HO CHI MINH NATIONAL ACADEMY OF
POLITICS AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
NGUYEN THI HONG LAM
TOURISM ECONOMY IN THE NORTH CENTRAL
REGION IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC
: Political economics
: 62 31 01 01
SUMMARY OF DOCTORIAL (PhD) THESIS IN ECONOMICS
HA NOI – 2013
The thesis is completed at the
Ho Chi Minh National Academy of
Politics and Public Administration
Academic Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. An Nhu Hai
The thesis will be defended in front of a panel of examining judges at
Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration
date month 2013
The thesis is available at: National Library
and Library of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of
Politics and Public Administration
1. The necessity of the research
Tourism is a synthetic industry which is highly intersectoral, interregional and
socialised. Performances of this industry not only meets the rising demand for travel
of human beings but also plays an essential role in the ”on-the-spot export” of goods
and services abroad.
In Vietnam, the tourism industry came into being in 1960, however, until
1990s it was regarded as an economy soon after the country’s open door policy. Since
then, the tourism economy has grown rapidly and attained certain encouraging
The North Central region is an economic zone consisting of Thanh Hoa, Nghe
An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, abounding in
many valuable tourism potentials with diverse natural wonders and cultural identities.
On the other hand, favourable traffic conditions regarding road, rail and waterway
transport facilitates the region’s tourism economy to bring into full play its
advantages and attract tourists.
Over the past years, tourism economy in the North Central provinces has made
a remarkable growth. Nevertheless, the current development of the tourism economy
remains limited in regard to demands for international economic integration and the
region’s potential. The matter here is how to tap into full potential and advantages of
the tourism economy in the whole region to satisfy the demands for international
economic integration to bring about high socio-economic effects? Under such
circumstances, that the PhD candidate chooses the topic: “Tourism economy in the
North Central provinces in international economic integration” which is of not
only theoretical but also practical significance to the development of tourism
economy in the North Central provinces in the coming time.
2. Purpose and task of the research
- Purpose: To accelerate the development of tourism economy in the North
Central provinces in the context of Vietnam’s deeper and greater integration in
international economic relations from the point of political economics.
- Task: 1) To systemize theoretical and practical foundations of tourism
economy in international economic integration of a certain territory in Vietnam from
the point of political economics, 2) To evaluate the reality of tourism economy in
international economic integration in the North Central provinces, and 3) To propose
directions and solutions to promote the development of tourism economy in the North
Central provinces in international economic integration.
3. Subject and scope of the research:
- Subject of the research: All business activities related to tourism economy in
the North Central provinces in international economic integration.
- Scope of the research:
+ Space: The thesis studies tourism economy in the North Central provinces
from economic approaches. The thesis does not study each province individually but
considers each province’s tourism economy as a component of tourism economy of
the whole North Central region.
+ Time scope: The situation of tourism economy from 2000 to the present;
directions and solutions to 2020 with a vision to 2030.
4. Theoretical foundations and research methods of the thesis
- Theoretical foundations:
The Marxism - Leninism, Ho Chi Minh ideology, and standpoints, paths,
renewal policies of the Party and State of Vietnam in regard to tourism economy
- Research methods:
+ Research methods applied include abstractisation, analysis and synthesis, and
logic plus historical background, statistical method, quantitative analysis, and comparative
method; and selectively acquires some results of published scientific studies.
5. Scientific contributions and values of the thesis
1) Systemizing theories of tourism economy in international economic
integration in a certain tourism area in Vietnam from the perspective of political
economics. 2) Selecting lessons drawn from foreign countries’ experience in
developing tourism economy to refer to the case of Vietnam in general and the case
of the North Central region in particular. 3) Assessing the situation of tourism
economy, the thesis analyzes achievements and shortcomings of tourism economy in
the North Central provinces in international economic integration.
Besides the introduction, conclusion, list of reference, and appendix the thesis
comprises four chapters and eleven sections.
OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH ON TOURISM ECONOMY
1.1. FOREIGN STUDIES ON TOURISM ECONOMY
A number of typical foreign researches focusing on tourism and tourism
economy include: 1) The book “Tourism in Developing Countries” by Martin
Oppermann and Kye - Sung Chon, was published in 1997 by International Thomson
Business Press. 2) The research:“The Business of Rural Tourism International
Perspectives” by co-authors Stephen J. Page and Don Getz, was printed by
International Thomson Business Press in 1997. 3) The research: “Commercial
Recreation & Tourism - An Introduction to Business Oriented Recreation” by Susan
A.Weston, was printed in 1996 by Brown & Benchmark. 4) The research: “Managing
Tourism” was written in 1991 by Prof. S. Medlik and reprinted in 1995 by
Butterworth - Heinemann. 5) The work: “The Economics of Leisure and Tourism” by
John Tribe was published by Butterworth - Heinemann Ltd in 1995, etc.
1.2. DOMESTIC RESEARCHES ON TOURISM ECONOMY
1.2.1. Scientific researches and PhD theses
There has been a great number of researches on tourism and tourism economy
in Vietnam so far. Regarding these areas, it should be noted the scientific researches
and PhD theses as followed: 1) Ministerial-leveled work (2007): “Research develops
Vietnam’s tourism products of high competitiveness in the region and in the world”,
is carried out by a group of authors, led by Dr. Do Cam Tho, from the Institute for
Tourism Development Research. 2) Ministerial-level research (2008):“Scientific
ground to develop coastal tourism in the North Central region”, is carried out by a
group of authors led by Assoc Prof. and Dr. Pham Trung Luong of the National
Institute for Tourism Development Research. 3) Ministerial-level research (2011)
“The status quo of and solutions to develop national sea tourism regions in the North
Central region”, is carried out by a group of authors led by Dr. Nguyen Thu Hanh, of
the Institute for Tourism Development Research. 4) The Vietnam National
Administration of Tourism’s research: “Policy and solutions to promote tourism
development in the central and Central Highlands region” (2001). 5) The report:
“Master plan on tourism development in the North Central region to 2020, with a
vision to 2030” (2012) by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. 6) Thesis of
economics by Hoang Thi Ngoc Lan of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of
Politics and Public Administration, Ha Noi (2007), “Ha Tay’s tourism market”, etc.
1.2.2. Researches in the form of books and other publications
Among these publications, those focusing tourism and tourism economy so far
include: 1) The book “Tourism market” by Nguyen Van Luu, Ha Noi National
Publishing House, 2009. 2) The “Tourism economy syllabus” book is written by Prof.,
Dr. NguyenVan Dinh and Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Van Dinh and published by the
National Economics University, Ha Noi, in 2008. 3) The “Travel Business
Management Syllabus” text book by co-authors Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Van Manh
and Assoc. Prof., Dr. Pham Hong Chuong, National Economics University’s
Publishing House, Ha Noi, 2009, etc. In addition, on the national scientific research
forum there are numerous articles related to tourism economy in the context of
international economic integration, notably: “Tourism Development in the North
Central Region: Issues raised”(2010) by Assoc. Prof., Dr. Pham Trung Luong at the
workshop on “Orientations of Tourism Development in the North Central Region”
organised in Vinh City, Nghe An Province. “Tourism Development in the Greater
Mekong Subregion” (2010) by Dr. Nguyen Van Dung and MA Nguyen Tien Luc,
Vietnam Tourism Magazine, 10th edition. “Tourism Development in the Greater
Mekong Subregion” (2010) by Dr. Nguyen Van Dung and MA Nguyen Tien Luc,
Vietnam Tourism Magazine, 10th edition, etc.
1.3 GENERAL RESULTS OF PUBLISHED STUDIES AND ISSUES
RAISED FOR FURTHER STUDY ON TOURISM ECONOMY
1.3.1. General results of published studies associated with tourism
The authors focus on key issues as followed: 1) The authors define fundamental
characteristics of tourism economy with comprehension related to tourism economy:
concept of tourism, tourism economy, ecotourism, tourists, competition ability of
tourism destination, tourism human resources, State management of tourism economy,
etc. 2) Characteristics, situation, and development trends of tourism economy in
nations all over the world at present. 3) The authors analyse, specify tourism products,
tourism product mechanism, the role of components of tourism products, the role of
tourism economy to the socio-economic development of the nation and regions in
regards to component factors of tourism supply and demand. 4) The reality of tourism
market in some cities and provinces in Vietnam. 5) Numerous solutions to diversify
and increase the quality of tourism products in some provinces in Vietnam.
Nevertheless, in regards to theory, published scientific researches have not
specified concepts of tourism economy from the perspective of political economics,
and typical features of tourism economy; have not analysed systematically
components of tourism economy, the relation between tourism economy and socioeconomic development, and factors influencing tourism economy in the international
economic integration. The researches have not analysed to the full opportunities and
challenges of the international economic integration to Vietnam’s tourism economy
in general and to the North Central region’s tourism economy in particular.
Regarding practical approach, the researches have not mentioned to the full
and comprehensively the reality of tourism economy in the North Central region. The
authors have not analysed comprehensively the new economic context of tourism
economy in the North Central provinces in the international economic integration.
Also, the authors have not presented systematically targets, orientations, and
solutions to develop tourism economy in the North Central provinces in the context
of international economic integration.
In order to help with addressing the problem, the subject: “Tourism Economy
in the North Central Provinces in International Economic Integration” that the
postgraduate has chosen to study is new, and of theoretical and practical significance.
1.3.2. Issues raised for further study: 1) Specifying theories of tourism economy
and tourism economy development in the new context of national and international
situations, and international economic integration from the perspective of political
economics. 2) Studying lessons of success and unsuccessfulness from nations worldwide on the current tourism economy development in the international economic
integration to draw valuable lessons of experience for Vietnam in general and for the
North Central region in particular to learn from. 3) Specifying the reality of tourism
economy in the North Central provinces and indicate strengths and limitations in the
development process of this economic sector to propose objectives, orientations, and
solutions to accelerate development in the time to come.
THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL GROUNDS OF TOURISM ECONOMY
IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION
2.1 TOURISM ECONOMY AND COMPONENTS OF TOURISM
2.1.1 Tourism and tourism economy
From the perspective of political economics, and views it as the general of
phenomena and economic relations which arise from the mutual influences between
tourists, tourism businesspeople, local authorities, and local community in the
process of attracting and retain tourists. Tourism is an activity of many specific
characteristics with many participating components, thus, making itself a very
complicated general. Tourism operation bears both characteristics of an economic
sector, and of an economic-social sector.
Tourism product and its typical features
Tourism products are “services and commodities provided to tourists are
produced through the combination of exploiting natural and social factors with
material and technical facilities as well as labour forces in an establishment, a region
or a country.
Characteristics of tourism products: Apart from common features of ordinary
commodities, tourism products are characterised by special features as followed:
Firstly, once an ordinary commodity is sold to a buyer its values will vanish slowly or
even be lost after the first use, whilst the values of tourism products are not. The
tourism products’ values will exist in the feelings and evaluations of tourists and the
values can even be acknowledged through the tourists’ words of mouth. Secondly, the
consumption of tourism products does not occur regularly but during certain time in a
day (in regards to products offered at a restaurant), in a week (in regards to products
offered at the year-end tourism season), during a year (in regards to products of some
tourism categories: mountain tourism, and beach tourism, etc...). It is the very these
characteristics that tourism is a highly seasonal operation.
In facts, in the tourism product mechanism, tourism services make up a
considerable percentage (about 80-90%), therefore, it is extremely important to find
out about and properly assess characteristics of tourism products.
Tourism service and its typical features
Tourism service is “the supply of services on travel, transport, accommodation,
food and beverage, amusement, recreation, information, guidance, and other services
to meet the demands of tourists.
Tourism is a type of services which contains common features of services and
typical features of its own: the intangibility of services, the synchronism of tourism
service production and consumption, the involvement of tourists in the production of
services, the immovability of tourism services, the ownership unchangability of
tourism services, and the unequability of the quality.
Types of tourism
Depending on different modes of classification, tourism can be classified as
follows: 1) In regard to territorial scope of travel, tourism is divided into international
and domestic tourism. 2) In regard to tourists’ demands, tourism can be: medical
tourism, recreational and relaxation tourism, excursions tourism, sports tourism, MICE
(meetings, incentives, conference, and exhibitions), and spiritual tourism, etc. 3) In
regard to geographical position of the destination: mountain tourism, beach tourism,
river tourism, lake tourism, city tourism, and countryside tourism. 4) In regard to
means of transport facilitating tourists’ travel: tourism by bicycle, motorbikes,
automobiles, train, and airplane. 5) In regard to the tour organisation, tourism is
divided into group and individual tourism. 6) In regard to the length of tourists’
travel, tourism is divided into short-day and long-day tourism, etc.
184.108.40.206. Tourism economy
Tourism economy is an economic relation in the field of tourism product supply
and consists of relations among travel business, tourism lodging service business,
tourism transport business, tourism area and tourism spot development, and other
tourism services business in order to satisfy the spiritual demand of tourists and bring
bout significant social, economic and political benefits for the tourism enterprises and
the country. Tourism economy is a non-smoke industry and a nonmaterial production
area but brings about huge material and spiritual values.
Tourism economy is a service industry with typical characteristics: being
sensitive, highly synthetic, multidisciplinary, multi-sector, expenditure-oriented,
interregional and seasonal. On the basis of the objectives of tourism businesses in the
world in general and the Law of Tourism in Vietnam in particular, indicators to evaluate
tourism economy may include: tourists, earnings from tourists, tourism industry’s
gross products, and tourism economy effects, etc.
2.1.2. Tourism economy components
Tourism economy is a synthetic industry consisting of relations between such
major sectors and businesses as follows:
220.127.116.11. Travel business
In fact, related to the travel business, tourism experts often mention major
operations as “trading and signing business contracts with internal and external
tourism business organisations to build and implement tours which have been sold to
tourists”. However, the fact indicates that the travel business mainly involves the two
popular operations: travel business and travel agency business.
18.104.22.168. The business of tourism accommodation
Accommodation establishments are those who rent out bedrooms to tourists
and provide other services to satisfy tourists’ demands during their stay, in which
hotel is the most popular type of lodging. Accommodation business is one of
important sectors contributing considerable income for tourism economy.
22.214.171.124. The business of tourist transportation
The business of tourist transport is an operation enabling tourists to move from
their living place to a tourism site as well as to move within the tourism site. There is
a number of means of transport available to serve this business, namely automobiles,
train, ships, and airplane.
126.96.36.199. The business of tourism area and tourism site development
The business of tourism area and tourism site development takes into account:
the investment to preserve and upgrade available tourism resources; tapping the full
potential of available tourism resources for development new tourism area and site;
and building tourism infrastructure, and material and technical facilities.
188.8.131.52. The business of other tourism services
Apart from business operations mentioned above, tourism economy
components also include the business of recreational activities, advertisement,
promotion, and tourism investment consultancy, etc.
2.2. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TOURISM ECONOMY AND
SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND FACTOS AFFECTING
TOURISM ECONOMY IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION
2.2.1. The relationship between tourism economy and socio-economic development
184.108.40.206. The influence of tourism economy on socio-economic development:
1) The development of tourism economy contributes to enhancing the economic
growth; 2) Tourism economy develops will advance the transition of the national
economic structure; 3) The development of tourism economy contributes to boosting
domestic and foreign investment, which eventually increases the whole economy’s
total demand; 4) The development of tourism economy contributes to promoting and
developing other economic relationships including the relations in investment cooperation, production co-operation, trading, and services between economic subjects
and components; 5) The development of tourism economy increases social
employment and income; 6) The attraction and expansion of international tourists, the
development of tourism economy will be a vital information channel to promote the
host country’s images.
220.127.116.11. The socio-economic impacts on the development of tourism economy:
The development of economic sectors like industry, agriculture and handicrafts, etc
will help improve the society’s material-technical facilities, contributing to enhancing
the quality of services in the chain of tourism services. The development of social
sectors such as culture, education, and health, etc will promote the attractiveness, and
competitiveness of destination brands for tourism economy. Other sectors including
telecommunications, electronics, traffic and transport, etc develop will help promote
tourism brand names, introduce tourism products, and connect tours for tourism
economy. Other service sectors including finance, banking, securities and insurance,
etc, if well-developed, will be a major supporting force for the development of
tourism economy. Thus, the general socio-economic development will help enhance
the infrastructure, intellectual standards of people, and convenient services, etc,
speeding up the development of tourism economy.
2.2.2. Factors affecting tourism economy in the international economic
18.104.22.168. The State role in tourism economy development
* The State creates the socio-economic and political environment.
Political environment is presented first and foremost through the nation’s
system of legislation, policy and institution. A peaceful and stable politics will be an
important premise for the country’s development in general and the development of
tourism economy in particular.
The socio-economic environment of tourism economy is presented through the
development level of sectors and the labour output of the home country. Tourism
economy is a synthetic industry, thus, it can only develop when other industries
* The State maps out development strategy and planning for tourism economy.
Tourism economy development strategy is a component of the State and Party’s
socio-economic development strategies. It is a tool to provide a long-term vision of
the performance of tourism economy in a particular period of time.
Tourism planning is a collection of theoretical and practical foundations to be
involved in collective or separate tourism sites associated with the investment and
production process. If tourism planning is done well, this will help increase tourism
benefits and minimise negative effects that tourism economy may have on local
communities and enterprises.
22.214.171.124. Potentials of resources for tourism economy development
The potentials of resources for the development of tourism economy includes
tourism resources, financial resources, and human resources for tourism performance.
Tourism resources are essential to the scale, quality and the uniqueness of
tourism products. The richer and more diverse tourism resources are, the more they
absorb tourists both internally and externally.
Human resources for tourism: If a nation or an enterprise builds up a highquality human resource, this is an essential factor to create tourism products of high
quality, promoting the competitiveness of the tourism destination in general and of
each enterprise in particular.
Capital resource is of significant influence on the development of tourism
economy. Tourism economy is competitive and appealing to tourists or not, largely
depending on the modernity of material and infrastructure facilities and tourism
accommodation establishments. The modernity of material and infrastructure
facilities and tourism accommodation establishments completely relies on the scale
and efficient usage of investment capital.
126.96.36.199. The scale and quality of suppliers of tourism products and services
The quantity, scale and quality of suppliers of tourism products and
services have an important affect on the development of tourism economy. If
tourism enterprises provide products and services seasonal, suitable to tourist tastes
with a competitive price will certainly appeal to tourists and be able to keep them stay
longer. In addition, if tourism enterprises co-exist and develop will create a fair
competition to promote the quality of services.
188.8.131.52. International economic integration and its impacts on tourism economy
- International economic integration is a process nations initiatively connect
their own economy with the regional and international economies through efforts to
liberalise the economy and mitigate the difference to become an integrated part of the
- International economic integration creates both opportunities for a nation to
develop tourism economy and challenges in the development process.
+ Opportunities: i, opportunity to increase international tourism share; ii,
opportunity to reform; iii, opportunity to expand the market and develop new forms
of tourism; iv, new competition opportunities for tourism economy in countries all
over the world; v, opportunity to build an efficient supporting policy system, etc.
+ Challenges: i, to conserve traditional cultural values; ii, to increase
environmental pressure; and iii, fiercer competition, etc
DEVELOPMENT THAT VIETNAM IN GENERAL AND THE NORTH
CENTRAL PROVINCES IN PARTICULAR CAN LEARN FROM
2.3.1. The State pays attention to developing tourism economy, regarding it as
a non-smoke industry: i, the role of tourism economy in socio-economic development
policy should be seriously considered; ii, a country should have national policies for the
development of tourism economy and highly regard tourism economy strategies.
2.3.2. Experience in programming tourism promotion and marketing
activities: i, well implement strategies of marketing and promoting products and
destinations; ii, attach much importance to investment for tourism promotion
2.3.3. Experience in training human resources for tourism economy: i,
attaching much importance to foster and use tourism human resources; ii, paying due
attention to training professional tour guides.
2.3.4. Construct and diversify tourism products: i, bringing into full play
cultural values, faiths, and other attractions in constructing tourism products; ii,
attaching much importance to enhancing the competitiveness of tourism products; iii,
establishing and developing tourism products are prioritised in the tourism economy
development strategy; iv, attaching much importance to supplying supportive services
for tourism economy; v, experience of an excellent tourism operator, etc.
2.3.5. Experience from association and co-operation in tourism economy
development: Those with a developed tourism industry like Singapore and Thailand,
etc have associated and co-operated with each other for many years. They work
together to link tours and to produce typical and special tourism products for each
nation, lower tour price and create a level competitive price, etc to attract
2.3.6. Experience of visa waiver for tourists, creating a stable political
environment, ensuring security and safety of tourists: Visa waiver for tourists is a
strategic policy to attract international tourists. On the other hand, political stability,
peace and clean ecological environment are ideal conditions for tourist attraction.
These experiences are precious lessons for not only Vietnam but also the North
Central provinces, which they should and need to learn from for the development of
tourism economy in the international economic integration. Nevertheless, Vietnam in
general and the North Central provinces in particular should pay attention to special
characteristics of their own to put forward proper development policies to bring about
the desired effects for tourism economy.
REAL SITUATION OF THE TOURISM ECONOMY IN THE NORTH
CENTRAL REGION IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION
3.1. IMPACTS OF NATURAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
IN THE NORTH CENTRAL PROVINCES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF
THEIR TOURISM ECONOMY
3.1.1. Natural and socio-economic conditions in the North Central
184.108.40.206. Natural conditions
The North Central Region is narrow, in terms of its horizontal line. The region
is located between the Tam Diep mountain range in the North and the Bach Ma
mountain range in the South which is the natural border between the region and the
Costal South Central Region. The region, consisting of six provinces, namely Thanh
Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien – Hue, is 52,534.2
square kilometres in area. To the West, the region is bordered by the Truong Son
mountain range, while to the North it borders the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Vietnam’s North-West Region and the Red River Delta are also on the North of the
region. To the South, it borders the Costal South Central Region, while the East Sea
is on the East of the region. The region is rather rich of natural tourism resources as
well as humanity tourism resources, favourable for tourism economy development.
220.127.116.11. Socio-economic conditions
With a population of approximately 16,556,700 people, there have been positive
changes in the region’s socio-economic development in recent years. All achievements
have been made in the field of socio-economy, national defence and public security. As
a result of market-oriented adjustments of economic structure, private and foreign
invested sectors represented a higher ratio while that of state-own (at both central and
local levels) and collective sectors was lower. In addition to the adjustments of
economic structure, labour force structure has been reformed accordingly.
3.1.2. Advantages and limitations from natural and socio-economic
conditions for development of tourism economy in the North Central provinces
The North Central region has a rich and diversified tourism potential representatives
of which are 6 world heritage sites, recognised by the UNESCO, namely ancient
imperial city of Hue, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, the Royal Refined Music
of Hue, Ho Dynasty Citadel. In addition, the woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty are also
recognised by UNESCO as a “World Documentary Heritage”.
18.104.22.168. Limitations and disadvantages
Apart from above-mentioned advantages, the North Central region’s tourism
economy, with the tendency of international economic integration, is facing lots of
difficulties and obstacles as following: The North Central region is located in an area
most directly affected by natural disasters as storms, floods, hot and dry winds.
Although the GDP per capita in the region has been increased, but still lower than
that of the nation. In the process of transition to a market economy, there were not
enough skilled and experienced workers, etc. This certainly poses challenges for the
tourism economy development in the region.
3.2. REAL SITUATION OF THE TOURISM ECONOMY IN THE
NORTH CENTRAL PROVINCES IN THE FRAMEWORK OF
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION SINCE 2000 UNTIL
3.2.1. Real situation of travel business
At present, in association with investment projects for socio-economic
development in their respective provinces, domestic travel agents operating in Ha Tinh,
Quang Tri and Thua Thien - Hue have done market reach in Northeast Asia. As a
result, the number of foreign tourists increased.. In the mean time, some agents became
more dynamic in doing business, thus drawing more tourists from Northeast Thailand
and South Laos (with caravan type) through Lao Bao and Cau Treo border gates.
The North Central provinces saw a rising number of domestic and international
visitors in recent years. Proportions of tourists have positively changed in favour of the
region’s tourism economy. It is shown in the following figures:
+ International arrivals in the North Central region
Figure 3.1 : The number of international arrivals in the North Central region
(2000 - 2011)
Unit: A thousand visitors
Source: Data: Institute for Tourism Development Research
Conducted by: PhD candidate
Table 3.3: International arrivals to the North Central region in comparison with
other regions in the country (2000 - 2011)
Source: Institute for Tourism Development Research.
+ Domestic arrivals to the North Central region
Figure 3.4: The number of domestic arrivals to the North Central region (2000 - 2011)
Unit: A thousand tourists
Source: Data: Institute for Tourism Development Research.
Conducted by: PhD candidate
Figure 3.5: Domestic arrivals to the North Central region in comparison
with other regions (2000 - 2011)
Unit:a thousand tourists
Source : Institute for Tourism Development Research.
3.2.2. Reality of tourism business in accommodation
In terms of quantity, in 2000, the total number of accommodation establishments
in the region stood at 421, offering 9,337 already rooms to serve tourists. In 2005, the
figure was more than two folds at 882 units with 19,668 rooms. In 2011, the sum
reached 1,915 with 39,145 rooms, four times more than the 2000 figure.
Regarding quality, accommodation has seen improvement in accordance with
the growth in number, which is presented through the following tables:
Table 3.2: Quality of accommodation establishments in the North Central region
(2009 – 2011)
Source: Institute for Tourism Development Research.
3.2.3. Reality of business in tourist transportation
In recent years, especially since 2000, along with the national course of
renovation, services for tourist transportation nationwide in general and in the
northern central provinces in particular have shown positive development. Means of
transport for tourism have evolved into diverse range of types, quality and quantity:
aviation transport, land transport, rail transport and water transport.
3.2.4. Reality of the development of tourism zones, destination and
- Tourism activities in the northern central provinces are devided into four
groups with respective tourism products including : (i), sea resorts mainly found in
Sam Son, Cua Lo, Thien Cam, Lang Co, Dong Hoi ; (ii), heritage tourism : the
ancient citadel of Hue ; (iii), ecotourism : Phong Nha-Ke Bang ; (iv), historical site
tourism : Kim Lien – Nam Dan, Quang Tri Citadel, Truong Son national cemetary,
Vinh Moc underground tunnels, Dong Loc intersection.
- Reality of tourism products in the northern central provinces on offerings:
Table 3.3: The production of tourism products in the North Central provinces
from 2000 to present
Province Major products
- Beach tourism: Sam Son beach
- Cultural tourism: tours to learn about culture
and history at Ho Citadel , Lam Kinh relic, Ham
Rong cultural relic, Tu Thuc Cave – Mai An
Tiem Temple, Cam Luong spring
- Ecotourism: tours to visit and learn about the
ecosystem of the Ben En National Park, Pu
Luong Nature Reserve.
- Tours to Na Meo international border gate.
Nghe An - Beach tourism: Cua Lo and Hon Me beaches,
- Cultural tourism: tours to learn about culture
and history at Kim Lien – Nam Dan relic
- Ecotourism: tours to learn about the ecosystem
at Pu Mat National Park;
- Tours to Nam Can international border gate.
Ha Tinh - Beach tourism: Thien Cam beach
- Cultural tourism:
+ Tours to Nguyen Du National Relic;
+ Culture and education tours to Dong Luc
- Traditional festivals:
Lam Kinh Festival, Ba
Trieu Festival, Na Palace
Festival, Song Temple
Festival, Mai An Tiem
- Tour to Dong Son
- Cuong Temple Festival;
- Tours to coastal islands;
- Travel by boat on Lam
- Ecotourism: Vu Quang
National Park, Ke Go
Province Major products
worshiping Tran Phu and
+ Huong (Perfume) Pagoda Festival;
Ha Huy Tap (former
- Tours to visit, shop and transit at Cau Treo general secretaries of the
international border gate.
Vietnam), and Ha Tinh
City’s relic complex;
- Tours to visit craft
carpentry, Trung Luong
- Mountain climbing: Hong
- Ecotourism: Phong Nha – Ke bang caves;
- Traditional festivals: boat
- Beach tourism: Nhat Le and Da Nhay beaches; racing
- Cultural tourism: tours to visit Dong Hoi City’s March Full Moon festival;
- Beach sports activities;
- Tours to visit and transit at Cha Lo international - Relaxation and medical
tourism at Bang hot spring;
- Ecotourism at Mooc
Cultural tourism: tours to visit, study historical and - Shopping
revolutionary relics, spiritual education at a system - Cuisine
of relics associated with the American war.
Beach tourism: Cua Tung and Cua Viet beaches;
Tours to visit, shop and transit at Lao Bao
international border gate;
Ecotourism: tours to learn about the ecosystem at
Con Co Island.
- Boat tours on Huong
Thien – + Tours to visit and study cultural heritage sites River;
(the Hue Complex of Monuments, The Royal - Medical tourism at My
An mineral water and mud
+ Spiritual tourism;
- Tours to visit craft
Beach tourism: Lang Co and Canh Duong villages;
- Ecotourism at house
- Ecotourism: Bach Ma National Park, Tam
Source: Institute for Tourism Development Research.
3.2.5. Reality of relations between tourism economy and other sectors
Relation between tourism economy and cultural sector; ii, Relation between
tourism economy and forestry industry; iii, Relation between tourism economy and
transport sector; iv, Relation between tourism economy and irrigation and
aquaculture; v, Relation between tourism economy and industry in terms of
exploiting minerals and construction materials.
3.3. ASSESSMENT OF THE SITUATION OF TOURISM ECONOMY
OF THE NORTHERN CENTRAL PROVINCES IN THE INTERNATIONAL
ECONOMIC INTEGRATION FROM 2000 TO PRESENT
3.3.1. Achievements gained from tourism economy in the northern central
provinces in all areas: Firstly, significant increase in income generated from
tourists. Secondly, there has been a shift in the structure of total earnings from tourists
in the overall map of earnings in the North Central provinces. Thirdly, structure of
total earnings from tourists by economic sector has also undergone changes in a
positive manner. Fourthly, increasingly attracting labour to accommodation
establishments. Fifthly, increased investment into the development of tourism
economy. Sixthly, the tourism economy has contributed to the socio-economic
development of the northern central provinces.
3.3.2. Shortcomings: Firstly, regarding the market, although there have been
many changes in the market structure of tourists; the northern central provinces have
failed to appeal those from the high-end markets. The proportion of tourists remains
unchanged and tends to be long stayed and scale of expenditure by tourists is still
low. Secondly, tourism products in the region are lack of uniqueness and high
competitiveness. Thirdly, the economic structure has been shifted in the positive
direction but the speed is still slow, falling short of desire. Fourthly, the operation of
travel agencies in the Northern central provinces is sparse, unprofessional coupled
with ineffective performance and weakness in competitiveness and reaching out
foreign markets. Fifthly, the capacity of international tourism integration is limited.
3.3.3. Reasons for shortcomings
- Subjective reasons: 1) The tourism economy in the northern central
provinces faces fierce competition against other players. 2) Tourism resources are
scattered sparsely. 3) The infrastructure in the northern central provinces is not
synchronized. 4) System of accommodation establishments is small scaled and
inconvenient. 5) Tourism economy in the northern central provinces is under impacts
of the climate change.
- Objective reasons: 1) The scale of quality of communications and promotion
campaigns for tourism are poor. 2) Capacity of human resources for tourism economy
in the northern central provinces is inadequate while the structure is unsound. 3)
Management capacity in the tourism economy is incapable, failing to reach the
demand. 4) Investment into the tourism economy is still inappropriate. 5) The
importance of international cooperation in tourism business is underestimated. 6)
Tourism environment shows shortcomings.
DIRECTIONS AND SOLUTIONS TO IMPROVED DEVELOPMENT OF
TOURISM ECONOMY IN THE NORTH CENTRAL PROVINCES IN
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION
4.1. Context and directions to develop tourism economy in the North
Central provinces to 2020 with a vision to 2030
4.1.1. The new context of tourism economy in the North Central provinces
22.214.171.124. The international context
Vietnam’s commitments to: the ASEAN member countries and the multilateral
126.96.36.199. National context
- New opportunities: i, Vietnam has always actively into the regional and
global economy both in depth and on wide scale as well as boost bilateral
cooperations. ii, After the global financial crisis, Vietnam has reformed economic
structure. iii, Vietnam is boosting up industrialization, modernization process in line
with developing knowledge economy. iv, Local government’s awareness at all level
and people’s awareness in the North Central provinces have increased significantly.
- Difficulties and challenges: i, Exploitation of natural resources, landscape,
tourism environment and human resource is not compatible with potentials. ii,
Human resource in tourism industry has not met the requirements for professional
and practical skills, integration, and connection to global market. iii, Capability of
capital resource and technology is still limited. iv, The pressure of intensive
international competition, etc.
4.1.2. Directions to develop tourism economy in the North Central
provinces to 2020 with a vision to 2030
188.8.131.52. Development of tourism products: 1) Development of tourism
activities in heritage sites associated with promoting marine tourism. 2) Development
of tourism product through tourism types. 3) Development of other tourism products.
184.108.40.206. Increasing investment to develop tourism economy: Raising
investment capital for tourism economic development from the different resources.
North Central provinces should invest resouces in targeted projects and programs in