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Vietnam emphasizes the growth potential of Cruise Tourism: Insights from VNAT’s Chairman Nguyen Trung Khanh

Nguyen Trung Khanh

For travel and hospitality professionals focusing on the cruise sector, Vietnam’s strategic emphasis on sea and island tourism, backed by infrastructure and policy support, offers numerous opportunities for collaboration and investment.

The Chairman of Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT), Mr. Nguyen Trung Khanh, recently endorsed the critical role of sea and island tourism in Vietnam’s burgeoning travel landscape. Speaking at an event organized by Royal Caribbean International in Vung Tau City, Mr. Khanh highlighted the nation’s strategic focus on cruise tourism as a key component of its overall tourism portfolio. This discussion offers an analytical lens on the points made by the Chairman, focusing on the implications for travel and hospitality professionals.

Vietnam’s Tourism Sector on the Rise

As of July 2023, Vietnam’s tourism sector has shown promising signs of recovery. The country welcomed over one million international visitors in that month alone, marking the first instance of such volume since the resumption of international tourism in March 2022. Overall, Vietnam received approximately 6.6 million international visitors within the first seven months of 2023, reaching 83% of its annual target. Notably, nearly 30,200 arrivals were via sea routes, accentuating the potential of cruise tourism.

Infrastructure Developments: A Catalyst for Cruise Tourism

According to Mr. Khanh, Vietnam’s long coastline, interspersed with various islands and popular bays like Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang Bay, establishes sea and island tourism as a key tourism product. To capitalize on this potential, significant investments have been made in seaport infrastructures in cities such as Sai Gon, Nha Trang, and Quy Nhon. These ports are well-connected with city centers and equipped with modern facilities, positioning Vietnam as a desirable destination for cruise lines.

Policy Innovations: Making Vietnam a Cruise-Friendly Destination

To attract more cruise visitors, Vietnam has rolled out a series of innovative policies. These include streamlined administrative procedures at seaports and reduced port fees for frequent visits. Starting August 15, 2023, the country will implement a new visa policy, extending e-visa duration up to 90 days and allowing multiple entries. These measures are aimed to provide a more accommodating environment for cruise lines and their clientele.

Awards and Recognitions

Vietnam’s focus on tourism has not gone unnoticed on the global stage. The country has bagged multiple awards from the World Travel Awards, including titles like World’s Leading Heritage Destination and World’s Best Golf Destination in various years. Such accolades further cement Vietnam’s position as a prominent tourism hub.VNAT

Future Outlook

Expressing his optimism, VNAT’s Chairman Nguyen Trung Khanh anticipates that Royal Caribbean’s 2023 cruise itinerary, featuring various Vietnamese destinations, sets a favorable precedent. He expects that this will open doors for other world-class cruise lines to include Vietnam in their routes, especially to other renowned tourist spots like Ha Long – Cat Ba, and Nha Trang – Cam Ranh among others.

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