Vietnam, tourism, overtourism, hotels, supply, oversupply, development, sustainable, Halong Bay, Danang, Phu Quoc
Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Hotel investors warn Vietnam about “crazy” growth

With a 43% rise in room keys, there are fears for the future in places like Halong Bay, Danang and Phu Quoc.

Hotel investors do not believe that the bubble will burst for Vietnam despite a 43% increase in the number of room keys this year (35,000 additional keys), but they warn that its tourist areas face ruin unless planning is made more sustainable.

Phu Quoc is a Boracay in the making, says Kenneth Atkinson, executive chairman of Grant Thornton Vietnam, “because there is no solid waste management at all”, as quoted in TTG Asia.

“You’ve got 17,500 hotel rooms in three- to five-star – that’s more than Sydney has. You have an airport with a capacity for 2.5 million people a year. There are 100,000 inhabitants on the island and you’re going to need at least 25,000-30,000 people to work in hotels alone.”

He points to “serious labour shortage and infrastructure problems, particularly waste management, which is becoming a serious issue on the island”.

“Hideous” in Halong Bay
Atkinson was on a panel at the Southeast Asia Hotel Investors’ Summit in Bangkok. At the event, moderator David Keen, chief executive of Quo Global, expressed his worries about Vietnam’s “crazy” growth describing Halong Bay as becoming “hideous, frankly”.

He asked: “If we look at Phu Quoc, Ho Tram, Danang, Hoi An, there is little planning ahead. What’s going to happen to these gorgeous destinations?”

In Danang, real estate developers are competing to build bigger skyscrapers, while in Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Atkinson describes the number of visitors and buses as “horrifying”.

Increasingly large-volume markets like China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are pushing an over-excited private sector in Vietnam to market the country’s destinations ever-more aggressively.

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