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Domestic tourism poised to drive Vietnam travel industry recovery as destination emerges first in Southeast Asia from Covid crisis


Vietnam’s tourism industry is set to lead Asia’s return to business as social distancing restrictions are lifted and domestic travel is set to return.

The Vietnamese government announced the lifting of social distancing restrictions on April 24 setting the stage for the return of a domestic market of up to 70 million travellers per year that has been growing at a rate of 20% for the past five years.

Speaking on The Future of Travel podcast by Bangkok-based branding agency QUO, Wink Hotels CEO Michael Piro said that the speed at which Vietnam reacted to Covid-19 revealed an underlying strength and resilience that is now setting the country on the road to recovery.

“Vietnam is no stranger to crisis and the government was very quick to respond,” said Piro. “You can feel the authority, leadership and control. They were very thorough using every channel possible to get the Covid message out and this inspired a sense of social responsibility and togetherness across the country.”

Now with social distancing measures lifted, restaurants filling up again and airlines such as Vietjet running six daily return flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as of April 23, the demand for domestic travel particularly by a young, entrepreneurial population, with two-thirds 70 aged below 35 years old, is apparent.

“Pockets have been effected by the crisis so the numbers won’t come roaring back. But the Vietnamese will be comfortable to get back on planes and things will rebound fast relative to the rest of the world. The domestic market will look for efficiency, value and experience – and we don’t see it too much effected by Covid-19,” added Piro.

Wink Hotels plans to open 20 hotels over the next seven years in Vietnam, with the first opening in Q4 of this year in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.