The tourism sector must apply digital transformation to secure sustainable development, according to dozens of participants at a forum on the topic held in Ha Noi on May 18.
Titled “Green Light for Tourism to Take Off Part 2: Digital Transformation: Diving Force for Sustainable Development”, the forum gathered dozens of experts from State management agencies, tourism authorities, localities, and IT.
The first part of the forum held in March focused on opening doors to international tourists.
Hoang Quang Phong, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce Industry, said at the end of 2018, the Prime Minister issued Decision No 1671/QD-TTg approving the "Master plan on applying informatics technology in the tourism field for 2018-2020, with orientation to 2025."
"Informatics technology has been applied in various tourism companies, especially hotels, resorts and big travel agencies," Phong said.
However, he said there had been no uniform application in the whole sector.
Phong noted that the pandemic had seen the biggest ever purge in the field.
"Digital transformation has been proved to be crucial to all the fields if they want to move forward in the Fourth Industry Revolution," he said.
“The pandemic has pushed all tourism companies and localities to choose: digital transformation or die."
Digital transformation has helped tourism enterprises flexibly react to the changes in the market, he said. Based on available data, tourism workers could still communicate with customers to understand their psychology, behaviours and demands to introduce suitable products.
Phong said not only enterprises but also locations needed to go through digital transformation to bring convenient and safe experiences to customers, like remote guide systems, QR codes introducing displayed objects, and automatic facilities to help customers send comments on service quality to managing boards.
"We can see that the tourism sector has been active in digital transformation and the Fourth Industry Revolution, aiming to form a smart tourism ecology linking participants from tourists, service providers to State management agencies, he said.
Nguyen Le Phuc, deputy general director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), shared the same idea that digital transformation will bring an opportunity for the tourism sector to develop more sustainably.
Phuc said in the past few months, the VNAT has concentrated on establishing a smart tourism ecology to create a "common playground" for localities and enterprises.
The VNAT has built a data system for Vietnamese tourism; established information connections among management agencies, localities and enterprises; applied technology to ensure safe tourism; pushed up the use of apps among management agencies, enterprises and tourists like the apps including "Safe Viet Nam Tourism," "Viet Nam Travel Guide," and "COVID-19 Registration & Safety Judgement;" and supported localities and destinations to embrace digital transformation, such as Ha Giang Province and Thanh Hoa Province in 2021.
At the same forum, other experts in IT and tourism admitted that digital transformation was now crucial as tourist habits had changed.
More and more tourists have been booking services online.
Nguyen Quyet Tam, director of Vietso, also the founder of TravelMasters, held that to build the foundation for digital transformation, first and foremost, the tourism sector should have a common technical criteria system so that different platforms can share data.
"Data built at localities and enterprises are not following any same standard," he said.
The VNAT has noted the opinion and will gradually complete the common platform on tourism business management, which is scheduled to be launched in December.
Enterprises need more support
Do Hong Xoan, chairperson of the Viet Nam Hotels Association, said three-quarters of tourism enterprises are small and medium-sized and need more support in the process.
"Small and medium-sized enterprises have been bogged down with various difficulties as digital transformation should be uniformed across State policies, ministry decisions, VNAT policies, association policies, and locality policies," she said.
"They need more help from agencies to apply the digital transformation," she said.
The Selection for National Distinguished Tourism Service Providers 2022 was launched at the same forum to praise enterprises making considerable contributions to tourism market development. All tourists and enterprises throughout the country can cast their votes.
The Dien dan Doanh nghiep magazine, based on judgements of experts in the field, will announce the result and hand the certifications to top selected tourism enterprises later this year. — VNS
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