Phu Quoc tourism shows signs of revival
Update: Feb 19, 2024
After a period of stagnation, tourism in Phu Quoc (Kien Giang province) is experiencing a resurgence at the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024.

Thai tourists visit Phu Quoc during the 2024 Lunar New Year.

This progress stems from the joint efforts and high determination of the Government, tourism sector, businesses, and local residents in implementing revitalization measures for the 'Pearl Island'.

Surge in international tourists

In stark contrast to the quiet atmosphere of just a few months ago, Phu Quoc is now bustling with activity on its streets, beaches, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues.

Kim Chung Hee, a visitor from South Korea, explained that he and his family chose Phu Quoc after considering three different destinations in three different countries. 'We opted for Phu Quoc for its beautiful weather and scenery this season. Also, with Vietnam gearing up for the traditional Tet holiday, we wanted to immerse ourselves in this cultural experience, especially after hearing from a friend about the rich traditions of Tet in Vietnam,' shared Kim Chung Hee.

Truong Xuan Linh, a tour guide at Viet Phu Tourism Company in Phu Quoc, shared that since Christmas 2023, she and her colleagues have been consistently busy due to the significant rise in tourist arrivals, particularly from Thailand, Malaysia, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, Poland, and the US.

"Most tourists arriving in Phu Quoc have already booked accommodations through the Tet holiday. Besides visiting and relaxing at Sao Beach and Khem Beach, they also explore traditional craft villages producing fish sauce and rose myrtle wine and savor traditional island dishes like 'bun quay' and seafood porridge," Linh explained. However, she noted that while there had been a sharp increase in international tourists during the days leading up to Tet, domestic tourists remained scarce, making up only about 30 percent of the total arrivals.

A representative from the Department of Tourism of Kien Giang Province disclosed that from the 2024 New Year to the Lunar New Year, the occupancy rate of accommodations in Phu Quoc was notably high. Specifically, in the 4-5-star segment, the average occupancy rate exceeded 60 percent, with some establishments reaching as high as 97 percent occupancy. It is projected that room bookings will continue to rise after Tet, particularly from domestic tourists, drawn by the island's post-Tet favorable weather and its appeal as a spring vacation destination.

Ms. Quang Xuan Lua, Director of Kien Giang Province's Tourism, Commerce and Investment Promotion Center, shared that currently, there is one daily flight from Kazakhstan to Phu Quoc, scheduled to continue until March 2024. Moreover, several major South Korean airlines like Korean Air, Jeju Air, and Jin Air are either introducing new routes or resuming direct flights to Phu Quoc. Presently, Phu Quoc receives over 2,000 international tourists per day for sightseeing and tourism, a figure significantly higher than in the third quarter of 2023.

As per several travel agencies in Phu Quoc, tourism on the ‘Pearl Island’ is thriving at the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, largely thanks to the active involvement of local authorities and the tourism sector. Recent improvements, such as environmental adjustments, air pollution reduction, and crackdowns on unethical practices, have contributed to a more reassuring experience for visitors to Phu Quoc. Moreover, with Phu Quoc currently enjoying its most favorable weather of the year, it is drawing in a large number of both domestic and international tourists for leisure and exploration.

Improving service quality

Mr. Huynh Quang Hung, Chairman of the People's Committee of Phu Quoc City, revealed that local authorities are collaborating with various stakeholders, including businesses and residents, to launch a communication campaign aimed at bringing tourism information and messages of hospitality closer to tourists, especially international visitors.

The People's Committee of Phu Quoc City is also overseeing and inspecting business operations in eateries, restaurants, and transportation services to prevent price gouging and unethical practices and strictly enforce penalties for any violations. These efforts aim to cultivate a positive and welcoming image of Phu Quoc, ensuring peace of mind for tourists visiting the ‘Pearl Island’.

Representatives from Kien Giang Province's Department of Tourism stated that the tourism industry will vigorously innovate its products, enhance experiences, and focus on eco-friendly initiatives to attract tourists to Phu Quoc, especially domestic visitors, in 2024. They aim to elevate service quality while implementing various stimulating programs.

Additionally, the tourism industry in Kien Giang will review and compile data on all tourism-related businesses, requiring transparent registration and pricing for services. They will also inspect promotional activities and discount programs to ensure compliance with regulations.

To ensure the ongoing recovery and substantial development of tourism in Phu Quoc in 2024, Mr. Nguyen Luu Trung, Vice Chairman of Kien Giang Province's People's Committee, has directed the provincial Department of Tourism to collaborate with the Phu Quoc City People's Committee to promptly implement new strategies.

They include fast-tracking the completion of the plan to develop Phu Quoc City into a high-quality ecotourism service hub and a nationally and internationally recognized beach and island tourism destination, as approved by the Prime Minister in the master plan of Kien Giang Province. Additionally, there will be a focus on researching and developing new tourism products while strengthening State management of the tourism sector.

During the 2024 Lunar New Year, Phu Quoc City received nearly 192,000 visitors, including 51,929 international arrivals. The number of overnight stays reached 66,958, marking a 4.6 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Many existing service offerings have been enhanced and refreshed while new products have been introduced, such as the "Kiss the Star" show, "Marriage Proposal," "Fest Bazaar Night Market," "Ice Jungle," and various cultural, artistic, and entertainment activities that attracted tourists.

By Tam Chi - Translated by Thanh Nha

SGGP - - Feb 18, 2024