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Safety, Sea Leisure, Culture and Cuisine... What Attracts Russian Tourists to Visit a Place?

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Based on past years’ experience, Russians give their preference to travel to warm countries such as Vietnam. Therefore, Vietnam is consistently ranked in the top 15 countries of outbound tourism among Russians. How this amazing country attracts tourists from Russia, we learned from Mr. Ha Van Sieu, the Vice Chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

— What are your country's overall inbound tourism statistics and what is Russia's share in it?

— Total tourist arrivals to Vietnam in 2019 were 18,085,591, the number increased by 16.2% compared to 2018. In region Russian tourist arrivals were 646,522, the number increased by 6.6% compared to 2018.

— According to statistics in 2019 tourist flow from Russia to Vietnam is about 3,5% of total tourist arrivals. What are your expectations for its dynamics in 2020?

— 2020 celebrates the 70th years of establishment the traditional friendship and strategic cooperation between Vietnam and the Russian Federation. With the synchronous promotion campaigns of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, tourism associations, localities, enterprises and airlines, we expect the Russian tourist flows to Vietnam will remain its positive growth, reach up to 700,000-800,000 arrivals and account for 4-5% of total international arrivals to Vietnam in 2020.

— Is your country interested in Russian tourist attraction?

— Yes, Vietnam is interested in Russian tourists attraction. Some destinations such as Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa province), Phan Thiet (Binh Thuan province), Phu Quoc Island (Kien Giang province), Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, Phu Yen, Quy Nhon (Binh Dinh province), Ba Ria-Vung Tau are popular with Russian tourists.

Safety, sea leisure, culture and cuisine are the most attractive things in Vietnam for Russian tourists.

Especially, some destinations related to the traditional friendship relation between Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the past and the good cooperation between Vietnam and Russia Federation nowadays are also important factor attracting tourists. The impression of historical figures (namely President Ho Chi Minh whose hometown Nghe An province) and the constructions of bilateral cultural and technological cooperation (such as Vung Tau Petro, Hoa Binh Hydropower…) are also coming into the attention of Russian market.

— How is your region positioned in the global market?

— Vietnam is a safe and friendly destination that focuses on main tourism products such as sea, culture and heritage, cuisine, golf, etc.

In 2018, Vietnam received Asia’s Leading Destination 2018 from World Travel Awards and Asia’s Best Golf Destination 2018 from World Golf Awards.

In 2019, Vietnam received numbers of awards from World Travel Awards (Asia’s Leading Destination 2019; Asia’s Leading Cultural Destination 2019; Asia’s Leading Culinary Destination 2019; Asia’s Leading Cultural City Destination 2019: Hoi An; Leading Heritage Destination 2019; Leading Golf Destination 2019) and World Golf Awards (World’s Best Golf Destination 2019; Asia’s Best Golf Destination 2019).

— Are there any fundamental differences in positioning on the Russian market, or do you act within a single strategic and marketing concept?

— Yes, we have different promotional campaigns targeting Russian market.

Annually, Vietnam Tourism participates in Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (MITT), organises Tourism Roadshows in major cities of Russia (e.g. 2019 in Moscow and Vladivostok) and press trips for Russian media and travel agents to sight-inspect tourism products and services in Vietnam.

In 2020, Vietnam Tourism is going to organise Tourism Roadshows in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

— Who is your target audience in Russia?

— We target medium-income, families and friends segmentations. Main products for these groups are sea leisure and cuisine that are offered under package tours with charter flights.

— Through which channels do you build communication with them (which tools do you use)?

— Besides the traditional offline channels, Vietnam Tourism has established an official promotional website (vietnam.travel) and a Facebook fan page (Vietnam Timeless Charm) for international markets. However, the Russian language is not yet available.

As mentioned above, with the collaboration with Russian partners including travel agents, Vietnam Tourism invites and organises press trips annually for media agents and journalists from Russia to Vietnam for products introduction and promotion.

— What is the role of tour operators and organized tourism in the development of outbound tourism from Russia to Vietnam?

— Vietnam National Administration of Tourism provides direction and guidelines for localities and tourism businesses in enhancing tourism promotion, diversify and expand tourism products, improve tourism infrastructure and establish new luxury hotels for tourists, including Russian.

Tourism businesses, airlines, hotels and local tourism authorities in Vietnam have collaborated with Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to participate and organise promotional booths at tourism fairs, roadshows which introducing destinations, tourism services and cuisine in major cities of Russia; as well as organise familiarisation trips from Russia to Vietnam. These events and occasions are chances for tourism enterprises from both countries to keep contact and cooperate in exchanging tourists and send Russian tourists to Vietnam.

Local tourism authorities and associations also contribute to promotional missions when participating in tourism fairs and tradeshows in Russia.

— How do you distribute the budget for online and offline promotion?

— For the Russian market, the majority of current budget is spent on offline promotion such as attending travel marts and organising roadshows. In the upcoming time, the budget for online promotion will be increased.

— Who are your key competitors in the market today and how do you track their marketing activity in the Russian market?

— Key competitors for the Russian market is the destinations which close to Russia, such as Turkey, Finland, Estonia, Germany, Italy and further popular destinations such as China, Thailand.

— What are the main criteria you use to evaluate the performance of the marketing department of your marketing activities in Russia?

— We track Russian market statistics on Immigration, Accommodation, Services using in Vietnam, comments on social networks.

— Tell us about the best or worst advertising campaign in the Russian market that you conducted.

— Every year, Vietnam Tourism collaborates with Vietnam Airlines to organise Vietnam Tourism booth at MITT in Moscow, aiming to promote Vietnam Tourism presence and introduce the most updated tourism products and services to the Russian market. The travel fair is also a meeting occasion for Vietnam and Russian tourism businesses to work on attracting Russian tourists to Vietnam and maintaining the high growth rate of Russian arrivals.

The limitation of Vietnam Tourism promotional activities to Russian market is that our websites and fan pages are not yet available in Russian language.

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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
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