CELEBRATING 20 YEARS of The Guide Awards

The 20th The Guide Awards ceremony and gala dinner were held by The Guide and Vietnam Economic Times at Flamingo Dai Lai Resort in northern Vinh Phuc province on September 26, with the theme “Vietnam’s Tourism Sector - Capacity to Leapfrog from the Efforts of the Private Sector”.

By JESSICA NGUYEN on October 05,2019 09:34 AM

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS of The Guide Awards


A night to honor and celebrate

First held in 1999, The Guide and Vietnam Economic Times’ The Guide Awards has become a stellar event for domestic and international enterprises, organizations, and individuals in Vietnam’s tourism sector.

Over the course of The Guide Awards’ 20 years, the development of the tourism industry in Vietnam has stemmed from connections between policymakers, experts, and the business community to promote sustainable tourism and deep integration into the global tourism value chain.

In the luxurious and cozy surrounds of the Flamingo Dai Lai Resort’s conference hall, The Guide Awards ceremony was attended by more tourism policymakers than last year’s holding. Distinguished guests included Mr. Nguyen Trung Khanh, Chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Mr. Duong Quang Ung, Deputy Director of the Vinh Phuc Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Ms. Vu Thi Thu Thuy, Vice Chairwoman of the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee, Dr. Tran Dinh Thien member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group and former Director of the Vietnam Economic Institute, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Hung, Standing Member of the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, and representatives from the Government Office, the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, international and local organizations, tourism associations, experts, and the domestic and international business community operating in the field of tourism in Vietnam.

The choice of the theme “Vietnam’s Tourism Sector - Capacity to Leapfrog from the Efforts of the Private Sector” acknowledges and honors the long journey and continual efforts by the private sector to bolster Vietnam’s economy in general and its tourism sector in particular.

Tourism has been identified as a key economic sector, receiving the full attention of the Politburo and government authorities, with a range of important policies and strategies adopted in the recent past to turn tourism into a spearhead economic sector.

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS of The Guide Awards

Vietnam’s tourism sector has indeed transformed strongly, making major strides forward along with other economic sectors and integrating deeply into the global value chain. The country has become an attractive destination for international visitors and this will only continue.

The growth of Vietnam’s tourism industry has boosted capital inflows to develop infrastructure, tourism products and services, and especially the real estate market. Rising numbers of international and domestic tourists in recent times has triggered a wave of investment in hotels, resorts, villas, serviced apartments, condotels, and even commercial townhouses.

In 2011 there were 13,756 tourist accommodation establishments with some 256,000 rooms, while by 2018 this figure had reached 28,000 establishments and 550,000 rooms, representing average growth of 12 per cent each year.

In the first eight months of 2019, Vietnam welcomed 11.3 million foreign visitors, an increase of 8.7 per cent over the same period of 2018, while domestic tourists stood at 59.7 million, with 30.6 million staying at least one night. Total revenue reached VND442.2 trillion ($18.2 billion), an increase of 9.6 per cent compared to the same period of 2018.

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS of The Guide Awards
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS of The Guide Awards

Growth, however, is always accompanied by pressure to ensure sustainable development. Tourism is a particularly sensitive field with elements of human development, culture, the natural environment, and the social environment. Achieving the goal of sustainable tourism development therefore requires more effort based on consensus and synergy between the government, ministries, localities, and businesses.

“The private sector in recent years has made strong moves forward and deserves to become an important pillar and driver of the economy,” Mr. Nguyen Trung Khanh, Chairman of VNAT, told The Guide Awards ceremony. “Private investment capital in 2018 increased 18.5 per cent over 2017, accounting for 43.3 per cent of all social investment and higher than the growth of total social investment of about 11 to 12 per cent.”

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS of The Guide Awards

The Guide Awards 2019 honored 60 enterprises, almost all of which belong to the private sector. Sixty brands in eight groups of products and services were winners, in Serviced Apartments; Hotels; Resorts; Restaurants; Shopping and Healthcare; Tours and Transportation; and Services and Performances. The Top 10 winners of The Guide Awards were presented to renowned hospitality brands such as Vinpearl, FLC Luxury Resorts, Flamingo Dai Lai Resort, JW Marriott Hanoi Hotel, MerPerle Hon Tam Resort, The Reverie Saigon Hotel, Lotte Hotel Hanoi, Paradise Cruises, Azerai La Residence Hue Hotel, and Ashima Mushroom Hotpot Restaurant. Other winners included Daewoo Hanoi Hotel, Fortuna Hanoi Hotel, Emeralda Ninh Binh Resort, and Ngon Restaurant, among others.

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS of The Guide Awards

“Twenty years is a long journey maintaining and developing a professional tourism business community in the value chain and establishing international links, and the awards are a significant achievement for The Guide and for Vietnam Economic Times,” Professor Dao Nguyen Cat, Editor-in-Chief of The Guide and Vietnam Economic Times, told the ceremony. “Your presence here today proves the success of The Guide Awards and also your own success. We have shared enthusiasm and companionship during this 20-year journey, which has helped us carry out our mission of ‘lighting a fire’ in the sector and communicating with people in the tourism sector.”

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS of The Guide Awards

To ensure award winners were selected in a transparent manner, The Guide’s editorial team surveyed destinations, accommodation providers, and tourism products in order to evaluate their operations under strict quality criteria, while also assessing their growth and their corporate social responsibility efforts in the local community. Combined with votes from readers and reviews from experts in the tourism industry, the winners of The Guide Awards were then selected.

Panel Discussion: “Vietnam’s Tourism Sector - Capacity to Leapfrog from the Efforts of the Private Sector” - Difficulties Facing the Private Sector

Within the framework of the 20th holding of The Guide Awards, a panel discussion took place with the participation of Dr. Tran Dinh Thien, a Member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group and former Director of the Vietnam Economic Institute; Ms. Vu Thi Thu Thuy, Vice Chairwoman of Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee; Ms. Le Thi Van Anh, General Director of the Hong Hac Dai Lai Joint Stock Company - Flamingo Holding Group; Ms. Huong Tran Kieu Dung, Vice Chairwoman and General Director of the FLC Group; and Mr. Pham Ha, CEO of the Lux Group and Mr. Nguyen Quang Son, Business Development Director of the Paradise Group. A host of opinions and questions were raised during the discussion.

“The government has identified tourism as a ‘spearhead’ for economic development, increasing budget revenues, so why not ‘economize’ and split tourism into an individual ministry instead of combining it with Culture and Sports? We need our own Minster of Tourism,” said Mr. Ha from the Lux Group.

Meanwhile, Ms. Dung from the FLC Group said that, in recent years, Vietnam’s tourism sector has recorded significant achievements but revenue from tourism is still to reach its full potential. She suggested the government continue investing in developing tourism infrastructure, because “despite the attention already paid, it is still not enough.”

Mr. Nguyen Quang Son from the Paradise Group, which operates luxury cruises on Ha Long Bay, said Quang Ninh province has only utilized its natural beaches so far. He proposed creating artificial beaches, so that visitors have more options. “I hope private enterprises can be more involved,” he said.

Concluding the discussion, Mr. Thien agreed that the government needs to provide more active support to the private sector, especially in the tourism sector.

Mr. Doan Ngoc Xuan, Director of the Department of Socio-Economic Affairs at the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission and member of the National Assembly in charge of monitoring the tourism sector, who directly participated in drafting Resolution No. 8 from the Politburo on developing tourism into a key economic sector, acknowledged the opinions of representatives from the private tourism sector at the discussion and said he expects the private sector will make every effort so that Vietnam will be able to “leapfrog” forward and catch up with Thailand and Singapore’s tourism sectors.

As usual, the 20th The Guide Awards ended with a warm and delightful gala dinner. Participants came to the conclusion that tourism has a “triple mission”: carrying out the task of economic development; promoting the image of the country and its people to the world; and creating spiritual values to improve the lives of Vietnamese people.

Apart from travel agencies, tourism businesses and holidaymakers are important factors in the field of tourism, with specific products and services for tourists being “links” in the tourism value chain. Therefore, the performance of the tourism industry is greatly affected not only by economic development strategies in general and those for tourism in particular, but also from awareness of the missions and roles of tourism enterprises directly involved in tourism activities. “The prestigious The Guide Awards is also an important link that is greatly appreciated by Vietnam’s tourism community,” Mr. Xuan said.

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