Vietnam is expected to focus on developing wellness and healthcare tourism in the coming time.
The conference “Development of wellness tourism in Vietnam” was organized by the Institute for Tourism Development Research on October 6, showing the important role of wellness tourism in the national travel industry.
A global trend
Speaking at the conference, Deputy Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong said that tourism activities associated with wellness and healthcare are being given more and more attention in the world. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, environmental pollution, and diseases, people need to take care of their health and relieve stress.
"This makes the wellness and healthcare market grow, along with wellness tourism," Huong said.
Wellness tourism has become popular in other countries in the same region such as India, Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, among others. It is expected that this trend will develop strongly in the coming time. The long trips of tourists will not only be for sightseeing, but also for healthcare, as specialists agreed at the conference.
“It is estimated that the world’s wellness tourism will reach $919 billion by 2022. Currently, this type of tourism is flourishing everywhere from Asia-Pacific to North America and Europe and will grow even faster in the coming years, as it is in the convergence of two large booming industries, tourism, and healthcare,” tourism expert Nguyen Van Luu told The Hanoi Times
Over the past five years, Asia has led both in the number of visitors and in revenue from wellness tourism. If it maintains the average growth rate of 7.5% per year, it will contribute 18% of the share to the world tourism industry.
“Therefore, the development of this kind of tourism will diversify tourism products for domestic and foreign tourists, lengthening their stay, as well as increasing their spending in Vietnam,” Huong said.
A lot of potentials
Vietnam has favorable climate and terrain conditions to develop wellness and health care systems and tourism. Besides areas with good weather all year round, Vietnam also has a coastline of over 3,000 km, with thousands of beautiful islands and sunny beaches, which are ideal to develop holiday and wellness tourism.
Moreover, the country also boasts rich and diverse mineral water resources, which have been used for medical treatment and health care such as hot springs and mud baths from the North to the South, in provinces and cities of Hoa Binh, Ninh Binh, Tuyen Quang, Quang Ninh, Thua Thien-Hue, Nha Trang, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, among others.
Besides, spa and wellness services with a complete process including health care education, exercise, eating ways, and treatment, which have recently been offered at beach resorts and luxury hotels in big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Ninh, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Phu Quoc, and so on, also contribute an important part to wellness tourism.
“Wellness is a golden opportunity for the hospitality industry. Feeling healthy is a universal, emotionally charged, and frequent concern for all demographics of guests and cuts across all areas of life, from daily routines to exceptional, transformative travel experiences. Our diverse hotel brands look forward to embracing the challenge of continuously surprising and delighting our guests with new ways to achieve health and well-being during their travels, inspiring them to choose our hotels again and again,” Global Vice-President of Accor’s Wellbeing, Luxury & Premium Brands told The Hanoi Times.
In addition, more eco-tourism areas and wellness tours associated with exercise activities such as swimming, walking in nature, meditation, yoga, acupressure, herbal treatment, among others, are new tourism products attracting tourists.
Together with spa services, this model is developing in Hanoi and its surrounding areas, thanks to the national parks, countryside environment, and is one of the country’s largest traditional medicine treatment hubs, making it among the top 10 tourist destinations for wellness tourism services in Asia in 2015, by Wego and TrustYou.
More effort needed
The potential of wellness tourism has yet been tapped fully, according to most specialists. Currently, wellness services are still poor. There is also a shortage of training centers and human resources, especially management personnel and highly skilled technicians.
“This type of tourism is still new and has not been fully developed and the options for customers are still poor,” tourism professor and lecturer Nguyen Van Dinh told The Hanoi Times.
He cited statistics from the Ministry of Health that say that 40,000 Vietnamese spend approximately $1 billion a year to go abroad for medical treatment and tourism. These figures show how little most domestic and foreign tourists know about services of medical and wellness tourism in the country, Dinh said.
Truong Sy Vinh, Deputy Director of the Institute for Tourism Development Research also emphasized the role of more efforts in researching and making policies on the development of wellness in Vietnam, after consulting with tourism specialists.
“We need to develop a variety of wellness tourism products, train an intensive workforce, and learn from the experiences of other countries with a developed wellness tourism for attractive products,” he said.
“Only with that, Vietnam is able to compete with other developed countries in wellness and healthcare tourism in the region,” he added.