In the midst of a new age, when tourism activities are slowly coming back, Vietnam has opened its door to international travel once again. Meanwhile, Da Nang is pushing its comeback and reinforcing its status as one of the top travel spots in Vietnam, with attractive products and policies.
Especially last February, when Da Nang has passed a policy made specifically for the MICE tourism market (a form of tourism that combines meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions). Da Nang’s MICE policy is getting applied from February 2022 to December 2022, with many welcoming activities, gifts, and support for groups of MICE visitors of 50 people or more. Journey with Destination Review and meet with Nguyen Thi Hoai An, Director of Danang Tourism Promotion Center, to learn more about her perspective and the many exciting upcoming activities that will push this part of Da Nang Tourism.
With many advantages in terms of heritage placements, synchronous infrastructure, and world-class hotel brands, Da Nang has already created a vision for developing MICE tourism. Even more so after the successful organization of APEC Summit 2017 and getting directions from Politburo’s Resolution 43-NQ/TW on 24/02/2019 about developing Da Nang into a center for domestic and international events. MICE events not only optimize many destinations’ tourism potential but also push for knowledge exchange and cooperation with other spearhead economic sectors – providing some important leverages against them.
In the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a big challenge for MICE tourism because we can’t organize events that concentrate a lot of people, while means of transportation, especially air travel, are still delayed and restricted. However, the pandemic has become a catalyst for better meeting technology, with major leaps in improvement for online meetings, and audio-visual technologies. In the current situation, some are worried that many destinations will lose their edge when it comes to hosting MICE events, however, we can still see that there are spaces and opportunities for developing MICE tourism.
Demands for exchange and cooperation through traditional MICE events are still large. Right after Vietnam’s reopening towards tourism, Da Nang continues to be many businesses and organizations’ top choice for hosting events. Many tourism businesses in Da Nang, through continuous effort and quick, flexible adaptation throughout the pandemic, have managed to continuously update themselves with new audiovisual and data transmitting technologies, satisfying customers’ needs for events hosting. On the government’s side, the city has also pushed its media communication so destinations’ images are not affected, as well as piloted the MICE Policy right from 2021. This isn’t just a media tool for efficient MICE tourism, but it also helps us connect better with travel agencies and potential customers.
With a long-term vision, strategic preparation, and the approval of the tourism community, MICE will still be Da Nang’s main focus and we will continue to add value to the customers’ MICE events, therefore proving Da Nang’s reputation as a destination for MICE tourism.
Infrastructure for meetings is one of the most important elements. At this point in time, Da Nang has a lot of places that can organize 5-star quality conferences with a capacity of more than 1000 guests like Ariyana, Grand Sheraton… At the same time, these infrastructures are kept up-to-date and synchronous with each other, like airports, transportation, and service facilities… providing more conveniences for event organizers.
Da Nang also has an advantage in its International Airport – with 37 direct international flight routes back in 2019, so the connection value is very high, Da Nang will utilize this advantage by hosting Routes Asia 2022 to further push the return of all flight routes.
Visitors who come for MICE events have very large spending powers and tourism demands, so the level of attraction in a destination will be an important element that MICE event’s organizers will try to consider. Da Nang has a wide variety of tourism products, suitable for many MICE visitors.
It’s quite lucky that Da Nang has a lot of natural advantages and a good, fairly finished foundation in MICE services, these are some of the requirement that allows Da Nang to navigate MICE tourism. However, according to the 2020 internal survey, revenue from MICE tourism only reached 25% of the entire city’s total sales. The domestic MICE market accounts for a high proportion of this revenue and the city has not yet attracted many large conferences.
There’s still a lot of work to do to improve and round out MICE tourism, as well as increase the number of MICE tourists. Some note-worthy challenges that we are now facing are the need to recover international flight routes and restore the service network – of which we are missing skilled workers in the service industry. We also need resources to push for international PR, attracting large international events.
Like what I have shared above, the idea for MICE Policy was something that we had researched and considered for quite some time, in 2020 we cooperated with Duy Tan University to do proper policy research before starting a pilot program in 2021. At that point, Da Nang’s MICE Policy has been a pioneering idea to attract MICE tourists, as well as a new source of motivation for the entire industry, which was suffering from COVID-19 at that time.
The policy was applied to the first 100 MICE tourists in Da Nang in 2022, with 5 main contents: welcoming; souvenirs; media support; free tickets for specific attractions and consultation for hosting outdoor events; providing licenses for international conferences. MICE tourism agencies or tour representatives who want to know more about the policy’s detail and how to sign up for it can check out this page:
Da Nang’s MICE Policy is the culmination of all the studies into MICE tourism development models across the world like Hongkong, Singapore,… and has been modified to be more suitable for the situation in Da Nang. First, the parts of the policy that has been enacted have a high chance of success based on the current workforce. Second, Da Nang’s MICE Policy is a product made to push the cohesion between government and businesses, allowing both sides to know each other better, and connect better when it comes to developing MICE tourism in Da Nang. We are continuing to push businesses’ participation in the policy’s expanded content, bringing in great offers for customers.
As the ones who suggested and organize Da Nang’s MICE Policy, we hope this policy will become popular among tourism businesses, communities, and customers to finish this piloting process, turning the policy into a long-term policy framework for upcoming tourism development. At the same time, we hope to achieve the many goals that were set in this policy – such as attracting groups of MICE visitors to Da Nang and reinforcing the cohesion between groups of MICE tourism products in Da Nang.
Right now, the top priority for the tourism industry in Da Nang is to recover the customer market and the entire industry overall, back to where it was highest in 2019. This goal will require the entire industry to have a comprehensive plan, while MICE tourism will become an important, connective part of that plan.
In 2021, to prepare for Vietnam’s grand reopening towards tourism, we have cooperated with The Outbox Company to conduct research into the many target markets and their potential. From there, we will look for suitable communication and marketing methods so we can attract and recover these markets.
Opening the door to tourism in 2022 with the guideline “adapting safely and flexibly” to recover the tourism economy, Da Nang will take this chance to further promote its destinations, and connect with international business partners through major events. The city has approved to host two major international events in 2022, which are Routes Asia 2022 and Asian Development Tour 2022. These two events won’t just prove the quality and reputation of MICE tourism in Da Nang on an international level, but also open up new avenues for commercial exchange opportunities and turn the economic recovery targets into a reality.
We not only hope but also strive toward maintaining our status as the top destination in Vietnam for MICE tourism. To domestic tourists, Da Nang is currently a popular spot for events, we will never stop improving our quality of service to bring satisfying and memorable moments to our customers.
To the international market, Da Nang is still a very new name, we will dedicate our workforce and take any chance to further promote Da Nang to international customers.