VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese travel firms have just realized that for a long time, they have missed a very potential market – Cambodia. And they are now trying to correct their mistakes.
Statistics show that the number of Cambodian tourists to Vietnam has been increasing steadily recently. In the first 11 months of the year, 4.6 million of international tourists arrived in Vietnam, an increase of 36.5 percent (1.23 million) in comparison with the same period of the last year. These include 234,000 tourists from Cambodia, a sharp increase of 99.9 percent.
Cambodian market remains unexploited for Vietnamese firms
Pham Thi Thu Hang, an executive of Lua Viet travel firm, who is in charge of the v klCambodian market, said that most Cambodian people come to Vietnam to receive healthcare services because healthcare services in Vietnam prove to be better and cheaper. Others visit some tourism sites in Vietnam. However, it seems that Vietnamese travel firms have not paid much attention to the clients from the neighboring country, because most of the tourists are popular clients. In general, tourists came to Vietnam early in the morning and then returned to Cambodia later on the same day.
The most favorite tourism site for Cambodian people are Dam Sen and Suoi Tien in HCM City. The volume of foreign currencies travel firms expect to collect from Cambodian tourists is not high. Currently, some travel firms are targeting these clients, but they have been providing services quietly and the quality of service remains modest.
Hang said that the Hospital of the Medical University is a hospital that receives most of Cambodian patients. A lot of tourism guide points have been set up around the area that show Cambodian people how to register for healthcare service, give consultancy about hotel rooms and show popular shopping places.
As for higher income Cambodian people, the top choices for tourism destinations are Da Lat and Nha Trang. However, even these clients do not spend much money, and they are not picky. Sometimes they do not need Vietnamese tour guides.
According to Nguyen Van My, Director of Lua Viet Company, to date, Vietnam has had no tour guide who can speak Khmer, even though the number of Cambodian tourists to Vietnam has been increasing. Besides, My thinks that travel firms which are providing tours to Cambodian tourists, still do not have exact appraisal about the clients. Many travel firms set the tour fee at $150 per person while the tour fee for Vietnamese people to travel Cambodia is $200 per person. My said that the low fees for tours has decreased the quality of service. Therefore, many Cambodians now tend to arrange tours themselves and do not buy tours with travel firms. There are also many high income Cambodians who know Vietnam very well and can speak Vietnamese, and therefore, they do not need tour guides.
Travel firms urged to change mindset about Cambodian market
“I cannot imagine that the number of Cambodian tourists is increasing so sharply. I have decided to survey the market and plan to target the market,” said Tran Van Long, General Director of Viet Travel Firm. “This will be a market with great potential if you know how to exploit it”.
Currently, his firm only provides a few tours a month to Cambodian clients. Long admitted that he had not paid attention to Cambodian market because he thought Cambodian people did not travel a lot.
According to Nguyen Quy Phuong, Deputy Director of the Travel Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), 200,000 Cambodian tourists is not high if compared with the 30-40 million of tourists traveling within ASEAN countries. Phuong also provided the information that 12 million Malaysian people come to Singapore every year, which means that the number of Cambodian tourists coming Vietnam remains modest, and that Vietnam needs to make efforts to develop the market.
Meanwhile, My said that with 200,000 Cambodian tourists a year, if well organized, Vietnam can collect hundreds of millions of dollars from the tourists.
Source: Saigon tiep thi