The Grand helps Vietnam lay foundation for tourism boom

In the year since I was appointed executive chairman of The Grand Ho Tram Strip, I have seen tremendous positive changes take place in Vietnam’s tourism industry.

Executive chairman of The Grand Ho Tram Strip

The growth over the past year has been truly impressive, both throughout the country and at The Grand. The efforts made by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the new government should be commended. In the coming years, I fully expect that tourism will reach the Vietnamese government’s ambitious goal and contribute over 10 per cent to the country’s economy.

At The Grand Ho Tram Strip, we see a bright future for tourism and hospitality throughout the country, as others in the region and around the world are coming to realise what we’ve known all along – Vietnam is one of the world’s great treasures in terms of natural beauty, cultural richness, and historical significance. As Vietnam’s premier integrated resort destination and the largest tourism and American private investment project in the country, The Grand Ho Tram Strip is proud to play a part in helping the country achieve its goals and reach its incredible potential.

As Vietnam considers regulatory changes in the tourism, hospitality, and gaming sectors, I strongly urge the  Vietnamese government to continue to maintain its commitment to a level playing field that provides equal opportunities to foreign and domestic investors alike. Equitable treatment and a stable regulatory environment are critical to drawing in greater foreign investment support for the tourism industry, and further integrating Vietnam into regional and global tourism networks.

The Grand Ho Tram Strip stands as a beacon to others of how the Vietnamese government views and treats its biggest foreign investors and supporters.

As the country continues on the path to becoming one of the world’s leading tourism destinations, partnership between foreign investors and dedicated and hard-working local entities will be the engine that drives Vietnam forward and ensures it meets its full potential.

The Grand hosted the American Chamber of Commerce’s annual networking weekend several weeks ago, which featured a plenary discussion that was led by Ted Osius, US Ambassador to Vietnam, and included such companies as Pfizer and Citigroup in the session. That session was dominated by discussion of the forthcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and arrangements, and all that needs to be done here and in the US to make this momentous trade deal a reality.

While it is not my intention here to get into the necessary will-they-or-won’t-they politicking that goes with such a pact, what was made abundantly clear in that session was that there are various phases that all countries must get through before this can become a reality. What was noted as the particular challenge for Vietnam was not the ratification itself – that is expected to be a relatively straightforward procedure through the National Assembly – but the commitment that the nation must make to its partners to offer investors a level playing field when they choose to operate here. This is at the centre of any trade pact, and if the nation seeks to develop and reap the benefits of this investment, it must be able to demonstrate to the 11 other nations that it is fulfilling its commitments to them.

At that same event, I was personally honoured to be elected as head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam’s Tourism Committee. Through this post, I hope to continue to share my experiences and the great opportunities that exist in Vietnam with investors from the US and around the world. Looking ahead, I see big things on the horizon for Vietnam’s tourism sector, especially given the government’s deep commitment to becoming a global leader in the area, and its strong desire to bring in high-quality projects that are both profitable for investors and truly beneficial to the people of Vietnam.

Our team at The Grand has shown that we are committed stakeholders through our participation in an array of international initiatives and conferences, including the UN International Conference on Tourism and Sports and the International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City 2016, as well as through our hosting of high-profile international events at The Grand. The Ho Tram Open golf tournament – one of the most watched golfing events in recent history and the Asian Tour’s 2015 Event of the Year – helped catapult Vietnam onto the international stage as a serious golf destination for both casual players and professionals.

Indeed, throughout my time with The Grand Ho Tram Strip I have been strongly encouraged by the support we have received from the central government and provincial authorities. We have been privileged to work with and for this wonderful country through The Grand Ho Tram Strip, and I sincerely look forward to continuing our work in bringing the best of Vietnam to the world.

By Michael Kelly