Improving the competitiveness of tourist destinations in Bac Lieu province

World tourism continues to grow strongly and has a great

impact on the global socio-economic life. Tourism has

become one of the main pillars of international trade, an

important source of income for many developing countries.

In 2018, Vietnam welcomed nearly 15.5 million international

visitors, which is assessed as a hot growth compared to the

world and the region.

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re, the tourism industry in Bac Lieu needs a breakthrough, helping the province's tourism to develop strongly. According to statistics, in 2018, Bac Lieu had a relatively low number of tourists in the tourist destinations of the Mekong Delta. This shows that in the past time, Bac Lieu tourism has not really attracted visitors due to increasingly fierce competition pressure from other destinations. Therefore, the study of the competitive capability of the Bac Lieu tourism destination is necessary, 4 will help policy makers to have solutions, help the tourism industry to take appropriate steps, to attract tourists to Bac Lieu increasingly, making Bac Lieu an attractive and competitive destination in the Mekong Delta, contributing to the local socio-economic development in the integration period. So, the author chose the content: "Improving competitiveness of tourism destinations in Bac Lieu" for the thesis. 1.2. OBJECTIVES 1.2.1. Overall objective - Analyzing the factors affecting the competitive capability of tourism destinations in Bac Lieu and the tourism situation of Bac Lieu province, then proposing administrative implications to improve the competitive capability of tourist destinations in Bac Lieu. 1.2.2. Specific objectives (i) Identifying factors affecting the competitive capability of tourist destinations in Bac Lieu. (ii) Measuring factors affecting the competitive capability of tourist destinations in Bac Lieu. (iii) Analyze the current status of the competitive capability in tourist destinations in Bac Lieu province. 5 (iv) Proposing some administrative implications to improve the competitive capability of tourism destinations in Bac Lieu. 1.3. OBJECT AND SCOPE OF THE STUDY Research subjects The study focuses on analyzing factors affecting the competitive capability of tourist destinations in Bac Lieu. Research scope Research sites: With the research objectives set out, the research thesis is in Bac Lieu province. Research period: - Research started from June 2014. - The time for collecting primary data is from 10/2017 - 1/2018. - Research using secondary data from 2014 - 2018. Respondents: The target of the survey of domestic tourists is Vietnamese people aged 18 years and over who have traveled to other destinations in Bac Lieu. Research content: The research of the thesis focuses on surveying and evaluating the competitive capability of tourism destinations 6 in Bac Lieu (mainly in districts, town, Bac Lieu city in Bac Lieu province). Research limit: Because the number of international visitors to Bac Lieu is very small, accounting for 2.86% of the total number of visitors to Bac Lieu, the author only focuses on studying Vietnamese tourists to get survey opinion. In addition, Bac Lieu destination, mainly spiritual cultural tourism, foreign visitors are less interested in this type of tourism, so the author focuses on consulting Vietnamese tourists to serve investigation and research. Further research can be expanded by studying more foreign tourists when the number of international visitors increases. 7 CHAPTER 2 OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS Through the synthesis of studies on the competitive capability of tourist destinations in the world shows: 1) Competitive capability is the ability to create added value, thereby improving the nation's prosperity and socio- economic development (Ritchie & Crouch, 2000). Competitive capability often combines the concept of marketing planning and competitive development strategy (Buhalis, 2000). 2) Competitive capability of a tourist site is its ability to provide better products and services compared to other locations based on tourist experiences (Dwyer & Kim, 2003). According to Enright & Newton (2005), the competitive capability of the destination will also create a series of values of product and service quality. According to Macchiavelli (2009), the competitive capability of tourist destinations is increasing the ability to attract tourists. 3) Competitive capability of tourism destinations is to enhance destination management efficiency (Armenski, 2011). According to Steven Pikea & Stephen J.Page (2014), the competitive capability of the destination is to promote the destination marketing capacity for sustainable development in the future. 8 4) So far, many tourism researchers have proven that the benefits from tourism are due to enhanced competitiveness of the destination (Ritchie & Crouch, 2003). Information collected about the destination's competitive competence is identified with natural resources (comparative advantage) and resource exploitation (competitive advantage). Crouch & Ritchie's model includes 5 main groups: factors to meet the needs; destination policy, planning and development; destination management; core resources and customer attraction factors; supporting factors and resources. At the same time, the model also determines the factors affecting the competitive capability of the destination including macro factors (world economy, terrorism, epidemics ...) and the micro environment (resources, infrastructure, branding, destination marketing, human resources for tourism ...) of the destination. Besides, environmental factors, natural resources, cultural diversity, historical sites, special events, etc affect the competitiveness of the destination. To develop and promote tourism destinations, it is necessary to create valuable tourism resources to enhance the competitive capability of the destination. 9 Table 2.1 Summary of research papers on competitive capability and tourist destination Source: Synthesized from research papers. 10 Table 2.2 Factors affecting the Competitive capability of tourism destinations in Bac Lieu. Source: Proposal through review. Building a research framework: To collect descriptive and explanatory concepts about the competitive competence of the destination built on the previous experimental models and the current situation of the Bac Lieu tourist destination, to find out the factors influence the Competitive capability to the destination, see the relationship between the concepts in the model. At the same time determine the importance of factors affecting the competitive competence of tourist destinations in Bac Lieu. 11 CONSTRUCTION OF RESEARCH FRAMEWORK Source: Author's proposal Figure 2.1. Research framework 12 CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.1. THE METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION - Collection of secondary data: The thesis uses data on natural and socio-economic conditions of Bac Lieu province, annual reports and statistics of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism; statistics of the Provincial Statistical Office; reports, resolutions and statistics of the People's Committee of Bac Lieu province. Articles, workshop documents, related research works of domestic and foreign institutes and schools. Web sites related to the field of tourism destination competitiveness improvement. - Primary data collection: Primary data sources were collected through in-depth interviews with 30 experts among whom a group of 13 experts are cadres, leaders of departments, agencies and departments in Bac Lieu province, a group of 06 experts are leaders and managers of Bac Lieu University, Bac Lieu Economic and Technical College. A group of 11 experts are officers and managers of tourism, service, restaurants, hotels, and tourism establishments. The sample size for this thesis study is 450 observations. 13 Table 3.1 Statistical table of number of observations to be collected at each interview site. (Source: Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Bac Lieu, 2018) In the study of competitive capability to destination, the author used convenient sampling method. For each group, we interview 1 representative. The interview took place when the number of observations groups stopped. 3.2 DATA ANALYSIS METHOD The data analysis methods used in the study include: (i) Descriptive statistics, comparison method, synthesized from the analytical results of the study. (ii) Check Cronbach's Alpha to test the reliability of the scale. 14 (iii) Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) helps to reduce a set K, turning observations into a set F (F <K) of more meaningful factors. (iv) Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) to reduce and group observed variables into newly aggregated factors, these new factors will be named accordingly and will be replaced the original observed variable. (v) Structural Equation Model (SEM) to test the proposed research model. 15 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 4.1 CURRENT SITUATION ANALYSIS OF BAC LIEU PROVINCE 4.1.1 Tourist situation According to statistics, the number of tourists coming to Bac Lieu every year increases. From 2014 to 2018, Bac Lieu welcomed about 6,600,000 visitors, including 195,000 international visitors, an average increase of over 16 %/year. Particularly in 2018, tourists reached about 1.8 million, an increase of nearly 2 times compared to 2014 and ranked 7th out of 13 provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta region. - Tourists Table 4.1 Number of visitors visiting Bac Lieu (Source: Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Bac Lieu, 2018) 16 - Revenue from tourism industry Table 4.2 Revenue from tourism industry in Bac Lieu (Source: Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Bac Lieu, 2018) 4.1.2 The situation of tourism business Currently, the travel companies have built a number of tourism programs inside and outside the province, linking with a number of travel companies outside the province to organize visitors to Bac Lieu. Through practical research, domestic travel activities have not developed strongly, the implementation of package tours is limited, lack of high quality facilities. Travel companies do not pay much attention to exploiting Bac Lieu bird sanctuary, Lap Dien bird sanctuary, Bac Lieu longan orchard, sea - Nha Mat, ... So, most of the above tourist destinations are spontaneous, and construction investment into a real tourist destination has not been carried out. Therefore, the study of tourism routes of the province is very necessary, helping 17 investors and managers to develop plans to develop into a really attractive tourist route to attract domestic and foreign tourists. 4.1.3 Hotel system The whole province currently has 35 hotels, with 1,500 rooms, including 400 rooms of 3-4 star standard, including New Palace hotels, Hunan eco-tourism area, Saigon Bac Lieu hotel, hotels Tran Vinh. Besides, other hotels with small and medium scale from 30 rooms to 50 rooms, mainly concentrated in the inner city of Bac Lieu and Vinh Loi district. In general, the hotel system in Bac Lieu has met the demand for quantity, but the scale is still small, not linking the accommodation demand with the entertainment needs of tourists. The service quality of accommodation facilities is average, not meeting well the requirements of guests. 4.1.4 Restaurant system The whole province currently has 50 restaurants, including 6 restaurants in the hotel and 44 independent restaurants managed by a private business, with a capacity of 8,500 guests. In addition to the number of restaurants registered for business by the above business, Bac Lieu also has a network of restaurants with a small scale of 30-300 guests/restaurant, selling dishes at all prices depending on ability and needs of guest. In recent years, the restaurant business has mainly concentrated in the city of Bac Lieu, and has not paid attention to the coastal areas along Highway 1A, has not invested in facilities here, so not meeting 18 the number of tourists passing through the province. Therefore, it is necessary to build a number of restaurants with modern equipment along the National Highway 1A, to serve tourists. 4.1.5 Labor force and expertise in the tourism industry The total number of direct employees in the entire tourism industry in 2018 is 519,000 employees, of whom university degree accounts for 12%, intermediate: 13%, elementary: 17%, the number that has not passed schools is 58%. In recent years, some staff in the industry have been trained and retrained in tourism professional training courses, but are still weak in tourism, not meeting both quantity and quality according to industry standards. 4.1.6 Bac Lieu Tourism Product Cultural tourism of Bac Lieu can be considered as a strength compared to other localities in the Mekong Delta region with unique humanistic tourism resources, cultural values from “Da Co Hoai Lang”, cultural space of 3 ethnic groups: Kinh - Khmer - Chinese, “The Fop’ s House in Bac Lieu”, Hung Vuong square, memorial area of late musician Cao Van Lau, system of historical and cultural relics, Festival tourism, Food culture ... Besides, there is also ecotourism to visit the system of bird sanctuary, stork sanctuary, longan orchard tourism, tourism associated with mangrove forests, agro-fishery ecology, tourism combined with wind power. However, the current situation of this area 19 has not been invested synchronously to develop ecotourism and community tourism as its inherent advantages. 4.2 ANALYSIS OF THE FACTORS AFFECTING THE EXPERIENCES TO BAC LIEU TOURISM 4.2.1 Verification Cronbach's Alpha Through testing the reliability of the preliminary scale, it shows that there are 61 observed variables under 13 concepts, of which a total of 3 observed variables have unsatisfactory total variable correlation coefficient (correlation coefficient total variable <0.3), 13 research concepts belonging to research model all have the lowest guaranteed Cronbach's Alpha value of 0.710; highest is 0.929 (> 0.6). Thus, we can say that the scale content of the concepts is quite good, reliable to use for research, satisfactory observational variables will be included for exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to find out unsuitable observed variables and again test the scale in more detail. 4.2.2 Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) After analyzing Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) of the independent factor scale, the number of extracted factors is 13, corresponding to 13 research concepts of the thesis, with 54 observed variables included (EFA) analysis, the results have 2 observed variables (NNL3, NCKDL1) with factor load factor on the factor it measures unsatisfactory, so we remove it, the rest 52 observed variables are satisfactory after 20 Analyzing the Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), the observed variables will be included in the (CFA) analysis to continue testing the values of the scale. 4.2.3 Confirmation Factor Analysis (CFA) Confirmation factor analysis (CFA) scale of the determinants of the competitive capability of tourist destinations in Bac Lieu The analytical results show: The model has 1197 degrees of freedom - The model is appropriate for market data, because: + GFI = 0.867 (> 0.8); + TLI = 0.955; CFI = 0.959 (> 0.9); + RMSEA = 0.035; + CMIN / df = 1,548 (<2). - The normalized weights are greater than 0.5 and the non-normalized weights are statistically significant (p-value) at 1%, so the concepts reach convergent value. - The model is suitable with market data and the correlation coefficients between groups are all less than 1 (there is no correlation between observed variables), thus achieving indirection. - Correlation coefficient between the concepts is less than 1 and has statistical significance (p-value) at 1%, so these concepts reach discriminant value. 21 4.2.4 Structural Equation Model (SEM) 4.2.4.1 Evaluate the suitability of theoretical model by Structural Equation Model (SEM) The analytical results show: - The model has 1034 degrees of freedom (df = 1034). - The model is suitable for tense data, because: + GFI = 0.868 (> 0.8); TLI = 0.954 (> 0.9); and CFI = 0.958 (> 0.9); + RMSEA = 0.038 (<0.08); + CMIN / df = 1,654 (<2). Source: Calculation results from a direct survey of 450 visitors in Bac Lieu in 2018 Figure 4.1 Results of testing research model by SEM Table 4.3 Value estimation relationship model in the analysis of SEM 22 Source: Calculation results from a direct survey of 450 visitors in Bac Lieu in 2018 Thus, the results of testing the research model by SEM show that: Between the component concepts, there is a significant correlation with each other, namely: - Destination marketing factors (0.196), destination management (0.171), and tourist attraction factors (0.167) have a direct positive impact on the competitive capability of tourist destinations in Bac Lieu. - Product development (0.337), tourist demand (0.228), branding (0.155) have a direct positive impact on destination marketing, and have indirectly positive effects next to competitive capability of the tourist destination in Bac Lieu. - The destination's natural attractiveness (0.358), destination event (0.34) have a direct positive effect on 23 tourist attraction, and indirectly positive next to competitive capability of the tourist destination in Bac Lieu. - Factors of infrastructure (0.593), tourism business (0.211) have a direct positive impact on destination management, and have an indirect positive impact on the competitive capability of the tourist destinations in Bac Lieu. 4.2.4.2 Evaluate the reliability of the estimates in the model by Boostrap method Using Boostrap method to test the reliability of the estimates in the research model, with the number of repeated samples is N = 450 times. The Boostrap test results show that there is a bias (CR) between the estimates, but the absolute value of these biases is very small, both less than or equal to 2, so we conclude that the estimates in the model can be trusted. According to the test results, the accepted research hypotheses include: - Hypothesis H1: The tourist demand factor has a positive impact on destination marketing at the 1% level, the research hypothesis is accepted. - Hypothesis H2: Product development factor has a positive impact on destination marketing at the 1% significance level, and the research hypothesis is accepted. 24 - Hypothesis H3: Brand building factors have a positive impact on destination marketing at the 1% significance level, and the research hypothesis is accepted. - Hypothesis H4: Natural attraction factor affecting tourist attraction in the same direction at the 1% level, the research hypothesis is accepted. - Hypothesis H6: Factor of destination events having a positive impact on tourist attraction at the 1% level, the research hypothesis is accepted. - Hypothesis H7: The factor of tourism business has a positive impact on destination management at the 1% significance level, the research hypothesis is accepted. - Hypothesis H8: Infrastructure factors affecting the same direction to destination management at the significance level of 1%, the research hypothesis is accepted. - Hypothesis H10: The destination marketing factor has a positive impact on the improvement of the Competitive capability of the tourist destination at the 1% level, the research hypothesis is accepted. - Hypothesis H11: The factor that attracts tourists has a positive impact on enhancing the Competitive capability of the tourist destination at the significance level of 1%, the research hypothesis is accepted. - Hypothesis H12: Destination management factors positively impact on enhancing the Competitive capability of 25 tourism destinations at the significance level of 1%, the research hypothesis is accepted. Two scales: Historical and cultural attraction of Bac Lieu tourist destination (H5) and human resources for tourism (H9) are excluded from the model, because these two factors have little impact on the competitive competence Bac Lieu tourist destination according to traveler appraising. In summary, from the above analysis shows, the analysis model of factors affecting to enhance the competitive capability of tourism destinations in Bac Lieu has the following factors: Tourism demand, product development, branding has a positive impact on destination marketing. Natural attraction, destination events have a positive impact on tourist attraction. Tourism business activities and infrastructure have a positive impact on destination management. Factors such as destination marketing, tourist attraction, destination management continue to have a positive impact on the competitive competence of the tourist destination in Bac Lieu, which is suitable for reality. 26 CHAPTER 5: ADMINISTRATION IMPLICATION, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 5.1 ADMINISTRATION IMPLICATIONS From research results, it can be seen that the concept of composition has a significant correlation with each other and achieves discriminant validity. Based on the above bases, the author proposes some administration implications to improve the competitive capability of tourism destinations in Bac Lieu. - It is necessary to strengthen research to create special products of the destination; the destination's rapid and varied product development; have tourism development planning to build new products; adopt policies to promote the development of tourism products, and at the same time improve the quality of service to have excellent tourism products. - The Bac Lieu tourism brand is known through the mass media, from which local people consciously build the brand, on that basis, tourists appreciate the Bac Lieu tourism brand. - Tourist demand: Bac Lieu should promote as a safe and reliable destination, the first choice to travel; Tourists want to explore Bac Lieu culture and satisfy tourist destinations in Bac Lieu. - It is necessary to increase the attraction of tourist types of longan and orchards to attract tourists; Typical types of animal ecotourism such as Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary, Lap Dien Bird 27 Sanctuary, and finally marine ecotourism and eating and drinking attract tourists. - It is necessary to promote festival programs; sports events; conference events; Attractive cultural events that attract tourists. - It is necessary to further improve the quality of electricity, water, communication and wifi systems operating effectively; completing the smooth road traffic system; fast and convenient financial and banking services. - It is advisory to increase the variety of shopping items in destinations; next, the restaurant actively researched and processed many delicious dishes; there should be diversified means of transport to help tourists travel easily; and policies to attract hotel construction in tourist destinations. 5.2 CONCLUSION - Research on improving the Competitive capability of tourism destinations in Bac Lieu province is necessary, contributing to the socio-economic development of the locality. The goal of the study is to develop a theoretical model and experiment on factors affecting the competitive competence of tourist destinations in Bac Lieu. In addition, the study also assesses the current status of tourism development in the province in terms of natural conditions, tourism resources, tourist needs, infrastructure, human resources, tourism business activities, etc. in order to propose solutions to improve the competitiveness of tourism in the province. 28 - The thesis on improving the competitive capability of Bac Lieu tourist destination is really meaningful in both theory and practice, in order to exploit tourism resources in a long- term and effective manner; at the same time contribute to affirm the position of the Bac Lieu tourist destination in the Mekong Delta region and the country. From the results of analyzing the current situation of the competitive capability of the tourist destination in Bac Lieu by secondary data, combined with the results of qualitative and quantitative analysis as well as the factors affecting the competitive capability of the tourist destination in Bac Lieu, there are overall, we can draw some of the following contents: - Developed a theoretical research framework with 11 standards and 48 criteria for evaluating the competitive capability of Bac Lieu tourist destinations, and at the same time established 10 factors affecting the competitive capability of Bac Lieu tourist desti

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