Guide to Opening a Guesthouse, Hostel or Hotel in Vietnam

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the number of tourists visiting the country has been continually growing every month, creating rewarding opportunities in Vietnam’s hospitality industry. In this article, we focus on guiding you through the process of setting up a hotel in Vietnam. Requirements for hospitality businesses in Vietnam Minimum capital requirement […]

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the number of tourists visiting the country has been continually growing every month, creating rewarding opportunities in Vietnam’s hospitality industry. In this article, we focus on guiding you through the process of setting up a hotel in Vietnam.

Requirements for hospitality businesses in Vietnam

Minimum capital requirement in Vietnam

There is no official minimum capital requirement for most business lines in Vietnam. The capital requirement only applies to certain business classifications which operate on a larger scale, such as factories.

Despite having no minimum capital requirement, investors still need to keep in mind that the charter capital has to cover all the planned activities.

For example, if you wish to open a hotel in Vietnam, you need to take account of all expenses that you will make. That is, whether you need to build some facilities and so on.

Read more about the minimum capital requirement in Vietnam.

Allowed foreign ownership of hospitality businesses in Vietnam

By law, foreign investors can set up 100% foreign-owned hotels, guesthouses, or any types of businesses related to providing lodging services in Vietnam.

However, for providing other tourism services, you need to have a local company involved. The allowed foreign ownership of tourism companies in Vietnam is 99,99%.

If you plan to offer both accommodation and tourism-related services, it would be wiser to set up two different legal entities – a 100% foreign-owned hotel and a second company to provide other tourism services.

Emerhub also offers a nominee shareholder service where your rights will be protected by a set of legal documents so that you would have full control over your company. Contact us for more information via [email protected].

Setting up a guesthouse, hostel, or a hotel in Vietnam

Based on the Law of Tourism of 2017, there are certain conditions that all investors need to bear in mind when establishing a lodging business in Vietnam.

These special conditions are, for example:

  • The legal representative of the company must be a Vietnamese national with a clear criminal record. This requirement is important for this industry as in most business lines, only a resident of the country can be the representative of the company.
  • Certificate of fire prevention and fighting
  • Security and order guarantee plan
  • Suitable infrastructure

The fulfillment of the last two requirements will be inspected by a relevant authority.

Providing tourism services in Vietnam

If you are looking to provide any tourism services to the guests, you will also need an international travel license.

To obtain this license, you must enter into a joint-venture with a 100% Vietnamese-owned company that already has the license.

This is the reason why a local company has to be involved and foreign investors can own up to 99.99% of the capital.

Furthermore, the owners of the company must make a deposit of at least VND 250,000,000 (~US$ 11,000) to the bank account of the tourism company. However, this is obligatory only to a handful of businesses. Also, the money cannot be used for operating expenses of the company.

Another requirement for tourism companies in Vietnam is that the person in charge of travel services must have a higher degree or equivalent in tourism. If the degree is in another major, they have to obtain a certificate of training in domestic tour operation.

Also, the company can only hire certified tour guides.

Opening a restaurant or a bar in a guesthouse, hostel, or a hotel in Vietnam

Foreign investors can set up a restaurant or a bar in their lodging facilities without any minimum capital requirement nor foreign ownership restrictions.

However, they need to obtain the food safety certificate in addition to other hospitality business licenses.

Operating other businesses under a hotel in Vietnam

You can also provide other services under your hospitality business. However, you need to get the appropriate sub-licenses to be able to provide these services.

It is also possible to rent out facilities to other companies to provide services, such as spa and transportation. In that case, you can earn a share of the profit.

Land acquisition in Vietnam

Foreign nationals or companies with foreign direct investment cannot purchase land in Vietnam. However, they can lease land for up to 50 years and even extend the lease after that. During this time, the land can be sold to a local citizen or a locally-owned company in full rights.

Therefore, legally it is not possible for foreign investors to buy land in Vietnam. In reality, however, it is possible to own land through a lease agreement.

We have explained it further in our previous article about buying property in Vietnam.

Timeline of registering a hotel in Vietnam

hotel in Vietnam

#1 Investment registration certificate

The first step of any foreign investment company registration process in Vietnam is to acquire an investment registration certificate from the Department of Planning and Investment. This certificate allows you to conduct business in Vietnam. It can take up to 1 month to acquire it.

#2 Business registration certificate

The second license all foreign companies in Vietnam need to get is the business registration certificate. This will take up to 1 week.

Also, keep in mind that after the Department of Planning and Investment has granted you a business registration certificate, you have 90 days to make the initial capital contribution.

#3 Additional licenses

After acquiring the first two mandatory licenses, hospitality businesses also need additional licenses in order to operate in the lodging industry. It will take approximately 2 weeks to obtain these licenses.

However, if you also aim to offer other services in addition to lodging, you also need some other sub-licenses. For example, an international travel license for tourism services or food safety license for a restaurant. These licenses will add an additional month to the process.

Getting started with setting up a guesthouse or a hotel in Vietnam

For any further questions about setting up a hospitality business or registering a company in Vietnam, do not hesitate to reach out to us by filling in the form below. Our consultants in Ho Chi Minh City will help you gladly.

Since 2011, Emerhub has helped over 500 companies of all sizes enter Southeast Asian markets.

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