Central Vietnam turns attention closer to home

Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century

After spending years attracting European MICE groups, the three Central Vietnamese provinces of Thua Thien Hue, Danang and Quang Nam have turned their attention towards markets closer to home.

Nguyen Van Phuc, deputy director, department of tourism Thua Thien Hue Province, shared with TTGmice: “Although there are direct flights to Danang (from various countries in Asia-Pacific), we want to leverage Singapore’s Changi Airport as an international hub to tap into markets like Australia and India, as well as strengthen inbound from South-east Asian region.”

Hoi An (pictured) is also a UNESO-listed site, and is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-east Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century

And until Danang obtains direct links between Australia and India, which Nguyen revealed they are “working hard at”, Singapore will be positioned as such.

That is partly why the three Central Vietnamese provinces banded together to organise a roadshow in Singapore for the second year running.

The first roadshow was held last year, and focused more on the leisure market, which Nguyen explained was a success. As such, they are back this year to “continue building the momentum, this time for the MICE market”. The provinces have also confirmed they will be back in town next year.

When asked if the provinces generally offered the same products, Nguyen stressed that each was different.

“Hue has a UNESCO-listed site and royal heritage, Quang Nam has Hoi An and is good for community-based tourism, while Danang is the gateway to Central Vietnam, and is the location for meetings (thanks to the Ariyana Tourism Complex),” he elaborated.

Hoi An-based Sabirama Cooking Tours & Restaurant’s owner, Quy, related a sample meeting and teambuilding itinerary that could be arranged for groups from 50 up to 400 people.

“From Danang to Hoi An it is only 30km, so half-day trips are possible. For example, I can arrange for a five-hour teambuilding session in Hoi An that incorporates a visit to the old town, a boat cruise down the Perfume River, a local cooking class, and even a ride in a water buffalo cart,” Quy said.

But Nguyen acknowledged that aside from Danang, Hue and Quang Nam were not publicised well enough, hence the collaborative push to paint a better picture of Central Vietnam – by showing its myriad tourism products to both the media and travel trade stakeholders – was necessary.

“We currently welcome more leisure tourists, but we want to attract more MICE groups to Vietnam as well. Over the next five years, we hope to grow the percentage of MICE visitors from 30 to 35,” Nguyen noted.

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