploy the staff to adapt. Indian, Malaysian or Muslim guests have different culinary cultures, so they also need to change to adapt,” Ms. Linh said.
According to Ms. Nguyen Thi Le Thanh, Director of Khanh Hoa Tourism Department, not only Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa has stepped up promotion of the Indian tourist market, but many localities have also conducted it, including Da Nang.
“The advantage now is that we have direct flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang to 3 cities in India. We are also promoting the opening of a route from Cam Ranh to India to exploit this new market,” said Ms. Thanh.
However, the Director of Khanh Hoa Tourism Department also acknowledged that to exploit this billion-people market well, it takes time, more thorough preparation and wants the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to have policies, as well as timely instructions.
@ Zing News