The auditing and consulting firm's managing partner Kenneth Atkinson, briefing the media yesterday about his company's annual Vietnam Hotel Survey, said occupancy and room rates this year have been lower than last year at several five-star hotels. However, he did not mention numbers.
"While the future of the industry looks promising, a lot of effort is needed to promote Vietnam as a destination in the higher spending markets of Europe and North America and for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) as well," he said.
The country's tourism marketing budget is still modest, he said, suggesting taxing five-star-hotel customers to raise more money for it. Different localities having their own logos and slogans is a waste of resources, not to speak of confusion for guests, he said.
A splendid experience for guests with good services, high frequency of flights, and easy visa policy have been key factors that help Thailand attract tourists, he said. That country has set itself a target of 21 million this year, compared to Vietnam's modest 6.5 million, he said.
Twenty years ago Thailand had only seen 6 million tourist arrivals, he said. He pointed out that around half the visitors to Thailand returned, even with friends and family, while the rate is very low for Vietnam.
Grant Thornton's survey of three – to five-star hotels found that last year three-star hotels had the highest occupancy rate of 66.4 per cent. It was 58.9 per cent for four-star hotels and 57.4 per cent for five-star hotels.
The average rate was 60.4 per cent, up 0.7 per cent from 2010. Occupancy edged down in the north and south, but increased by 7.5 per cent in the central and Central Highlands regions. Average room rates rose by 9.1 per cent to US$90.84. The rate was highest in HCM City, at $85.79, followed by Ha Noi and Phan Thiet, with the latter seeing the highest rise.