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Vietnam tourism at the crossroads of socialism and market economy

Huong Bui (College of Sustainability and Tourism, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu, Japan)
Long Hong Pham (Faculty of Tourism Studies, Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Ngoc Pham (Thai Binh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Thai Binh, Vietnam)
Phuong Anh Dang (Faculty of Tourism Studies, Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Quynh Bui (Faculty of Tourism Studies, Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Dung Nguyen (Faculty of Tourism Studies, Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Thuy T. Duong (Faculty of Geography, University of Science, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Chung Nguyen (Faculty of Pedagogy, University of Education, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Hiroaki Saito (College of International Management, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu, Japan)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 30 April 2024

92

Abstract

Purpose

Vietnam has repositioned itself from a war-torn country to a popular tourist destination. Although research on Vietnam tourism has grown in number, a macro analysis of national tourism governance and policies has largely been missing.

Design/methodology/approach

This synthesis paper offers a systemic analysis of Vietnam’s tourism accommodating intensified government intervention and dramatic market changes in recent decades. The authors offer a chronological analysis of tourism development along with the major political and economic turns of the country.

Findings

The patterns of tourism development reflect a compromise between centralization and decentralization of the governance system and a trade-off between economic and social objectives of development. Balancing these opposites, the internal strength of the domestic market and the resilience of communities and businesses become key assets for growth in circumstances where the socialist market economy continues to inform the current and future development of the industry.

Research limitations/implications

Although the case of Vietnam is unique, the adaptive mechanism of the tourism industry highlighted in this paper offers a useful lesson for other developing countries. The research addresses tourism in the political economy in developing countries, which is valuable for researchers, policy analysts as well as practitioners in tourism.

Practical implications

The practical contribution of the study is derived from authors’ academic and industrial backgrounds. Findings from the study serve as a useful reference for those who embark on the study of tourism governance and policy-making in developing countries and problems associated with the economic transitional process. Those problems of the disparity between centralization and decentralization of the political system might not be only significant in Vietnam, but also prevail in developing countries. Thus, this study offers a point of departure for future empirical and comparative research on the kindship of tourism and political economy in a full scale.

Social implications

The transitional economy as viewed through the tourism industry is prominently presented in the “evolutionary” approach to the transitional economy, which exhibits several unique features: the transition from a centrally planned (command) economy to a market economy and the manifestations of a socialist orientation in the modern economic management system (Vuong et al., 2019). While data from this study is mainly illustrative of the first point, the transition from a planned economy to a market economy, the second characteristic, the manifestation of a social orientation has only slightly been addressed and will need further elaboration in a future study. While Vietnam’s tourism positions itself in a socialist market-oriented economy might set a unique case, the study highlights the politics of tourism is shaped by the politico-economic system. The authors conclude that the adaptation of Vietnam tourism to a socialist market-orientated economy is better perceived as a social evolution achievement rather than a feature of capitalism.

Originality/value

The latest study on tourism governance (Bui et al., 2022) has outlined the evolution of the tourism administrative system and markets in the country; however, linkages of tourism to the broader political economic system have yet to be addressed. Addressing this gap, the authors carry out analysis of policies and governance from the insider’s viewpoint, when team members have been involved in numerous tourism planning and development projects, both on international and national scales. The practical experience along with thorough review of literature and statistical data contributes to shaping a fresh understanding of tourism in a transitional economy.

设计/方法论/途径

这篇综述对越南旅游业进行了系统分析, 包括近几十年来不断增强的政府干预以及巨大的市场变化。作者根据时间顺序分析了旅游业的发展以及该国的主要政治及经济的转变。此外, 政策文件的内容分析及旅游市场分析进一步说明了政治经济体系对旅游治理及政策的影响。

目的

越南已将自己从一个饱受战争的国家重新定位成备受欢迎的旅游目的地。尽管对越南旅游业的研究不断增多, 但对国家旅游治理和政策的宏观分析却被之前的探究所忽略。此研究通过展示越南转型经济中的旅游治理模式连接了两个学科, 并且丰富了政治经济学和旅游学的文献。

研究结果

旅游政策和市场分析反应了治理体系集权与分权之间的折中以及经济和社会发展目标之间的权衡。国内市场的内在优势以及社区及企业的韧性可以成为成长的关键资产来平衡这些对立面, 同时社会主义市场经济将继续影响产业的当前及未来的发展。因此我们的结论是, 越南旅游业适应社会主义市场经济应该被视为社会进化的成就, 而不是资本主义的特征。

研究局限/应用

考虑到一篇文章所能解决的问题有限, 作者无法就转型经济与中国进行比较研究。我们的研究为未来亚洲旅游与政治经济之间联系的实证和比较研究提供了一个出发点。

实践意义

研究结果为发展中国家旅游治理和政策制定研究提供了有益的参考。

社会影响

研究结果对于发展中国家旅游治理及政策制定研究具有重要参考意义。这项研究的成果对于发展中国家的旅游政策分析师, 特别是亚洲的研究人员来说很有价值。

原创性/价值

当前的研究弥补了政治经济学中的一个研究不足, 即马克思主义学说及其与旅游业的对话。知识转移是本研究的一个亮点, 它源自对国家政治经济议程中的旅游治理的批判性分析。

Objetivo

Vietnam ha pasado de ser un país devastado por la guerra a convertirse en un popular destino turístico. Aunque la investigación sobre el turismo en Vietnam ha crecido en número, ha faltado en gran medida un macroanálisis de la gobernanza y las políticas turísticas nacionales. Nuestra investigación ha enriquecido la literatura tanto de la economía política como del turismo tendiendo un puente entre ambas disciplinas al presentar las pautas de la gobernanza del turismo en la economía de transición de Vietnam.

Diseño/metodología/enfoque

Este documento de síntesis ofrece un análisis sistemático del turismo de Vietnam que abarca la intensificación de la intervención gubernamental y los drásticos cambios del mercado en las últimas décadas. Los autores ofrecen un análisis cronológico del desarrollo del turismo junto con los principales giros políticos y económicos del país. Además, el análisis del contenido de los documentos políticos y el análisis del mercado turístico ilustran mejor las repercusiones de los sistemas político-económicos en la gobernanza y las políticas turísticas.

Resultados

Las políticas turísticas y el análisis del mercado revelan un compromiso entre la centralización y la descentralización del sistema de gobernanza y un compromiso entre los objetivos económicos y sociales del desarrollo. Al equilibrar estos opuestos, la fuerza interna del mercado nacional y la resistencia de las comunidades y las empresas se convierten en activos clave para el crecimiento en unas circunstancias en las que la economía de mercado socialista sigue informando el desarrollo actual y futuro de la industria. Concluimos que la adaptación del turismo vietnamita a una economía socialista orientada al mercado se percibe mejor como un logro de la evolución social que como una característica del capitalismo.

Limitaciones/implicaciones de la investigación

Dentro del limitado abanico de cuestiones que podrían abordarse en un solo artículo, los autores no pueden establecer un estudio comparativo con China, en lo que respecta a la economía de transición. Nuestro estudio ofrece un punto de partida para futuras investigaciones empíricas y comparativas sobre la conexión entre turismo y economía política en Asia.

Implicaciones prácticas

Las conclusiones del estudio sirven de referencia útil para quienes se embarcan en el estudio de la gobernanza y la formulación de políticas turísticas en los países en desarrollo.

Implicaciones sociales

Los resultados de la investigación son valiosos para los investigadores del sudeste asiático en particular y para los analistas de la política turística del mundo en desarrollo en general.

Originalidad/valor

La presente investigación contribuye a un área poco investigada de la economía política, a saber, la doctrina marxista y su diálogo con el turismo. La transferencia de conocimientos es un aspecto destacado de esta investigación, que se ha derivado de un análisis crítico de la gobernanza del turismo en la agenda económica política nacional.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The project is funded through Japan Society for Promotion of Sciences, grant number 22H03859.

Citation

Bui, H., Pham, L.H., Pham, N., Dang, P.A., Bui, Q., Nguyen, D., Duong, T.T., Nguyen, C. and Saito, H. (2024), "Vietnam tourism at the crossroads of socialism and market economy", Tourism Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/TR-04-2023-0204

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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