Yen Duong
Yen Duong
10:00:17 – June 17, 2020

In recent years, new travel trends have been constantly emerging since travelers’ behaviors and demands have changed vigorously. As a result, food tourism is also expected to grow strongly in the coming time, reaching 82.02 billion USD and having a compound growth rate of 9% by 2023 (Technavio, 2019).

With diverse and attractive culinary values in the eyes of international citizens, Vietnam has been recognized by many international organizations, winning the title of Asia’s Leading Culinary Destination 2019 in Asia (by World Tourism Award (WTA)) recognized as one of the places with the best cuisines in the world (CNN). Vietnam also has many famous global dishes such as pho – traditional noodles (One of the must-try dishes in life, Business Insider), banh mi – bread (The world’s best street food, CNN) or nem ran – fried spring rolls (Top 10 dishes that tourists from all over the world love the most, CNN).

However, it seems that Vietnam has not yet taken full advantage of its inherent strengths to take food tourism to a higher level.

In recent years, new travel trends have been constantly emerging since travelers’ behaviors and demands have changed vigorously. As a result, food tourism is also expected to grow strongly in the coming time, reaching 82.02 billion USD and having a compound growth rate of 9% by 2023 (Technavio, 2019).

With diverse and attractive culinary values in the eyes of international citizens, Vietnam has been recognized by many international organizations, winning the title of Asia’s Leading Culinary Destination 2019 in Asia (by World Tourism Award (WTA)) recognized as one of the places with the best cuisines in the world (CNN). Vietnam also has many famous global dishes such as pho – traditional noodles (One of the must-try dishes in life, Business Insider), banh mi – bread (The world’s best street food, CNN) or nem ran – fried spring rolls (Top 10 dishes that tourists from all over the world love the most, CNN).

However, it seems that Vietnam has not yet taken full advantage of its inherent strengths to take food tourism to a higher level.

What do travelers look for in food tourism?

Travelers are increasingly looking for more authentic and unique local experiences on their trips. More than 80% of surveyed travel agents and tourism organizations determine that food tourism is a strategic factor for destinations and an important driving force for tourism development. Up to 81% of international visitors need to learn the values of local cuisine and spend about 25% of their travel budget on food and beverage expenses along the journey. In the APAC area, 11% of travelers intend to travel to experience food tourism.

Travelers are increasingly looking for more authentic and unique local experiences on their trips. More than 80% of surveyed travel agents and tourism organizations determine that food tourism is a strategic factor for destinations and an important driving force for tourism development. Up to 81% of international visitors need to learn the values of local cuisine and spend about 25% of their travel budget on food and beverage expenses along the journey. In the APAC area, 11% of travelers intend to travel to experience food tourism.

In food tourism, travelers seek for local experiences that allow them to capture indigenous culinary and cultural stories through interactive activities such as cooking classes, food tour programs, visiting local markets, visiting craft villages, culinary artisans and especially being introduced to local traditional stories or values ​​behind every dish.

In fact, the gap to turn food from a catering service to a highlight to attract travelers to the destination is gigantic. If developing food tourism merely stops at introducing the list of quality restaurants with delicious food for visitors instead of investing in the construction of interactive experiences, the potential of food in food tourism will not be successfully promoted.

In food tourism, travelers seek for local experiences that allow them to capture indigenous culinary and cultural stories through interactive activities such as cooking classes, food tour programs, visiting local markets, visiting craft villages, culinary artisans and especially being introduced to local traditional stories or values ​​behind every dish.

In fact, the gap to turn food from a catering service to a highlight to attract travelers to the destination is gigantic. If developing food tourism merely stops at introducing the list of quality restaurants with delicious food for visitors instead of investing in the construction of interactive experiences, the potential of food in food tourism will not be successfully promoted.

Food tourism - a fertile land for Vietnam to exploit and breakthrough in the future

At the moment, food tourism in Vietnam only stops at providing activities for travelers to just simply enjoy food and there is no signature food tourism product, which makes the promoting campaigns yet to create any connection as well as convey the hallmarks of Vietnamese cuisine to visitors.

These are all limitations that still exist and Vietnam’s food tourism needs a more methodical approach from the beginning to grasp an overall picture of this potential food tourism.

At the moment, food tourism in Vietnam only stops at providing activities for travelers to just simply enjoy food and there is no signature food tourism product, which makes the promoting campaigns yet to create any connection as well as convey the hallmarks of Vietnamese cuisine to visitors.

These are all limitations that still exist and Vietnam’s food tourism needs a more methodical approach from the beginning to grasp an overall picture of this potential food tourism.

So how can food tourism in Vietnam develop in a sustainable way?

So how can food tourism in Vietnam develop in a sustainable way?

Food tourism is not just about eating and drinking but rather a combination of the experiences to discover culinary values at the destination that makes travelers willing to spend more and stay longer.

Therefore, right from the beginning, Vietnam’s food tourism needs systematic solutions to be able to make an objective and general assessment of its resources and its driving forces as well as their interaction.

Food tourism is not just about eating and drinking but rather a combination of the experiences to discover culinary values at the destination that makes travelers willing to spend more and stay longer.

Therefore, right from the beginning, Vietnam’s food tourism needs systematic solutions to be able to make an objective and general assessment of its resources and its driving forces as well as their interaction.

Value chain research is considered as one of the most optimal solutions for the sustainable development of food tourism in Vietnam. With value chain research, Vietnam’s food tourism will have a more comprehensive and objective assessment of the role and linkages of stakeholders from the stage of material production to the stage of creating a food product to serve visitors. Nevertheless, it also helps to discover other potential factors to expand the value chain in the future so that food tourism in Vietnam can make a breakthrough.

Value chain research is considered as one of the most optimal solutions for the sustainable development of food tourism in Vietnam. With value chain research, Vietnam’s food tourism will have a more comprehensive and objective assessment of the role and linkages of stakeholders from the stage of material production to the stage of creating a food product to serve visitors. Nevertheless, it also helps to discover other potential factors to expand the value chain in the future so that food tourism in Vietnam can make a breakthrough.

value-chain-analysis

At the same time, the specification and development of a value chain in food tourism help to show the link between the components in the chain and consider to what extent the components in the value chain are being linked so that Vietnam can identify which factors to focus more on investment and where are potential resources to expand the value chain in the future.

Based on this basis, tourism management agencies and tourism enterprises can develop and diversify unique food tourism products and experiences with Vietnamese identity for visitors. In addition, the authorities in the tourism industry can recognize the distribution of the benefits among stakeholders so that timely incentives and relevant regulations can be created and altered when needed, contributing to the overall development of Vietnamese cuisine in food tourism.

At the same time, the specification and development of a value chain in food tourism help to show the link between the components in the chain and consider to what extent the components in the value chain are being linked so that Vietnam can identify which factors to focus more on investment and where are potential resources to expand the value chain in the future.

Based on this basis, tourism management agencies and tourism enterprises can develop and diversify unique food tourism products and experiences with Vietnamese identity for visitors. In addition, the authorities in the tourism industry can recognize the distribution of the benefits among stakeholders so that timely incentives and relevant regulations can be created and altered when needed, contributing to the overall development of Vietnamese cuisine in food tourism.

Once comprehending the existing potentials as well as the limitations to overcome, Vietnam tourism can convey promotional messages with clarity and provide accurate stories about food to visitors in the most diverse, colorful and attractive way by the specification and development of a value chain combining tourism, cuisine and culture. Only by then can every dish be not just a delicious and quality meal but also an experience in which visitors can contemplate the historical, cultural and spiritual values of the whole community. Eventually, the position of food tourism in Vietnam will become higher at an international level in the near future.

Yen Duong, COO - Outbox Consulting

Once comprehending the existing potentials as well as the limitations to overcome, Vietnam tourism can convey promotional messages with clarity and provide accurate stories about food to visitors in the most diverse, colorful and attractive way by the specification and development of a value chain combining tourism, cuisine and culture. Only by then can every dish be not just a delicious and quality meal but also an experience in which visitors can contemplate the historical, cultural and spiritual values of the whole community. Eventually, the position of food tourism in Vietnam will become higher at an international level in the near future.

Yen Duong, COO - Outbox Consulting
Food tourism in Vietnam: how to develop sustainably?
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