The number of tourists to Vietnam is increasing but to compare with neighbouring countries like Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore, Vietnam tourism needs to improve so many things which have been complaining by tourists over the years as below;
1. Awareness of the people:
It is sad that most of Vietnamese are not aware of the benefit of what tourism can bring them. Vietnamese care about the money they can earn today, but not tomorrow so the future of Vietnam tourism is not bright if the awareness of the people is not changed. It is normal that Vietnamese or Vietnamese tourists throw garbage everywhere they go. They may not think much when carving their names at beautiful caves
Vietnam is known as a friendly country but many tourists complain that they feel that they are not warmly welcomed. For examples, the officials at the airport are rude, local people laugh at them with ugly and curious eyes. It seems, tourists are people from another planet.
I must say the different culture makes this misunderstanding. If you live in Vietnam, you will see Vietnam are very kind and friendly. If you are a stranger, Vietnamese can be shy, curious and not self confident to communicate with you. So, the common way for them is standing, watching, talking, laughing at you. It does not mean they are looking down on you, but it is like "oh how tall are they! They look hairy or wonder where are you from?"
This takes time to change a habit or way of thinking, but this should be change quickly and Vietnamese will need to learn how to show their heart and welcome.
3. unfair competition
There are around 12.000 inbound and outbound travel companies in Vietnam. Many of them are followers and not having good finance, skills and experience in tourism and service. For examples, many tour operators try every way to cut costs, reduce the price by reducing the services, all to win over the competitors which lead to a big mistake that the quality and services are very poor.
When tourists travel around Vietnam, they have some funny about Vietnamese shower which is lower than standard, public toilets are nightmares, street foods look nice but dirty. In general, public sanitary must be improved at bus station, train station...
5. Control and Support from the government
Vietnamese government has no specific, strict and strong measures to control over Vietnam travel agents, Vietnam tour companies, tourism activities in Vietnam.
6. Vietnam Visa exemption
Many nationalities can't get Vietnam visa exemption. The others have to pay high visa fees or it is very complicated and difficult to apply visa to Vietnam. As a result, many tourists choose to travel to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia or even Cambodia when they plan to visit the Southeast Asian countries. Recently, Vietnamese government has offered Vietnam visa exemption for some more countries in Euro and is going to reduce the visa fee from the end of November, 2015, but it seems, Vietnam tourism needs a long term policy.
7. Poor tourism products.
The highlights of a Vietnam tour package are Hanoi, Sapa, Tam Coc, Trang An, Halong Bay, Hue citadel, Hoi An ancient town, Nha Trang beach, Mui Ne beach, Da Lat, Ho Chi Minh city, Mekong delta and Phu Quoc island. It seems, all Vietnam tours will take you to the same places, do the same activities. So, the problem is that Vietnam tourism needs to offer more interesting tours and activities.
8. Qualified travel company
To be a qualified Vietnam travel company, that company will need not only the tour operator license like now, but also being official member of trusted travel associations like PATA, ASTA, or highly recommended on tripadvisor, lonely planet.
9. Qualified tour guide
It is said that tour guides bring 70% of a satisfied tour. However, many tour guides are now working in Vietnam tourism who have not been trained, can not speak good English/French, or have background knowledge on Vietnamese culture, history and experience to take tours. It is common that you hear different stories of the same topics from your tour guides in Ho Chi Minh city, Hoi An and Hanoi which make Vietnam ugly in your eyes and you may not trust things when travelling in Vietnam. Some tourists just collect stories and write negative things about Vietnam and tourism, some are from the tour guides.
10. No Scams, rip-off
This is an issue, most of Vietnamese think that western tourists, or tourists must be rich because they have money to travel. By the way, Vietnam travel style is spending money, does not matter if you are poor or rich, traveling is the time and chance to buy what they want, eat what they like..., so some Vietnamese see a good chance to earn some easy money from the rich (tourists) then Scams and rip-off happen.
Advices for tourists to Vietnam