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Will cuisine or marine tourism be the core of Vietnam tourism?

Building marine tourism brand or selecting culinary art as the core values of the Vietnamese tourism is still a matter of controversy.


Hue cuisine

 
At a recent seminar on building the strategy on brand development for Vietnam's tourism to 2025, with the vision to 2030, many experts contributed ideas to improve the competitiveness of Vietnam's tourism in the integration period.

Tourism brands

According to Le Tuan Anh, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, an important factor to influence the attraction of tourists is not the symbol or slogan but the value of tourism brand. Many countries around the world have made great progress in the number of tourists thanks to success in branding construction.

For instance, the UK with the brand “Great Britain” built in 2012, which helped this country reach a new record of foreign tourists, with 34.4 million in 2014.

Adjacent to Vietnam, Thailand is also a good example for the development of successful tourism brand "Land of Smiles" associated with the logo "Amazing Thailand". From 19 million of foreign visitors in 2011, the number of tourists to Thailand grew to 33 million in 2015.

There are many other countries that their tourism brands have been shaped and disseminated worldwide. To describe American tourism in short words, travelers would say “quality”, for Japanese tourism, it will be “respect, meticulous”, for Italy it will be “romantic”. In Southeast Asia, referring to Indonesia, people will think of the country with thousands of islands and resorts, for Malaysia, it is famous for shopping tourism, and Cambodia with cultural heritage.

Building brand for Vietnam’s tourism

In the development strategy of Vietnam's tourism brand to 2025 and the vision to 2030, the national tourism brand is defined to be associated with four product lines: sea and islands, culture, nature and urban.

Le Quoc Vinh, General Director of LeBros Media Group, said once the brand is identified, it is important how to market it. Vinh also pointed out common mistakes in marketing destination brands: it is marketing to all and the use of common, trite language.

"We often focus on promoting the features of the destinations and forget the core factor - emotion," Vinh said, adding that Vietnam’s tourism advertising videos only tried to show off all landscapes of the countries, without creating the highlight or a clear message.

Some travel experts said to successfully build destination branding, Vietnam must find a core value, which must be a unique value, which makes Vietnam different from other countries in the region.

Vinh suggested: "Philip Kotler, the world famous marketing expert said that Vietnam is the kitchen of the world. Therefore, the cuisine is one of the values that we can use to promote national tourism image."

Building the road of cuisine is also one of the objectives in the strategy to build Vietnam’s tourism brand.

According to tourism experts, the representative image of Vietnam’s tourism include:

1. Ha Long Bay (75%)

2. Hanoi (67%)

3. Food (63%)

4. Hoi An (58%)

5. HCM City (58%)

6. Mekong Delta (54%)

7. Hue (46%)

8. Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional gown) (33%)

9. Sapa (29%)

10 Nha Trang (29%)

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