Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Tourism distribution in a transitional economy: Hotel ownership and distribution channels in Vietnam

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posted on 2021-11-15, 17:54 authored by Le, Tuan Ngoc

This thesis investigates how the different up-market hotel ownership modes establish distribution channels to reach domestic and international tourism markets in the context of Vietnam’s transitional economy, which has been transforming from a centrally planned to a socialist market oriented economy since 1986. It seeks to understand the current distribution channel structures of various hotel ownership modes; to explore the ways in which a number of factors influence distribution structures; and to examine the implications of these structures and factors for hotel and tourism development in Vietnam and in other economies with similar socio-political characteristics. A conceptual framework for hotel distribution channels is developed from a combination of the predominantly Western literature and the fragmented literature on hotel distribution in transition economies. The conceptual framework enables the researcher to investigate the linkages and relationships among the components that constitute the current Vietnamese hotel distribution systems.  A qualitative approach is applied to address the supply-side issues of hotel distribution with data collected in the three largest urban cities located in the Northern, Central and Southern parts of Vietnam. The data collection methods were in-depth semi-structured interviews and document compilation. Different groups of participants from the Vietnam tourism industry including senior staff of sales and marketing of the four- and five-star hotels, international tour operators, high-ranking government officials of central and provincial authorities of tourism, key officers of trade organisations and academics from these cities were interviewed.  The research presents the current distribution channel structures employed by four hotel ownership modes to reach domestic and international travellers. The findings also reveal that international joint venture and wholly foreign-owned hotels have effectively established their distribution channels to reach the international market. The entry of these international ownership modes as a result of Vietnam’s economic reform has forced state- and domestic privately-owned hotels to also build market-driven distribution structures. Economic restructuring in the context of Vietnam’s international integration has been the key element in creating the legal system, economic development, international tourist demand, technological advances, patterns of demand, hotel ownership and management modes that have driven the development of distribution. The research concludes that different hotel ownership and management modes and the distribution channel structures of up-market hotels are the products of Vietnam’s economic restructuring. The research suggests further economic renovation to meet the country’s commitments to international organisations, and to generate an equal tourism and hotel business environment in Vietnam.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Tourism Management

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Victoria Management School


Smith, Karen A.; Pearce, Douglas G.