VIE-STYLE

Australian travel consultant hosts a podcast about Việt Nam tourism

For 15 years, Kerry Newsome developed a passion for Việt Nam which led her to work with a local hotel group and tour operator as a tourism consultant

By Trần Khánh An

Working in the tourism and marketing industry for more than 20 years, Kerry Newsome had the opportunity to visit Việt Nam for the first time in 2007. Now, it seems, Việt Nam has cast her under its spell.

She comes back two or three times a year to keep up to date with the ever-changing landscape of the country. She strives to explore and gain knowledge of different regions during every trip, always discovering something new from north to south.

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Kerry in Hội An City, Quảng Nam Province, which she considers as her second home. Photo courtesy of Kerry Newsome.

Most of the time when she visits, Kerry lives in Hội An, a place she considers her second home.

“Hội An is a comfy and alluring city. I enjoy leisurely strolls, exploring new areas, and discovering its enchanting alleyways,” Kerry said.

For 15 years, she developed a passion for Việt Nam which led her to work with a local hotel group and tour operator as a tourism consultant.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kerry was forced to cut her trip short and head back to her home in Sydney, not knowing when she would be back.

Missing Việt Nam, Kerry decided to take this country’s travel experiences to a new level and began hosting her own podcast called What about Vietnam.

She said: “My goal at the time was to maintain a strong presence in Việt Nam’s tourism industry, even during a time when many people were unable to travel. I wish to inspire more individuals to discover and appreciate this beautiful country.”

Kerry’s podcast features a diverse range of guest speakers, not only travellers who have visited different destinations of Việt Nam, but also expats currently living and working here.

Industry experts, hotel and tour managers are also invited to share their insights.

As someone who works in the tourism industry, she is well-positioned to offer advice to travellers. Drawing from both personal experience and her network, she can provide real insights into the complexities and nuances of tourism in Việt Nam.

Her listeners can expect to hear about unique and memorable experiences of travel and tourism in Việt Nam that they may not find in guidebooks.

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Kerry at Mai Châu, Hòa Bình Province in the north of Việt Nam during her trip in 2018. Photo courtesy of Kerry Newsome.

Kerry often leads her audience on a captivating tour of some of the most fascinating localities. However, her exploration does not stop there.

She also delves into the expat experience in Việt Nam, showcasing the local cuisine, and highlights unique activities like cooking classes, social enterprises, local handicrafts and the growing interest in wellness and cultural experiences with local minority groups in the north.

“I try to keep my listeners interested in all travel-related aspects of Việt Nam,” she said.

Since launching in May 2020, What About Vietnam has a growing audience of more than 70,000 listeners from all around the world, but English-speaking and mostly Westerners.

She wants to create content related to their experiences and take away any wrong perceived views they may have about Việt Nam.

In addition, Kerry also supports local charities. Through the CEF Children’s Education Foundation, she supported two Vietnamese girls in Quảng Nam to help their education and gain a place at university.

“Their father had just passed away, and they were not able to attend school as they would need to work in the rice fields with their mother to earn a living,” Kerry shared.

Kerry and her husband decided to support the CEF Foundation and the girls, to allow them to continue school until the girls finished university.

“During those years, the girls and I would meet up and have lunch together, or do a cooking class or even go swimming,” she said.

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Kerry Newsome wearing áo dài at the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) roadshows which toured Australia promoting Việt Nam to Australian travel agents. Photo courtesy of Kerry Newsome

Currently, Kerry offers trip-planning advice to her clients about Việt Nam. In the future, she wants to grow her business as a trip advisor. She has some great ideas on the drawing board.

She said: “I have already designed a Girls Getaway tour. Female travellers often cannot find somebody to travel with, and they also assume that travelling alone to Việt Nam is not safe.

“By joining an all-girl tour, female visitors not only feel confident to explore to the fullest but also have the opportunity to make new friends and enjoy the trip in a well-cared way for the environment.”

The biggest news for Kerry is her expansion into medical tourism.

“Medical tourism in Việt Nam is not as well-known compared to Thailand,” she said.

“I hope to raise the awareness of the skills and talents of medical procedures in Việt Nam, and support the patients with travel experiences and stays as a subset of their recovery and or treatment.”

“It will benefit many as these kinds of treatments are often unaffordable for many in the west.”

Her podcast can be listened to across most of the popular podcast channels or via the website https://www.whataboutvietnam.com/.

Theo Vietnamnews