Trade Shows and EventsReturn of ITE HCMC and strong turnout at the three-day travel expo confirm Vietnam’s tourism recovery.

Vietnam is ready for travel action

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Visitors at ITE HCMC 2022 also had a chance to explore the city on a rickshaw tour.
Visitors at ITE HCMC 2022 also had a chance to explore the city on a rickshaw tour.

The return of the 16th Ho Chi Minh City International Travel Expo 2022 (ITE HCMC 2022), which was held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center from September 8-10, is a clear indication that Vietnam is ready to welcome the world back to its shores again.

Solid turnout from Asia Pacific

Given that ITE HCMC wasn’t held in 2020 and 2021, and despite the conspicuous absence this year of buyers from key countries like China and other markets, numbers for this year’s event held up better than expected.

Buyers from 18 countries and territories were present at ITE HCMC, down from 62 countries in 2019; over 300 exhibitors were present, down slightly from 350 in 2019 Yet even though it was a day shorter than the 2019 edition, the fair estimated 10,000-14,000 commercial visitors and 12,000-16,000 members of the public were in attendance. 

During the three-day event, ITE HCMC has attracted more than 22,000 visitors and 8,600 meetings between sellers and buyers.
During the three-day event, ITE HCMC has attracted more than 22,000 visitors and 8,600 meetings between sellers and buyers.

One of the reasons for the popularity of the event is the ITE’s hosted buyer programme, which saw roughly 161 international buyers invited to network with Vietnamese businesses.

Interest from Vietnamese consumers was also strong. Domestic travel, which was practically the only option for most Vietnamese people during the last two years, is still booming, and local visitors found many in-country promotions at the fair.

But international stands from Taiwan, South Korea, Laos and Cambodia, among others, also saw large numbers of visitors with a pent-up demand for international trips.

One stand that drew a lot of curiosity was Vietnam Glamping. Visitors queued to have their picture taken in front of the tent located right beside the main entrance to the show floor. Glamping, camping with beds and other creature comforts, is a growing trend not just in Vietnam but around the world.

“It appeals to people who want to be out in nature and is ideal for families and school trips,” says Nguyen Manh Cuong of Vietnam Glamping, a consultancy that helps new sites develop glamping products. “Glamping and eco-lodges are less invasive for the environment but they are also comfortable and convenient.”

Glamping is a growing trend among travellers in Vietnam, especially among families and school trips.
Glamping is a growing trend among travellers in Vietnam, especially among families and school trips.

Making Vietnam a more attractive destination

Beyond B2B and B2C meetings on the show floor, a number of forums, seminars and presentations were held during the event. Speaking at a seminar entitled “Solutions on International Tourism Recovery”, Nguyen Manh Quyền, vice chairman of the Ha Noi City People’s Committee, offered concise and pragmatic insights.

“The government needs to extend the 15-day visa exemption to 30 days” in order to make Vietnam a more viable destination for long-haul visitors, he said, echoing an opinion often heard during the show.

He also outlined wide-ranging measures that would increase Vietnam’s attractiveness, from communicating about Vietnam as a safe destination to facilitating e-visas for citizens of countries that still require them.

His brief presentation also recommended using traditional and social media more effectively, adding QR codes and other technology to link to information in relevant languages, developing experimental tourism products with more international appeal and promoting medical tourism. His wish list, aimed squarely at national authorities, was punctuated with thunderous applause.

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