Tourism websites need updating

The digital transformation of tourism in Vietnam has been discussed at various programs and conferences aimed at making tourism a digital economy sector.

During a recent conference on digital transformation in tourism, the Vietnam Software Association (VINASA) hypothesized that the Vietnamese tourism industry is implementing a number of digital transformation activities, which lack consistency and fail to maximize efficiency due to inconsistent and inconsistent database. Therefore, there are obstacles in the data management and control process for reporting tourism statistics and indicating development trends.

Abundance of websites, scarcity of information

After reviewing a number of provincial tourism websites, it can be concluded that improving and upgrading websites should be prioritized before further discussions on digital transformation. Most of these websites lack adequate information.

Even on the Vietnam National Tourism Administration (VNAT) website (https://vietnamtourism.gov.vn/), the information is not up to date (visited on June 6, 2022). In the section “Specialized materials” which includes several topics such as tourism promotion, tourism green label, workforce training, responsible tourism, etc., the latest updated materials are from 2014 or 2015. One wonders if the VNAT has missed any new material since or just forgot to update the website. Where should companies and researchers look for the latest Vietnam tourism updates?

Another official Tourism Information Technology Center (TITC) website under VNAT (https://titc.vn) contains insufficient and outdated information on the domestic tourism industry. For example, TITC’s last ministerial-level research projects are from 2011. Has TITC not done any research projects since 2011 or have they just not been published? The latest document is the “Vietnam Tourism Annual Report 2016”.

Although the functions and tasks of the website are clearly stated as “carrying out certain public services of the tourism industry regarding information technology and computing in accordance with legal provisions”, the website does not offer any information free. Instead, it mainly introduces information services with payment requests, sells information products, software, and provides other services. This seems unreasonable since services with payment requests is only one of the 13 tasks assigned to TITC according to Decision No. 365/QD-TCDL of 2014, approved by the President of VNAT.

The state of insufficient and outdated information is also found on the official websites of other provinces. Browsing through the HCMC Tourism Department website, visitors only find “No Information” under several headings in the “Activities” section, even under the most essential heading relating to reports and statistics. Regarding the impact of Covid-19 on tourism, there is only outdated information on the post-pandemic reopening strategy at the end of 2021 instead of the tourism recovery currently discussed.

Meanwhile, tourism websites in other provinces, such as Phu Tho or Thai Nguyen, need improvements in interface design and uploaded content. Some websites are guilty of a classic design error: unwanted pop-ups constantly appear, frustrating visitors. TITC’s website still relies on Adobe Flash Player, while computer and smartphone browsers no longer support Flash.

Input data is required

So far, the Ministry of Information and Communications has announced 35 national digital platforms serving digital transformation. Among them, two platforms belonging to the cultural tourism industry – the tourism business management platform and the digital museum platform for the digitization of relics.

Some provincial tourism boards have suggested that VNAT and the Ministry of Information and Communications provide detailed guidance on digital transformation at the local level: to-do lists for central government and local authorities, as well as a timetable of the action plan. Thus, the data is assuredly consistent and consistent, while waste and inconsistencies in implementation are avoidable. The Ministry of Information and Communications should quickly implement a code of conduct for the digital transformation of tourism in all departments, especially the tax and customs departments. With clear guidelines, businesses and tourist offices can coordinate closely.

According to VNAT, a comprehensive national system of digital tourism platforms will be built and managed by the government in the near future. Institutes that have not built their platforms will be supported, and those that have already developed platforms will see them connected to the system.

Based on feedback received from tourism and IT businesses and experts, VNAT will gradually improve its shared tourism business management platform, which will be launched in December, to perfection.

However, according to an IT expert, it is crucial for cities and provinces to generate and categorize their local tourism data according to the shared terms to create input data for Vietnam’s digital tourism platform.

To successfully lead digital transformation, VNAT needs to upgrade its website to meet research demands and serve as a model for provincial tourism ministries. VNAT is to serve as the main driver to drive the digital transformation of tourism.

Source: Saigon Times

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