Văn hóa là nguồn lực đầu vào cho phát triển kinh tế

Sự khác biệt, độc đáo ở văn hóa, con người, cảnh quan thiên nhiên và ẩm thực là tài nguyên, thế mạnh cho du lịch Việt Nam phát triển một cách bền vững. Với nhiều doanh nghiệp du lịch, đây cũng chính là nguồn lực để họ khai thác, tiếp tục vươn lên mạnh mẽ, đóng góp cho sự phục hồi của du lịch và kinh tế đất nước.

Nhân dịp đầu năm mới 2022, ông Phạm Hà, Chủ tịch Hội đồng quản trị, kiêm CEO Tập đoàn Lux Group chuyên đầu tư, kiến tạo, kinh doanh những sản phẩm, dịch vụ du lịch siêu sang tại Việt Nam đã có những chia sẻ về vấn đề này.

Là doanh nghiệp lữ hành có thế mạnh đón du khách quốc tế đến Việt Nam và đưa người Việt Nam đi du lịch nước ngoài, sứ mệnh quảng bá văn hóa Việt Nam của Lux Group được ông triển khai ra sao?

Lux Group tự hào về văn hóa, di sản, lịch sử của Việt Nam và chúng tôi coi đó là sứ mệnh của người làm du lịch cho khách quốc tế đến và người Việt Nam đi du lịch. Đồng thời, chúng tôi dùng “sức mạnh mềm” văn hóa làm nguồn lực đầu vào cho phát triển kinh tế.

Chúng tôi có một hệ sinh thái bao gồm vận chuyển, lữ hành, du thuyền với hai thương hiệu Emperor Cruises và Heritage Cruises hoạt động tại những vùng vịnh biển đẹp như vịnh Nha Trang, Hạ Long, Bái Tử Long, Lan Hạ. Sắp tới, chúng tôi đưa thương hiệu Emperor Cruises Legend Phú Quốc vào kinh doanh tại Phú Quốc. Lấy cảm hứng từ bài thơ “Tây Tiến” của nhà thơ Quang Dũng, chúng tôi xây dựng khu nghỉ núi Secret Hideaways Pù Luông, Thanh Hóa. Tất cả những thương hiệu này đều giầu cảm xúc, những câu chuyện văn hóa và lịch sử Việt Nam để giới thiệu cho du khách quốc tế.

Trong chiến lược phát triển ngành công nghiệp văn hóa của đất nước, theo ông ngành du lịch có vai trò như thế nào trong việc quảng bá, xuất khẩu văn hóa?

Tôi đi nhiều nơi trên thế giới thì thấy rằng Việt Nam chúng ta có nhiều lợi thế cạnh tranh trong kỷ nguyên 4.0. Ba lĩnh vực chúng ta có thể đi tắt đón đầu và phát triển nhanh chóng vì nhiều tiềm năng và có sự khác biệt độc đáo là du lịch, nông nghiệp và công nghệ thông tin. Du lịch Việt Nam phát triển mạnh mẽ trong thời gian qua và khẳng định là một ngành kinh tế, đóng góp khoảng 10% GDP và tạo ra hơn 2 triệu việc làm trực tiếp và gián tiếp, góp phần xuất khẩu tại chỗ, quảng bá văn hóa di sản, con người đất nước Việt Nam.

So với các nước Đông Nam Á như Thái Lan hay Malaysia, Việt Nam khác biệt, độc đáo ở văn hóa, con người, cảnh quan thiên nhiên và ẩm thực. Đây là tài nguyên và thế mạnh rất lớn để phát triển du lịch Việt Nam một cách bền vững. Với thế mạnh này, Việt Nam cần cụ thể hóa việc coi du lịch là một ngành kinh tế thực sự, phát huy giá trị tài nguyên du lịch, định vị lại thương hiệu du lịch quốc gia như du lịch di sản hay du lịch biển.

Đồng thời, tập trung vào sự thỏa mãn của du khách; tăng chất hơn là lượng, từng bước tháo gỡ những nút thắt như thể chế chính sách, đào tạo nguồn nhân lực có chất lượng, tạo nhiều trải nghiệm du lịch mới lạ, hấp dẫn cho du khách đến dễ dàng hơn để họ đến vui hơn và tiêu tiền nhiều hơn và xúc tiến du lịch sao cho hiệu quả hơn.

Là một doanh nhân rất yêu văn hóa, ông có đam mê sưu tầm tranh, viết sách, bình thơ…. Điều này đã giúp gì cho ông trong việc chèo lái doanh nghiệp trong những thời điểm đầy sóng gió?

Tôi làm trong nghề hạnh phúc. Sứ mệnh cá nhân của tôi là mang lại hạnh phúc (deliveringhappiness) cho cá nhân, gia đình, đồng nghiệp, tổ chức và cộng đồng bằng “5P”, trong tiếng Anh là Passion, Purpose, People, Planet và Prosperity (làm vì đam mê, có mục tiêu rõ ràng, làm vì con người, hành tinh tốt đẹp hơn, xanh hơn, đẹp hơn và vì sự thịnh vượng mỗi cá nhân, của doanh nghiệp và cộng đồng).

Cuộc đời là hàm tổng của các lựa chọn, tôi chọn du lịch và đó là nghề hạnh phúc, tôi mang lại hạnh phúc, chạm vào cảm xúc với những sản phẩm trải nghiệm mình làm ra. Tôi cũng hơi nghệ sĩ trong một doanh nhân nên đâu đấy cũng là những tác phẩm du thuyền nhưng mỗi chiếc là một độc bản giữa thiên nhiên, một câu chuyện hay phản ánh câu chuyện của cuộc đời tôi, giấc mơ thủa nhỏ thành hiện thực.

Tôi diễm phúc cảm được nghệ thuật, biết yêu cái đẹp và sáng tạo ra những tạo tác từ yêu thương và đưa những yếu tố văn hóa và nghệ thuật dân tộc, những câu chuyện lịch sử vào sản phẩm du lịch trải nghiệm. Đó cũng là sự khác biệt độc đáo mà tôi tâm huyết đặt vào mỗi dự án tôi làm.

Được biết, ông rất ngưỡng mộ tinh thần kinh doanh của doanh nhân Bạch Thái Bưởi, vậy trong giai đoạn đầy thách thức hiện nay, tinh thần này đang tiếp lửa như thế nào cho ông?

Cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi là một nhà tư sản dân tộc tiêu biểu kinh doanh thành công và sự ngưỡng mộ của nhiều người Việt, để lại nhiều bài học đáng học hỏi cho nhiều thế hệ doanh nhân. Có thể nói cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi (1874-1932) là một trong những doanh nhân thế hệ đầu tiên của Việt Nam mà tôi gọi là “kinh doanh thời 1.0”, cuối thế kỷ 19 và đầu thế kỷ 20. Cụ là hiện thân của tinh thần dám khởi nghiệp, dám tận dụng thời cơ, dám trao quền, dám tiếp thu tân thư, dám vận dụng tinh thần yêu nước, dám cạnh tranh đến cùng, dám sáng tạo, dám mở rộng thị trường, dám làm lại từ đầu. Tư tưởng xuyên suốt trong văn hóa kinh doanh là dân quốc phú cường giành lại độc lập.

Thành công như cụ xưa nay hiếm, đặc biệt lại là kinh doanh thành công trong nghịch cảnh, muôn vàn khó khăn, đất nước bị người Pháp nắm quyền và người Hoa nhiều tiền kinh doanh chèn ép. Từ thực tế đó càng thấy tài lãnh đạo của cụ với những phẩm chất truyền cảm hứng. Cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi kinh doanh đa lĩnh vực, nhiều công ty, chi nhánh, hoạt động nhiều nơi, theo mô hình mà ngày nay người ta gọi là một tập đoàn kinh tế. Đặc biệt, ngay từ thời 1.0 đó, cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi đã có những phẩm chất lãnh đạo tuyệt vời. Trong đó, tôi đã học được 10 phẩm chất của cụ. Lãnh đạo là nghệ thuật gây ảnh hưởng. Lãnh đạo là phụng sự, tập trung, đam mê, trao quyền, tự tin, chính trực, sắc bén, quyết đoán, luôn tiếp thu cái mới, sáng tạo.

Cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi thành công còn vì đã thực hiện nghiêm túc 10 tôn chỉ trên thương trường, như thương phẩm, thương hội, tín thực, kiên tâm, nghị lực, trọng nghề, thương học, giao thiệp, tiết kiệm và coi trọng hàng nội hoá. Những giá trị và bài học kinh doanh còn nguyên giá trị để soi rọi và vận dụng cho cuộc cách mạng 4.0 hiện nay để quản trị doanh nghiệp hiệu quả và kinh doanh thành công trên thương trường.

Một trong những ân huệ của cuộc đời tôi là được kết nối với gia đình cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi, được nghiên cứu về cuộc đời và sự nghiệp của cụ, đặc biệt là những bài học kinh doanh thành công, thuật lãnh đạo và những phẩm chất của một người lãnh đạo xuất chúng.

Văn hóa được coi là sức mạnh nội sinh của doanh nghiệp cũng như nền kinh tế nhất là trong bối cảnh không ngừng biến động. Ông đã xây dựng văn hóa doanh nghiệp cho Lux Group như thế nào?

Trước tiên phải hiểu là văn hóa doanh nghiệp là niềm tin vào tổ chức, tư duy và thái độ của nhân viên về công việc họ đang làm, người mà họ đang phục vụ và với chính ban lãnh đạo, chủ doanh nghiệp. Triết lý kinh doanh của Lux Group là phụng sự, và thành công bằng sự tử tế. Lãnh đạo yêu quý, hiểu và giúp đỡ cấp dưới và nhân viên phục vụ khách hàng từ tâm với mong muốn họ sẽ hài lòng.

Lux Group luôn xây dựng tinh thần khởi nghiệp ngay cả khi đã lớn. Chúng tôi luôn đi tiên phong như kinh doanh du thuyền đầu tiên tại vịnh Nha Trang, vịnh Bái Tử Long và sắp tới là thành phố đảo Phú Quốc. Lux Group đi vào thị trường ngách, tìm lối nhỏ vào nhà sang và chúng tôi xây dựng văn hóa doanh nghiệp ngay từ ngày đầu thành lập, định hướng rõ ràng tầm nhìn, giá trị cốt lõi.

Trong một thế giới đầy biến động, ông chia sẻ gì về trách nhiệm của doanh nghiệp, doanh nhân đối với phát triển du lịch bền vững?

Bền vững là phải nhắm tới chất hơn lượng. Chúng ta không nhất thiết đặt mục tiêu số lượng khách năm sau phải cao hơn năm trước mà hãy thoả mãn họ, coi họ là trung tâm xem khách thích gì, muốn gì, không thích gì để cải thiện ngay. Với số hoá các hoạt động thì việc này không khó và cần sớm triển khai và Tổng cục Du lịch là đơn vị đóng vai trò dẫn dắt, chủ động, hiệu quả trong các hoạt động tạo sản phẩm du lịch và xúc tiến.

Từ góc độ doanh nghiệp, chúng tôi xác định, du lịch bền vững và có trách nhiệm cần dựa vào 6 trụ cột chính là: Bảo vệ nguồn môi trường sinh thái tự nhiên, trách nhiệm văn hoá xã hội, tạo việc làm tốt cho người dân địa phương, góp phần phát triển kinh tế, khách hàng thoả mãn, doanh nghiệp có lợi nhuận. Theo đó, chúng tôi định nghĩa du lịch bền vững là phải bảo vệ môi trường sinh thái tự nhiên, cùng nhau tạo ra nơi đẹp hơn cho người dân sinh sống và tạo ra nơi đẹp hơn để du khách tới thăm quan trải nghiệm; bảo đảm văn hoá xã hội, gìn giữ, bảo tồn và phát huy di sản, văn hoá, phong tục tập quán địa phương.

Cùng với nội lực của doanh nhân Việt, nhà nước cần có quyết sách nào để ngành du lịch hồi phục, phát triển trong năm 2022 và giai đoạn tới?

Hậu Covid- 19, cơ hội cho các doanh nghiệp lớn nhỏ là như nhau, tầm quốc gia cũng vậy. Đối với du lịch Việt Nam, chúng ta nên lấy mỏ vàng văn hoá, di sản làm trung tâm, định vị du lịch di sản là thương hiệu du lịch quốc gia. Để Việt Nam thành quốc gia về du lịch trong khu vực, chúng ta cần phải có chính sách cho du lịch và vì du lịch; visa, hạ tầng cơ sở, phát triển nguồn nhân lực, phát triển sản phẩm đặc trưng, mạnh, xúc tiến hiệu quả. Không thực hiện được xúc tiến hiệu quả thì thuê chuyên gia, định vị lại thương hiệu và nhận diện du lịch quốc gia.

Mặt khác, nên coi Covid-19 là dịp tốt để nhìn nhận lại quản lý du lịch theo hướng phục vụ để 100% khách đến rồi yêu Việt Nam, muốn quay lại nhiều lần, thay vì một đi không trở lại như trước kia. Với tiềm năng du lịch biển đảo, ẩm thực, văn hoá, thiên nhiên và con người, du lịch Việt Nam sẽ đứng đầu Đông Nam Á và châu Á nếu khơi thông cơ chế, chính sách triển kinh tế du lịch, chất lượng nguồn nhân lực; có nhiều sản phẩm du lịch trải nghiệm với hàm lượng chất xám và phải định vị được thương hiệu du lịch quốc gia, xúc tiến hiệu quả trong và ngoài nước.

Xin cảm ơn ông!

Hoa Quỳnh

Feng Shui experience

Heritage Cruises categorizes its ships not only using stars but also by character, quality, style and the overall special experience, which together ensure that our cruises have a story to tell.
Originating from China, Feng Shui has a 3000-year history and Vietnam, like many other Asian countries, continues to practice it in daily life, in its architecture and interior design. Our heritage-inspired cruise ship, Heritage Cruises, has been created with the balance of ying and yang in mind, with the five elements of Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth on board harmonizing with the surrounding environment.


Feng Shui affects our health, relationships, quality of life and, of course, experiences when we travel. Cruising is all about you and your experiences. We have designed our cruise and accommodation with the best practices of Feng Shui in mind for your greater comfort, restorative sleep and a memorable experience while you are staying with us.
All our suites are designed using Feng Shui principles including the lighting, neutral colors, no TV, and the bed facing the ocean, respecting the free flow of Chi in the suite. You can see the ocean from every corner of your suite and we create a warm and pleasant ambiance for you to create your own memories. We even have a tree in each suite, there to bring good fortune.
Here are the top ten elements we include in the suites to conform with Feng Shui rules and to heighten your senses.

1. Design with a purpose
Our suites have been thoughtfully designed for our guests with safety, authenticity, sincerity, protection and great comfort in mind. All 20 suites are located on the main and upper decks, far from engine noise, public and social areas and with easy access to all the exit areas both in the rear and at the front of the ship. The main stairs are at the heart of the ship benefiting from both natural light and fresh air.
2. Neutral colors and warm space
We use Indochine style heritage-inspired designs in neutral colors, using natural materials which create a warm, elegant, pleasant ambiance for our high-end guests. We ensure we give our clients the ultimate in luxury and sophistication with our extraordinary on-board facilities.
3. Feng Shui bed position
There is space above and around the bed to balance the Dragon and the Tiger (the white tiger represents female energy). With a classic colonial-style bed and wooden headboard, the bed is placed to avoid straight lines and positioned to fully enjoy the floor-to-ceiling windows and bring you energy.
4. The free flow of vitality.
Clutter in a bedroom hinders the free flow of Chi and the flow of air and vitality. Our suites are decorated minimally so that objects do not disturb the vitality, but are very neat, simple, and elegant, in a distinctive boutique style.

5. Tree in the suite – the wood element
The suite has a small tree which is the wood element of Feng Shui, together with an Indochine colonial-style bed with wooden headboard, lamp table, sofa, and smart luggage rack.
6. Slow pace of life
Each suite is designed with absolute privacy in mind, giving you the space to appreciate life and enjoy the wonderful views. There is no TV in the suite, so you can truly escape surrounded by the natural wonders of the bay. Indeed, you will be able to capture every romantic moment as every second counts while you are on board.
7. Connecting with nature
We use sustainable materials and neutral colors to enhance your mood and create the perfect ambiance for you and your companion, so that you can connect with nature as well as appreciate the culture, arts, people, food and heritage.

8. The language of art
You can enjoy wonderful works of art with different themes on the Red River Delta, the ocean and heritage by one of the most famous artists in the country, Pham Luc. You will also learn about the early 20th-century pioneer, Bach Thai Buoi, the King of the Ocean and River Cruises, who inspired our team to follow in his footsteps and to apply ethical business practices in everything we do, ensuring you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
9. Natural light
We understand the importance of illumination, and the suites have been tastefully designed to benefit from natural light and air circulation. With your own private balcony, you can spend time outdoors or stay in the comfort of your suite.
10. Make it simple
Simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication and luxury in the design of our suites. We avoid sharp-angled and reflective objects, ceiling fans, and vanity units which can become cluttered.

Heir to the legacy of Vietnam’s king of ships

Inspired by the heritage and noble spirit of the entrepreneur, Bach Thai Buoi, who was recognized as the ‘king of ships’ in Vietnam in the early 20th century, Lux Group founder Pham Ha rewrites the story of the country’s cruise industry. 

In the mid-1980s, Pham Ha accompanied his father on the large cruise ship Thong Nhat, bought from Norway after liberation to help people earn a living, that sailed along the Vietnamese coastline, from north to south. As a boy from the countryside, Pham Ha’s eyes were opened to the outside world and the experience and beautiful scenery made a huge impact on him and captured his heart. From then on, his childhood dream was to own a cruise ship.

As he grew up, Pham Ha showed an ability to speak foreign languages and as a student he became interested in the tourism industry. Working as a tour guide, his fluency in English and French enabled him to show off Vietnamese culture and people to foreign tourists.

The journey with his father from Haiphong to Saigon helped him to realize that each new destination brings a new perspective, new vision and new thinking, which can positively affect people. The beauty of travel is not just going from one point to another, but a journey of life experiences.

Vietnam started to develop its tourism industry in the early 1990s when it opened its doors to foreign tourists, but more than a decade later, travel companies were still having to work hard to attract them to the country. Backpackers were coming in their droves, but the accommodation choices were limited, not good quality, and service standards were poor.

Thanks to his early good fortune, Pham Ha had a vision for the future combined with his personal determination to succeed, and he decided to take a totally different direction by concentrating on meeting the small, but growing, demand for quality accommodation and higher standards of service.

In 2004 he founded Luxury Travel, focusing on the niche luxury market for big spenders, creating the right travel products, providing authentic and unique experiences, and offering personalized service, catering to the wishes of individual customers. Very quickly he became the acknowledged luxury travel expert in the field. And he did this with only a starting capital of 1,000 USD.

For Ha, happiness is a journey, not a destination, and his aim was purely to make visitors to Vietnam happy and understand the culture and history of his beloved homeland.

For Ha, happiness is a journey, not a destination, and his aim was purely to make visitors to Vietnam happy and understand the culture and history of his beloved homeland.

Many friends and colleagues were sceptical about this bold idea and were worried that he might be being a little reckless. But Ha was determined, and he asserted that in order to succeed, he must find a new direction, be a pioneer, and become an expert in that field.

In the early days of his career, his father gave him a lot of encouragement, strength and faith in his own abilities. He advised him to go away to study in the city, always believe in himself, never get discouraged, and succeed without becoming arrogant. “Live well, my son” he said. He always strongly believed in the ability of his children and encouraged them to pursue their dreams and to strive to be the best, whatever they did. He urged him to take the first steps to opening his own business and not be afraid to venture into the unknown.

Always be a pioneer

Starting a business in Vietnam was difficult, especially in the early 2000s, and with such a small amount of capital. Red tape and policies changed frequently, and the internet was still a new thing in Vietnam. Pham Ha’s biggest challenge was to get the message out about Luxury Travel and to encourage guests to book through him. He had to find a new way to achieve this.

When many people didn’t understand the capability of the internet or how to use it effectively, Ha realised that this technology would be the key to helping him to make money. He tinkered around on the computer and started to build a website that met international standards and had the technology to take credit card payments. Right from 2004, when e-commerce was little known in Vietnam, tourists around the world who wanted to visit Vietnam were able to book tours and pay online through Luxury Travel’s website.

After just four years, https://luxtraveldmc.com  was recognized by the Ecommerce Development Center (EcomViet) and Vietnam E-Commerce Association as one of the top 10 websites in the country.

“I dared to think outside the box and take a risk. If we pioneer and become the best in our field, we will be able to dominate the market. My success is thanks to continuing innovation, creativity, and taking those risks” Ha said.

Luxury Travel encountered difficulties in the 2008 financial crisis, along with everybody else. There were also difficulties when visitor numbers started to increase in general to Vietnam, as there weren’t enough high-end hotels available to meet the demand and the infrastructure was poor. The company found that it had to pay over the odds to 5-star hotels, to guarantee rooms for their guests, as hotels could easily fill their rooms and showed no loyalty to wholesale travel companies.

As tourism to Vietnam continues to increase, one of the biggest challenges for the tourist industry is human resources, finding suitable employees with the service and language skills to meet the requirements of international and increasingly sophisticated domestic tourists.

Fifteen years ago, this was an even greater problem. Pham Ha had to recruit and train young people who had excellent foreign language skills, but did not have the professional knowledge and expertise in the tourism service industry. He had to teach them sales techniques and soft skills, even writing emails to guests. But he stressed, the most important factor for the tourism industry is personnel having the right attitude.

“Young people, especially students, are a blank sheet of paper, but it is harder to train those who are already in the workplace and may have fixed ideas. For training, I prefer new graduates because giving them the skills to develop the appropriate attitude will be the first thing to draw on that blank piece of paper. In the service industry, attitude is of the utmost importance, but the most difficult to learn” Ha said.

Ha’s childhood dream of owning a cruise ship became a reality.

Touching hearts to win over luxury travelers

For the Chairman of the Lux Group, it is not only customers who are the service users, but also his company employees. In order to please external customers, the guests, he must firstly satisfy internal customers, his employees.

“My management style is to look after my employees so that they will look after our customers as well” Ha shared.

Pham Ha treats colleagues the same way he expects them to treat their upmarket customers.

Pham Ha treats colleagues the same way he expects them to treat their upmarket customers, by listening and with consideration. He maintains an equal relationship between himself, the boss, and his employees.

He might have to wear an elegant suit when entertaining guests in smart restaurants, but in the office he dresses as they do, in a T-shirt, jeans, and sports shoes. Out of the office, at a company dinner, the employees always join the senior management team at the same table.

“I am a leader without position as I do not need power to be successful. Leadership is the art of influencing and sharing a vision for people to follow and achieve. Your vision is your future. Absolutely everyone is listened to and their ideas respected” Ha added.

As a leader, Ha always likens himself to being a bus driver, taking his employees on a journey with a mission of bringing happiness, based on the ‘5 Ps’: passion, people, purpose, planet, profit.

He ensures that his employees are aware that their clients are really the only ‘boss’ in the company. In order to bring in money and a better life for all, there must not only be many customers, but they must also be satisfied with the level of service they receive. That way, they come back time and again and recommend Luxury Travel to other wealthy guests. Word of mouth is free but powerful advertising.

According to the Lux Group management team, building a corporate culture is a must, one in which everyone must understand the thinking of the clients and translate this into action. The end of the working day is 5.30 pm at Lux Group, but many people often voluntarily stay at work until nearly 9 pm, to complete their work and ensure the best outcome for clients. Ha’s secret is empowering and trusting the employees to work well.

“If you believe, you have to give power, but if you want to give power, you must know exactly what your staff need and how to develop them. The key is to find the right people for the right work. I only employ the smartest people who share my values”.

The task of the leader is to set goals for employees and for them to work hard to find ways to achieve them. Empowering employees to be creative and innovative is important. For new recruits, the company ensures that it creates the ideal environment for them to use their talents, to listen to them and put into practice new ideas if they are feasible and effective. And, of course, to recognize their achievements by rewarding them well.

Leading with kindness is the key for Ha to retain his talented staff because, without training employees will inevitably leave, and training brings benefits and creates an environment where employees want to stay.

“My efforts go into creating an environment of creativity, empowerment, fairness and reward. This approach has encouraged everyone to contribute and the organization has gone from strength to strength with a consistently happy team”.

The biggest goal he sets is that 99% of customers must be satisfied with their travel experience of the company. The customer is not a king until the employee treats them as a king and, at the same time, treats their colleagues the same way to ensure the absolute best in teamworking.

According to Ha, there is not one simple definition of luxury as everybody has a different view depending on their own needs. For example, a person who has traveled to more than 70 countries like Ha, luxury is not a new concept so personalization to meet their requirements precisely is paramount.

At Lux Group, luxury travel is defined as experiences and personalized services. To win over luxury customers, the key is to understand the customer completely and to be able to provide experiences that meet their expectations, touch their hearts, and even give them a pleasant surprise. “Customers only buy the products that best meet their needs, so it is important to understand our customers to be successful in sales” Ha said.

High-end spenders only account for 3 per cent of the total number of visitors to Vietnam. Unlike mass tourism, where many people prefer to travel in groups, upmarket tourists often travel in small groups of family and friends with specific requirements such as privacy, unique, and unusual experiences.

Luxury tourism is no longer a narrow concept limited to staying in 5-star hotels, but ranges across the whole experience including the method of transport, such as helicopter or seaplane, and excursions that are not normally available to regular tourists, such as a private viewing in an artist’s studio. To these clients, the most important aspect is that it is memorable.

Seniors have money, education, experience, are well-traveled, and know exactly what they want, so Ha ensures his staff are particularly well trained and endeavours to offer new products regularly, continually upgrading to meet the highest standards.

Tourism is a key journey, so the Lux Group always focuses on creating heart-warming memories for customers at every point of dealing with the company, from the initial contact, either through personal recommendation or the website, talking to employees, and making the booking. Customers always enjoy personalized service at each stage of the booking.

“A brand is like a promise; customers buy brand promise. If expectations are met and even surpassed, the guests will feel completely happy and even wowed by the whole experience. They are then guaranteed to tell friends and family who will want to find out more” Ha shared.

Doing business is to show empathy, loyalty, and responsibility, qualities that Pham Ha particularly admired in the noble spirit of Bach Thai Buoi, who promoted Vietnamese society so that An Nam, at the beginning of the 20th century, could revive the economy, encourage development, and create a noble class strong enough to rebuild the country and compete with the Chinese and French.

Ha’s childhood dream of owning a cruise ship became a reality.

He was inspired to build Heritage Cruises, a boutique-style brand that is the essence of Vietnamese heritage, rich in culture, history, art, and the quintessence of the north. This unique ship is based on a design seen on old postcards and imbues the spirit of the ship, Binh Chuan, that Bach Thai Buoi launched more than 100 years ago on September 7, 1919.

This historic ship, the largest vessel in An Nam at that time, was the first ship to sail from Cua Cam, Haiphong to Saigon and arrived in port on September 17, 1920. It was warmly received by the business community there who saw the possibilities to create new markets and business and revive national pride – “le premier bateau Annamite à Saigon”- the first Annamese ship to dock in Saigon.

“I acknowledge the culture, traditions, and aristocratic spirit of the early 20th century. That is the reason tourists come, to learn about the culture and history and get under the skin of the country” Ha stated.

Bach Thai Buoi also implemented his principles for the market: trade, trust, perseverance, energy, respect for profession, trade association, public relations, thrift, and focus on the domestic market. His values and business lessons still apply to the current trading conditions to manage effectively businesses and succeed in the marketplace.

“Money is just a tool; the most important thing is what we bring to society”. For Ha, money is not the most important aspect of his work; his passion for what he wants to achieve is the main reason that led him to work in travel, and this helps him to continue his lifelong project and be determined to develop this service industry to the benefit of all.

Ha admits that he is passionate about art and culture. Collecting works of art is a personal hobby which helps him to maintain a work/life balance, as he feels that it is sometimes necessary to slow down to feel better, more creative and happier. You always do what you like and like what you do. He especially likes the paintings by artist Pham Luc, known as the Picasso of Vietnam, because they touch his emotions. In Pham Luc’s paintings, Ha relives his childhood, his parents’ war memories, and Vietnamese stories told through the intriguing combination of colors, lines, and shapes.

That is the reason why hundreds of paintings by Pham Luc are displayed on Emperor Cruises ships (part of the Lux Group) in Nha Trang and Ha Long. Heritage Cruises is the first floating art cruise in Vietnam, as Ha has created a small onboard art gallery featuring the artworks of Pham Luc, works of other famous Vietnamese artists, and rare artworks from the Indochina School of Fine Arts.

Ha said that visitors are very excited about this unique concept and he plans to hold an art auction on the cruise soon. He has just completed his second book about Pham Luc called “A life of art”, following his first book “Picasso of Vietnam, paintings and life”.

The founder of Lux Group said: “A good life is a successful one when judged by others. Our personal contentment, when we do something well, is felt deep within our soul, our heart and our mind”.

THE LUXCRUISES IS HIRING: SALE MANAGER

The Luxcruises ( Heritage Cruises and Emperor Cruises) are seeking a Sales Manager who will lead, develop and inspire the cruise, leisure and tourism travel sales team to achieve our cruise sales targets.

The Sales Manager will provide the leadership to enable the company to achieve its sales goals, by promoting business profitability, monitoring performance, developing new business and effectively utilizing resources.

The Sales Manager reports to DOS/DOSM and shall submit the sales strategy and implement the approved business plans.

The responsibilities of the Sales Manager are:
• Understand the company’s vision, mission, purpose and values and be able to articulate them to the staff and partners.

  • Ensure effective human resources management, development in sales team, coach and grow a strong cruise sales team in both Hanoi, Nha Trang and Saigon offices.
  • Keep, develop a productive partnership with travel agents, tour operators, MICE planners.
  • Keep and enrich a database of clients both b2b and b2c. Coordinate with our reps in various markets.
    • Communicate with clients in the most effective ways. Customer Retention Management (CRM) campaigns including segmented e-mail campaigns, brochure launches & direct sales activity.
    • Ensure strict adherence to control and compliance requirements.
    • Establish and maintain an effective local marketing and sales strategy (Direct sales B2C, B2B contracts)
    • Analysis of success of offline sales campaigns and ongoing modifications where possible.
    • Prepare and/or attend the trade shows, sales calls, events if required.
    • Lead the sales team to ensure high energy, customer focused with a consistent focus on sales Key Performance Indicator (KPI’s).
    • Set, agree and execute performance against all Key Performance Indicator’s, Monthly, Quarterly and Annually.
    • Measure and track actual performance versus budget performance and make any necessary adjustments.
    • Monitoring and reporting of Luxcruises performance and process
    • Maximize revenue by driving up-selling opportunities through tactical selling
    • To actively resolve and investigate customers feedback, issues and queries
    • Engage with suppliers to maximize key selling opportunities liaise with product & commercial, marketing and other departments
    • Daily work with experiences manager/director on board, captain to improve customer’s experiences
    • Arrange media and fam trips for travel professionals, both domestic and international TOs, TAs.
    • Escort and provide “wow” experiences for VIP clients, big groups, charters when necessary
    • Ensure high sales work rate, high occupancy of the boats further to set goals. Meet the annual sales target personally and the whole team.
    • Ensure an effective development of informatics technology, operations system, website, social media.
    • Develop external relationships and partnerships and represent the company (State agencies, third party, media, industry)
    • Proven track record of management across different cultures and good company culture.
    • Strictly follow the process of the company and the provision of customer services
    • Perform any other related duties incidental to the work described herein.
    The skills required for the Sales Manager are:
    • Passionate, luxury-minded person who can speak luxury travel industry in Vietnam and Indochina and experiential cruising travel
    • Two years of experiences required in a similar position in cruises, hospitality, travel and tourism.
    • Exceptional experience in people, coaching and leadership skills
    • Excellent in soft skills and sales management
    • Proven track records driving call centre motivation and change management
    • Experience of working in the leisure travel, hotel, tourism and cruise industry preferred
    • Able to think and operate strategically as well as tactically
    • Task focused deliverer with an exceptional drive for change and quality
    • Creative and proactive approach to problem-solving
    • Excellent numeracy skills to understand sales figures and how to leave them to improve sales performance
    • Ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
    • Travel industry and tour operating experience desirable
    • Ability to demonstrate excellent communication and influencing skills
    • Commercially and customer-focused with an ability to drive strong sales performance
    OTHER SKILLS AND ATTRIBUTES:
    • Excellent in English and Vietnamese in both speaking and writing, other languages are advantages
    • Creativeness and innovation are required
    • Ability to work strategically on the business and also operationally in the business
    • Passionate, responsible and reliable
    • Knowledge and experience in financial management
    • Understanding of sales, marketing and operations
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
    • Demonstrate leadership and ability to foster teamwork
    • Experience travel in the region and passion for cruising in the Emperor style
    • Problem solving and decision making capacities
    • Experience in a multinational business environment advantageous
    • Ability to deal with uncertainties and a fast-changing business environment
    • An understanding of and believe in responsible tourism philosophy
    • Vietnamese nationality candidates are preferable

Pham Luc’s Northern Vietnam Secret

The mysteries and legends in the wartime of Northern Vietnam before 1975 was described specifically underbrush works, colors and skilled shapes of the artist who is known as a master painter of Vietnamese arts. 

Pham Luc, who is one of the most famous artists in Vietnam, is often glorified by art collectors as Picasso. 

The art of Pham Luc depicts the histories, cultures, heritages, daily lives and Vietnamese humans as well from the past to the present. He can create art with any materials such as canvas, silking painting, woodcut, lacquer. 

However, Pham Luc’s branding works in the Vietnamese painting village are the authentic sketches in the Resistance War Against America which are drawn on the burlap sacks being made from the jute or woven yarns. 

The sketches on paper or burlap bags might depict slightly the secrets under the immense vast forest of Truong Son, after the Ham Rong battle or being sometimes the mood, fate and loss in the war.

The people who are an artist, as well as a soldier like Pham Luc, have gone through plenty of fierce battles and lots of wounds, losses and magnanimous moments, easily showing frankly and truly the hardships of the soldiers’ lives and how heating the battles can be. 

After finishing his study from Vietnam College Of Fine Art (1960 – 1965) and graduating from the Vietnam University Of Fine Art in 1977, Pham Luc attended the Vietnamese army within 35 years. He got involved in many battles, especially in Ham Rong. His haunting sketches about the battles which are drawn on paper or burlap sack are collected by the writer being named “The Bac Viet secret during the Resistance War Against America”. 

Summer in 1999, I visited this artist at his home and also his studio in Nghi Tam Street, he introduced about 10 sketches on the paper in the wartime which all were older than me. Beside cups of green tea manually embalmed with West Lake Lotus blossoms, he said that he had just found those sketches and brought them from Ha Tinh to Hanoi. 

He was eager to tell about the obsessive memories of war, life experiences, the people he met and portrayed, the beautiful countryside landscapes, marvelous mountain ranges, blue oceans, the loves amongst people during the war and final, the comradeship of between soldiers and residents. By the quick and simple sketch under the brilliant hands of the artist, the paintings but still present the authentic and idyllic charm. 

“This is war memories and a part of the national histories that I have kept until now. These pictures are only a few paintings left. Precious things should belong to a fine person. Since I very adore you, so I give it all to you. You will be the person who keeps the part of my artist-soldier life”, he told me. 

We were born in the 1970s when the country was in the process of unification. Therefore, we had no ideas about the war. Only when we heard many war stories from our family did we imagine more specifically about wartime and history. 

For me, the memories of the War Against America are the indelibly impressive stories that I heard from my grandparents, parents, and relatives as well. They used to live and fight in the North of Vietnam and had a common target “Across Truong Son to beat the Americans” to save the Nation and gain national unification like my father. 

I grew up with my father’s memories and the soldier stories of my grandfather from Old Ha Tay Province to the 17th parallel. My mother often told me about difficult and rough lives when the people have to produce the provisions and foods to relieve the battles and also are ready to fight and protect the village when needed. Besides, the women have the feeling of missing their husbands and are happy when receiving husband’s letters from the battle due to knowing that he’s still alive. They also feel the pain when a part of their body is lost due to booms.   

She told about the classes organized under the trenches to avoid unexpected booms, many students moved from the city to the countryside. The women played an important role not only in fighting to protect their houses, villages and the nation but also in working in the fields and producing provisions as men. They did anything since their husbands were against the enemy. 

Despite collecting so many paintings of Pham Luc, I get accessed to his first war sketches that leave me extremely profound impressions. The secrets and heating battles memories of the lives in Northern Vietnam before 1975 are captured completely in each picture from the brush strokes, colors to different shapes. With the brilliant combinations, this man had created the masterpieces. 

Pham Luc’s sketches are presented in different kinds of paper such as covers, newsprints, soft papers as well as all smooth materials that he uses to depict what he could see and feel. The contents of pictures might be the secret of soldiers and residents in the North during the wartime. 

His paintings are drawn during the 1965 – 1975 and shown on various materials with different topics. The quick sketches that the artist see, feel, grasp and convey quickly like being afraid of a moment of historical loss.

The shaping way is rustic, open-minded and simple mixed color as well as Pham Luc’s familiar style. Typically, the mood of a young wife remembers her husband and loves her kid making a strong impression or the young wife looks at the picture of her husband being a dead soldier and touches the child in his womb who is about to give birth without knowing his father’s face.

Beside vision perspectives, Pham Luc’s paintings impressed me by the contents with clear themes. That was the parallel of romantic emotions, burning desires for peace and freedom, and war memories. 

Along with the war topics, Pham Luc made the mark of pictures close to countryside landscapes, mountainous areas, motherhood and daily routines of soldiers and people in Northern Vietnam (Bac Viet). 

Pham Luc’s paintings present somethings strength, generous and improvisation that you can easily see from Vietnamese soldiers. When drawing, Pham Luc catches the emotions with direct and non-trimmed sketching. The viewers can feel intense emotions in each picture. 

There are about 100 paintings, many of which are created within the year 1965 – 1975 and exhibited on Heritage Cruises. 

Based on the passion, Heritage Cruises connects closely with the artist – Pham Luc from the tourism styles, decorations, cuisines, wines, service arts to music and art as well. All those things represent for Vietnam – the country has an abundance of values in terms of histories, cultures, natures, heritages, and cuisines. That absolutely creates the moments of truth delighting the guests. 

Touching Vietnam’s heritage on a masterpiece in the natural wonder of Halong Bay.

Positioning itself as Vietnam’s first boutique cruise, bringing heritage alive with its own stories to tell, the Heritage Cruises fleet aims to provide guests with an authentic and unique cruising experience to showcase Vietnam’s culture, history, and cuisine on the country’s very first art cruise in the natural wonder of the Halong region.

What

Deriving the inspiration for its boutique concept and design from the heritage ships of patriotic entrepreneur Bach Thai Buoi, who was considered as the “King of Cruise Ships” in Vietnam in the early 20th century, Heritage Cruises consists of 20 suites ranging from 33m2 to 80m2, divided into three different categories (Delta, Ocean, and Heritage Suites) with a maximum capacity of 60 guests.

On board, there is a range of luxury amenities including two restaurants, L’Indochine and Le Tonkin, for Vietnamese gourmet cuisine, Vietnam’s first infinity swimming pool, a pool bar, sophisticated wine cellar, and the Red River Lounge for relaxation and contemplating the traditional art form of Hang Trong, unique to Vietnam.

Heritage Cruises hosts a floating exhibition, L’Art de l’Annam, which showcases the first designer art gallery of artist Pham Luc, known as the Picasso of Vietnam, as well as the works of many famous Vietnamese artists. The Bach Thai Buoi Library is ideal for reading and relaxation surrounded by pictures depicting the daily lives of people in northern Vietnam.

Why

Apart from offering a cosier atmosphere, the small size of this ship allows easy access to remote, less-visited places that larger vessels just can’t reach.

This boutique cruise company categorises its ships not using a star rating but by character, quality, style, and the overall unique experience. Each guest is treated like nobility and can experience the finest things in life, in private, and with every tiny detail attended to. Travelers spend their time spotting local wildlife, snorkeling, boating, kayaking, embracing Mother Nature, and passing time with their fellow passengers and crew.

Cruising is all about places, experiences and memories. The Heritage Cruises team ensures that their guests enjoy every single moment on board by providing the chance to cruise the Gulf of Tonkin (Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, and Halong Bay) complemented by personalized service.

Heritage Cruises combines warm hospitality with a lovely ambiance to make our guests stay a cruising experience to remember.

When

Launching on 7 September 2019, with 1-, 2- and 3-night options, Heritage Cruises will offer authentic experiences on an architecturally designed boutique river and ocean cruise ship departing from Haiphong – only 90 minutes from Hanoi.

Bach Thai Buoi was an inspirational entrepreneur of the early 20th century for many Vietnamese generations. Everything he worked on was aspirational, visionary and for the nation, with profits as an afterthought. He even created a dictionary and a newspaper for the Vietnamese. In the early 20th century, Bach Thai Buoi was ranked among the “four bourgeois tigers” by Hanoians. He was one of the richest, most respected men and the first Vietnamese person to own a car. He had many names, such as the “Lord of the Rivers in Tonkin” and the “King of Ocean Cruise Ships.”

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Vietnamese Binh Chuan cruise, which in 1919 became the first ship to cruise along the coastline of Vietnam from Haiphong to Saigon.

How

The Heritage Cruises ship has 20 suites including four Heritage Suites, ten Ocean Suites, and six Delta Suites. The two King and Queen suites are the largest, at 46 sq m, and all suites blend heritage design with the elegance of 1930s Indochina. Heritage Cruises epitomizes the art of cruising with its state-of-the-art suites with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views, 2 restaurants, 3 bars, a year-round infinity swimming pool, 2 spa treatment rooms, fitness center, sauna, hot tub, library, shop, art gallery, and other facilities.

Heritage Cruises is a popular choice amongst travelers to Cat Ba Island, whether exploring or just passing through. Offering a variety of facilities and services, guests enjoy free wi-fi in all rooms, 24-hour room service, 24-hour security, and daily housekeeping. Comfortable guestrooms ensure a good night’s sleep with some rooms featuring facilities such as complimentary tea and coffee and free welcome drink.

Where

Halong Bay is one of the New Wonders of the World and tourists flock to sail on its karst-dotted waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. A few miles away, however, is another bay that is just as beautiful but with fewer tourists. Heritage Cruises provides guests with a unique twist in the natural wonder of Lan Ha Bay in the Cat Ba Archipelago, easily reached from Haiphong.

The Heritage Cruises route sails through the unique landscape of the Cat Ba Archipelago. Cat Ba Island has a surface area of 285km2 and retains the dramatic and rugged features of Halong Bay. This island belongs to Haiphong City – an important industrial city which, together with Hanoi and Halong, forms an important economic triangle in north Vietnam.

Approximately half of Cat Ba Island is covered by its national park, which is the home to the highly endangered Cat Ba Langur. The Cat Ba Archipelago boasts pristine beaches, secluded lagoons, coves, tropical forests, and lakes, allowing holidaymakers to swim, kayak and bike to fully experience the Gulf of Tonkin. The itinerary also includes the fishing villages of Lan Ha Bay, and watersports such as kayaking, squid fishing, and snorkeling as well as wildlife spotting.

Who

Heritage Cruises is available for FITs (free independent travelers), small groups and charters. This top-notch cruising experience is perfect for repeat travelers to Vietnam wanting something out of the ordinary and exotic.

The exclusive cruising experiences are highly recommended for heritage travelers, seasoned leisure travelers, active holidaymakers, honeymooners, families, fine-art enthusiasts, nature lovers, photographers, groups of friends, VIPs and celebrities.

Heritage Cruises operates from Got Harbor in Haiphong, on a daily basis for the day cruise, with scheduled 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-night programs. In addition, Heritage Expeditions is the first cruise line to offer a 4-night option in the Halong region as well as special event cruises. Private air or helicopter charters for leisure and professionals are available upon request.

Verdict

From October 1 to December 30, guests can discover, explore, and relax in the natural wonders of the Cat Ba Archipelago and Lan Ha Bay, one of the most beautiful marine areas in Vietnam, on cruises starting from VND3.99 million ($170) per adult per night for maiden voyages, valid until 30 December 2019.

The rate includes accommodation in a Delta Suite for two, with ocean views from a private balcony, a light breakfast, lunch and dinner, drinks from the minibar, roundtrip transfers between Hanoi and Got Harbor, and use of the four-season swimming pool, sauna, gym, and kayaks.

Two children under 12 years of age can sleep with their parents for free. For more information, contact 088 603 6668 or email [email protected], or discover more at www.heritagecruises.com.