Mr. "Fortune Teller" Chris Farwell predicts what 2023 holds for Vietnam Tourism !
TMG – The future of Vietnam Tourism is bright even though challenges remain ahead in 2023. And businesses that keep adapting themselves to the current market with a clear vision will win.
The Lunar New Year of 2023 is here, and Thien Minh Group CFO Christopher Farwell is back. Returning to the Leaders Talk series after a while, Chris is ready to share his opinion about the future of Vietnam Tourism in 2023.
1. On the occasion of New Year 2023, can you make an overview assessment of the prospects of Vietnam's tourism market?
I think the future of tourism in Vietnam is very bright. We’ve got many things to see here. You’ve got the beach, you’ve got the culture, you’ve got the food, the people, they’re so welcoming. That was really key that I saw post-COVID as well. There was a bit of a concern about how people would react after opening post-COVID, but the Vietnamese have been extremely welcoming and that’s not happened everywhere in the world. There still can be a lot of fear about COVID in the world. So, yeah, it’s been very nice to see that people have responded well and are welcoming the tourists back to Vietnam.
2. With such a bright potential, is there anything that Vietnam still needs to pay attention to improve and develop the tourism industry?
Still, probably three things hampering the recovery. The first being the fuel prices that’s increased the ticket prices for flights coming into Vietnam, and the air flight capacity as well. That’s still probably about half of what it used to be pre-COVID. Lastly, visa restrictions that are still in place as well. So there’s about 24 countries that have visa waivers in place with Vietnam, but most of those are less than 15 days. A lot of people come to Vietnam kind of once in a lifetime. I hope that changes in the future, but it’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so people want to spend more than two weeks in Vietnam as well.
3. So what is your prediction for the development of Vietnam tourism in 2023?
Definitely, it’s going to be better than 2022. There’s probably still not going to be quite back to 2019 levels. Everybody I’ve been speaking to says that there’s a lot of excitement and a lot of built-up demand for Vietnam, but there are still those restrictions that I talked about and that’s going to take time to still get removed. So we’re probably going to see about 50% to 75% of 2019 levels, but 2023 will still be a bit less than 2019. But I think from 2024 onwards, it will be back to normal and hopefully even better.
4. Recently, people have talked a lot about digital transformation. What about TMG?
After COVID happened, we had to, of course, be very efficient and productive with decreased resources, just like a lot of other companies. So now we know that we can operate well with fewer resources. So how do we make sure that we’re continuing to be efficient as we grow into the future and also maximizing where people want to use the digital economy.
So our online travel agency, iVIVU.com, has been very successful, actually throughout COVID because they focused on the domestic Vietnamese market. People couldn’t travel outside of Vietnam, so, that was very good for that line of our business. And actually, we’re still seeing that growth, even though now people can travel outside of Vietnam again. So really it’s about, again, being as efficient as possible all the way through the process. So connecting with our suppliers, connecting with our customers, and making it as easy process flow as possible and to be able to make really quick, data-driven decisions.
And we’re already well along that digital journey, thankfully. So we started this many years ago as a group because our founder Kiên and our CIO Công, they both recognize the value in being a digitalized travel agency and travel economy that we work in.
Thank you so much for your time. We wish you a very happy Lunar New Year in Vietnam.
Through 29 years of establishment and development, Thien Minh Group is honored to be one of Southeast Asia’s leading corporations providing tourism and hotel services. The group’s four main fields of activities are Destination Management, Hospitality, Aviation, and Online, with 10 hotels and resorts, 20 restaurants & bars, 20 cruises and boats, and seaplanes. With well-known brands adored by many domestic and foreign tourists, TMG prides to be a faithful companion that brings the most exceptional experiences to tourists in their itineraries.