Vietnam’s tourism industry continues to expand, as 1.188 million people traveled to the country in July. Tourism, compared to the same period a year prior, is up 14.7%. Total arrivals during the first seven months of the year eclipsed that of a year prior, rising 25.4% with over 9 million arrivals in the first seven months of the year.
Asia remains the top market, bringing in 921,373 tourists, with 142,660 European and 77,830 Americans visiting Vietnam in July.
Tour companies in Vietnam are benefiting from increased tourism, with Xo Tours offering half-day Vietnam tours. The tour company, one of many in the region, has been able to leverage the rising tourism industry by helping over 80,000 tourists explore Vietnam. Half-day tours of Ho Chi Minh City are also a popular option.
Vietnam’s government is working to protect their country’s interests, as the United States and China continue to spar in trade wars. The world’s two largest economies are also the largest export destinations for Vietnam.
“If the US and China escalate the tension with tit-for-tat moves, it could reduce our exports and foreign investment inflow and hurt domestic production,” said deputy director-general Luong Van Khoi.
Foreign direct investment and exports are Vietnam’s biggest concerns as the country remains financially volatile. A global trade war would have a major impact on Vietnam, which is highly reliant on global supply chains.
Vietnam also fears that the threat of a trade war will cause China to flood the country’s market with goods. The goods would have a direct impact on the local market and artisans, with an impact on furniture, leather and other garments expected.
The country is heavily reliant on exports to drive economic growth, with Samsung Electronics, (KRW: 005930) accounting for 20% of exports last year.
A focus on tourism will help Vietnam withstand some of the impact that’s expected in the second half of the year as China and the US continue their tariff wars.
Smaller travel and tour agencies are coming up with innovative products that will not be impacted by tariffs. Tigit, a motorbikes touring company, is offering new motorbike adventure tours that offer riders full size motorbikes. Touring motorbikes is a big industry in Vietnam, and is just one segment that touring companies will plan to expand on to keep tourists coming to Vietnam.
Experts remain concerned that Vietnam’s tourism, which is heavily reliant on South Koreans and China, also needs to appeal to more tourists. Tourism provides the country with 2.5 million jobs and has resulted in over 21,000 tour guides receiving their licenses.
Vietnam was ranked in the top 10 fastest growing tourist destinations of 2017, and this trend is likely to continue due to rapid growth in 2018.
Hotel chains, such as Hilton and JW Marriott have started to invest in the country. An impact in foreign investments, due to tariff wars, would slow the rate of Vietnam tourism as costs for goods rise.