Vietnam’s remarkable reopening of its domestic travel sector is expected to be replicated by focusing on short-haul Asian markets in a quest to restore their international tourism profile, with Chinese free independent travellers (FIT) predicted to lead the way.
A newly released survey of qualified travellers from first-tier cities in China by leading hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications, created to understand relevant overseas travel sentiment for the remainder of 2020, analyses demand for Chinese inbound tourism to Vietnam.
Key points highlighted in the study are that nearly half of the respondents want to travel abroad this year, with 45% interested in travelling specifically to Vietnam. Moreover, post Covid-19 Chinese travellers are looking at more mainstream, well-known destinations with top Vietnam picks being Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Nha Trang/Cam Ranh Bay and Halong Bay.
Speaking about the reopening of Vietnam tourism, C9 Hotelworks managing director Bill Barnett said: “A post-crisis short-term ‘fear factor’ is expected for extended air travel which will be manifested in a preference for short-haul, door-to-door flights, which is a key opportunity for China outbound to Vietnam.
“Of equal importance is to understand that at the moment, and in the coming months, domestic travel and tourism will define the gradual recovery process. What is significant about the China Vietnam Survey is who are the immediate post-crisis travellers and how can hotels and tourism stakeholders proactively meet their needs. We see a parallel trend in early travellers both domestically and from the China data, which pair up in a new tourism visitor profile,” said Barnett.
Putting the market insights to use is an important sentiment voiced by David Johnson, CEO of Delivering Asia Communications, added: “A 360 view of the results from over 1,000 qualified respondents conclude that tourism for the remainder of the year will be heavily leveraged by younger travellers in the age range of 20-29 years old, who increasingly place an emphasis on booking hotels on digital platforms.
“Two other significant trends from our China research showed that aside from sightseeing and eating being key activities, nature moved up in preference, which could be a reaction to a post-crisis change in tourism values. Diving into accommodation preferences, the two ends of the price spectrum of budget/economy and five-star hotels drew most positive responses from the Chinese surveyed,” he said.
One final takeaway from the survey is how younger travellers are reflected in rising sentiment with 81% saying they would choose independent travel vs. group tours. This fact, coupled with younger Chinese booking travel digitally via WeChat and Fliggy is a new twist in Vietnam’s marketing to China inbound tourists.