Will there be a new Japanese travel wave to Viet Nam?
Update: Aug 24, 2017
A number of low-cost air carriers have announced the opening of air routes between Viet Nam and Japan, while Japanese travel firms are planning to promote tours to Viet Nam, raising hope about a new wave of Japanese travelers.

The director of a HCM City-based travel firm said that Japan was one of the best markets for Viet Nam tourism, but the number of Japanese travelers on tours had been declining in recent years.

In early 2000s, many Japanese travelers travelled to Viet Nam. At that time, the governments of Viet Nam and Japan encouraged their citizens to travel to other countries to travel and study. Japanese liked Viet Nam’s ao dai (long traditional dress) and food. The transport conditions were favorable with many air routes that linked large cities of Viet Nam and Japan.

All of these conditions are still available now, and are even better. However, the number of tourists on tours has decreased.

“The statistics about Japanese travelers still show a rise, but tourists who are clients of travel firms, including ours, have decreased. We still have not found a solution to the problem,” he said.

According to the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), 740,000 travelers came from Japan last year. Japan ranked third, after China and South Korea, in the number of tourists to Viet Nam, with Japanese tourists numbering half of the figure from South Korea and 2 million fewer than from China. 

Nguyen Van Tan, CEO of JTB-TNT, said the opportunities in early 2000s were missed. “At that time, Vietnam was a new destination for Japanese. However, the new destination of those days has become old and Japanese are no longer curious about Viet Nam,” he said. “The travelers who came to Viet Nam before don’t want to come back.”

However, travel firms have put high hopes on the bounce back of the Japanese market as air carriers have opened new air routes between Viet Nam and Japan. Vietnam Airlines has announced it will open the Ha Noi-Osaka route with modern aircrafts, while Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet have also joined the game.

Nguyen Duc Quynh, deputy director of Furama Resort Da Nang, believes that direct air routes will help bring more Japanese to Viet Nam.

“A holiday for Japanese here lasts three to four days only, so they prefer destinations which they can get direct flights,” he said.

VNAT said over 3.2 million foreign tourists visited Viet Nam in the first three months of 2017, representing a year-on-year increase of 29 percent.