In the context of the Covid-19 situation and many countries apply travel restrictions and close borders, domestic tourism has become an important direction of the tourism sector in 2020 and is considered as the first step for tourism normalization plans in many countries.
The potentials of domestic tourism
According to UNWTO data in 2018, the domestic tourism market is 6 times larger than the international tourism market (in number of tourist trips) with about 9 billion domestic tourist trips recorded in the world. In which, Asia and Pacific markets account for more than 50%. Out of the 73 data-recorded countries, there were 33 countries with domestic trips accounting for more than 70% of total tourist arrivals.
In terms of spending, based on data on tourism of 36 countries from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat, the report “Understanding domestic tourism and seizing its opportunities ”of UNWTO statistics 20 countries with domestic tourism spending higher than spending from international tourists, such as USA, Japan, Germany. Statistics show that in OECD countries, spending on domestic tourism is three times the amount generated from inbound tourism.
These figures show the importance and potential of domestic tourism globally.
In the context of Covid-19, many countries around the world have launched many initiatives to promote domestic tourism in the past year.
According to UNWTO, the Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity for countries to reassess their domestic tourism. Many destinations in the world have focused on stimulating domestic tourism by many different approaches and policies. The report “Understanding domestic tourism and seizing its opportunities” of UNWTO summarizes some of the initiatives to promote domestic tourism implemented in the world by the third quarter of this year.
- Financial Incentives
Initiatives related to financial support are one of the most popular measures to stimulate domestic tourism. For example, vouchers for tourism products or accommodations, fiscal incentives through reduction of tax on domestic flights, and tourism services at the destinations. Financial initiatives to stimulate domestic tourism are adopted by many countries in Asia-Pacific such as Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Korea. In addition, in America, the Middle East, and Europe, the financial incentive is provided to tourism businesses and destination management organizations for marketing and promotional campaigns.
- Marketing and promotion
Marketing and promotion campaigns have also been promoted by many countries in order to rebuild the confidence of tourists. In the context of ensuring social distance regulations, marketing campaigns and advertising are mainly redirected to implement on digital platforms, social media, combined with online tools to provide information about safety measures in destinations for tourists. Many campaigns focus on promoting less-known domestic destinations or discover new things in seemingly familiar destinations, such as Do Something New campaign in New Zealand, Cuti-Cuti Malaysia campaign in Malaysia, Travel Week campaign of South Korea.
- Product development
Many countries have developed new tourism products, connecting many domestic destinations to diversify tourism products for tourists. Most of the new tourism products are ecotourism, nature discovery, cultural and gastronomy tourism, and rural tourism. Several domestic tourism products were launched and promoted such as Paraguay’s Tourist Destinations of Paraguay, Mexico’s 121 Magical Town, Argentina’s Promote Your Destination contest, etc.
In addition, UNWTO’s report also mentioned other initiatives to effectively stimulate domestic tourism. For example, partnerships between organizations inside and outside the sector, between government agencies and tourism businesses/ destination management organizations to develop suitable tourism products or effective promotion strategies. Many countries also paid more attention to market intelligence for domestic tourism to forecast the behaviors and preferences of domestic tourists.
Looking back on domestic tourism in Vietnam in 2020
In 2020, the complicated Covid-19 pandemic causes a decrease in the number of inbound tourists to Vietnam, Vietnam tourism has promptly turned to promote and stimulate domestic tourism to support local tourism businesses. In the past year, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism launched a program to stimulate domestic tourism on a national scale with two phases: phase one themed “Vietnamese people travel Vietnam” in May and phase two in September with the theme “Vietnamese tourism – safe and attractive”.
Vietnam’s efforts to stimulate domestic tourism have brought positive signs for Vietnam tourism: new tourism products and promotions have been launched, occupancy of accommodations has gradually increased, the demand for information on domestic tourism also increased. Vietnam’s domestic tourism market welcomed a total of 56 million tourists in 2020, decreasing 34.1% compared to last year. However, this is quite a positive figure compared to the frozen international tourism market in 2020.