Lunar New Year is one of the most active times for tourism in Vietnam. Domestic tourists prepare to visit family and tourists from overseas look forward to immersing themselves in the atmosphere of Tet. Marking a new circle of 12 zodiac animals, Metal Rat 2020 should bring a prosperous year to the tourism market. Here’s what’s happening…
Typical Tet travel
Hoang Trieu, who lives in District 10, Saigon, describes the typical travel many Vietnamese households experience at the New Year: “Being busy the whole year makes my family not have much time for each other. We spend time together on Tet holidays to tighten the family bond. Besides visiting grandparents in their hometown, we let the children travel here and there so that they can experience more.”
Tet tourism in early 2020 witnessed much competition from the big players in the industry through many valuable promotions. Vietravel organized a promotional program that cost 8.6 million VND/person (equivalent to $486 CAD), which is a good value. Although the competition is fierce among tour operators, this can be a golden opportunity for customers.
For Vietnamese expatriates and international visitors, domestic travel packages from travel companies are also a good option. However, planning the trip requires researching the right package. This can be difficult for those without much experience of Vietnam.
According to vietnamreport.net.vn, many tourists look up information and feedback about destinations, hotels, and restaurants through a variety of tools, including social networks. The leading ones are Facebook and Instagram (accounting for 78.67 per cent), and travel websites such as Traveloka and TripAdvisor (accounting for 64.89 per cent). They also use reviews by influential travel bloggers (32.44 per cent) such as Ha Truc or YouTuber Khoai Lang Thang.
Trends for Vietnamese and overseas visitors
According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, the number of international visitors in November 2018 was more than 1.8 million. The total number of visitors in 11 months of 2019 reached nearly 16.3 million. Asian region visitors were 77.6 per cent, followed by Europe with 14.1 per cent. Those from the Americas was 6.1 per cent, and 2.6 per cent were from Australia. These figures show that Vietnam is gradually becoming attractive to international tourists. To fuel this development, the Vietnam tourism industry needs to be more active and up to date with trends and visitors’ needs.
Three notable trends in tourism include visitors wanting homestays, ecolodges, and tours not only of Vietnam, but also neighbouring countries.
Hospitality and experience play an essential role in determining the quality of a visitor’s trip. Many tourists, especially young travellers, are also concerned about the cost. Homestay accommodation (indigenous homestay) offers the opportunity to experience local life and culture. It is becoming more attractive for foreigners in general and overseas Vietnamese in particular.
Currently, finding a homestay with unique and creative ideas is not difficult. Da Lat is a typical example of the explosion of this type of tourism. Some successful new homestays there include Doraemon Town and the Minion Village at Her Homestay.
In other areas such as Sapa (Lao Cai), the homestay brings a combination of accommodation with local cultural activities of ethnic minorities such as the weaving, dyeing, and brocade weaving techniques of H’mong women (Homestay Ta Van – Lao Cai). The rapid development of homestays has led to fierce competition among the owners. More unique ideas are continually coming up. “First generation” homestays also have to upgrade to catch up. All these actions provide an attractive tourism picture with the hope of attracting more international tourists.
Ecolodges – Sustainable tourism
Last year was a “noisy” one about environmental issues, including16-year-old Greta Thunberg’s case. In 2020, environmental topics will probably continue and green tourism, including ecolodges, will gain in popularity. Ecolodges are close to nature, protect the environment, and support sustainable culture and tourism. Vietnam, with its majestic natural beauty, is well placed for this type of tourism.
Built away from urban residential areas, ecolodges need high terrain, and airy spaces. The architecture should be in harmony with nature and use natural materials. Many of these lodges use solar energy and limit plastic waste. Cuisine and traditional, cultural performances are highlights. These resorts must work closely with experts to ensure environmental protection and sustainability. Tourists who love a green lifestyle will enjoy Mai Chau Ecolodge (Mai Chau town, Hoa Binh province), Topas Ecolodge (Sa Pa) – where Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, stayed in 2011, Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh or Can Tho Ecolodge.
Tours to nearby Asian countries
The 2020 Metal Rat Tet holiday lasts about seven days from January 23rd to the 29th. The long vacation creates long-distance travel demands for Vietnamese people. Foreign tourists and overseas Vietnamese also prefer combining a Vietnam tour with other Asian countries. This combination allows them to make the most of their vacations. Two to four-hour flight options include Thailand, Singapore, Korea or Japan. For instance, on a four-day, three-night tour of Singapore could include Gardens by the Bay (beautiful aerial gardens), and Marina Barrage (the enormous artificial lake with the light and water music show Water Wings of Time). While there, Singapore Zoo, River Safari, and Universal Studios are also appealing attractions.
South Korea is also a place worth exploring for five days and four nights with expeditions to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seongsan Ilchulbong, and “Sunrise Peak,” a UNESCO Natural Heritage site. Some other activities include indulging in red bean cakes and honey sticky rice cakes. The 2020 Metal Rat Tet tourism market has many options for those who wish to start a new spring with a family trip. Different tours have different price ranges and offer a variety of experiences. Visitors need to consult and choose for themselves a pleasant trip to start their new year with joy, smoothness, and laughter.
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt