Hi, I will be visiting Vietnam for two months with my friend who is originally from Vietnam. I would like to look into business opportunities for American investors. My friend is excited about starting a tour business for English speakers in Vietnam, however I am worried the timing is off with the world economic recession.
What are the obstacles of doing business in Vietnam? Is there much corruption?
If you are willing to answer more questions, please contact me. I will be in Hanoi April 7th.
Don't do it. The local friends I've made involved in travel-related businesses are struggling -- and really scared. Not only is there an over-saturation of tour hawkers and mini-hotels, the competition is fierce. There was even a stabbing of one tour employee who tried to "steal" customers from another company.
Also, there are already a ton of English-speaking tour guides fresh from the Tourism school here (altho admittedly the quality of tours is still not regulate and can vary greatly).
Corruption is not a huge issue per se, but you do need a local who understands the intricacies of gift-giving so that all flows smoothly.
I'd definitely get more info before I invested in anything right now. Not to be completely negative, if the economy turns around, you could stand to do quite well. Other TNH folk may have different perspectives as well.
I would say there is a huge market even in this economy. I used to be a partner in a tour agency and the first month after taking it over cleaning all the cob webs and actually not lying to the tourists I turned after salary and everything a profit of 1,000 USD now this is not a lot when your thinking larger scaled, but with the proper investments and research you can be some of the larger tour agencies here and turn more than 1 million a year easy if you have the right connections with companies and know what they offer and what they actually do.
Research every company and continually do impromptu inspections which if there is room on the particular day they will let you do for free if they are a company that knows what there are doing.
Even in a very difficult market environment, there are many successful travel companies. But, business can be particularly tough, especially for start-ups. Sustainability is the yardstick by which a tour company is ultimately measured.
A number of the large travel companies advertising outbound travel to Asia have been unable to depart with max passengers for several years. The trips to the Orient are often postponed or merged with a quasi-competitor just to break even. It makes things tough for staff, contract employees and travel groups.
Do some research, you may find that the market specializing in Foreign Independent Travel ("FIT") can be more lucrative than the traditional travel/tourism business. FIT has its own set of competitive parameters, a much smaller market base being foremost, but it will continue to be an important force in the travel industry.
The foregoing notwithstanding, I'm convinced that the future of tourism is in-country and in Asia.
It takes the right combination of skill, persistence,
talent ,connections and yes, *alot* luck but some can make a go of it.
Still waiting to quit my day job.