The observations above are presented in the report on the tourism development situation for the first 10 months of 2023 by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism.
According to statistics, international arrivals to Ho Chi Minh City in the first 10 months exceeded 4.127 million, a 55.3% increase compared to the same period in 2022 and reaching 82.5% of the 2023 plan. Domestic tourist arrivals to the region reached 30.5 million, a 22.6% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
The total tourism revenue for the past 10 months is approximately VND 140.048 trillion, a 32.6% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
During this time, continuous tourism promotion programs for Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City were implemented in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane (Australia); Porto (Portugal); San Francisco (USA); Phnom Penh (Cambodia); and Bangkok (Thailand).
International tourists in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: Chi Hung)
Despite many achievements, the Department of Tourism acknowledges that the tourism activities still face difficulties due to the prolonged impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many travel agencies and hotels have not fully recovered, and the international tourism market has not returned to the level of 2019.
According to the Department, although the visa bottleneck has been alleviated with the implementation of e-visas in all markets, the reality is that visa application processes are still slow and not truly streamlined, causing a considerable amount of time to complete the procedures.
In comparison with other countries in the region, the number of countries granted visa exemptions by Vietnam (55) is still relatively low. The Department points out that Indonesia exempts visas for citizens of about 169 countries and territories, the Philippines for about 166, Malaysia for about 156, Singapore for 150, Thailand for about 60, and Brunei for about 54 countries and territories.
These factors lead to a decrease in the number of visitors from key markets, new markets, and potential markets due to high costs and time-consuming procedures. Consequently, tourists are gradually shifting to other direct competitors in the tourism sector, such as Thailand and Singapore.
To support and facilitate large international tourist groups coming to Vietnam, the Department of Tourism suggests that the Immigration Management Department (Ministry of Public Security) shorten the processing time for visa applications for travel agency groups directly, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism.