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CEO of LuxGroup: A computer, a bike, and a self-coded website dream of Made in Vietnam cruises on the sea

CEO of LuxGroup: A computer, a bike, and a self-coded website dream of Made in Vietnam cruises on the sea

Market Times: The Chairman and CEO of LuxGroup shared that his biggest passion in life is the tourism business, not just for the money.

CEO of LuxGroup: A computer, a bike, and a self-coded website dream of Made in Vietnam cruises on the sea
Mr. Pham Ha – Chairman and CEO of LuxGroup, born in 1975, went through various roles in a short period, from being a white-collar worker, an interpreter, a filmmaker, before becoming a tour guide specializing in adventure tourism for French tourists at the renowned travel company Buffalo Tours.

“At the adventure tourism company, I took on various roles, from being a guide, manager, to head of business and marketing. I completed my English language and business management studies before deciding to start my own business on March 11, 2005,” Mr. Ha shared.


When he started his own business in 2004, Mr. Pham Ha had only a computer with an internet connection and $1,000, but his passion for providing luxury travel services for inbound tourists (foreign travellers to Vietnam) drove him to overcome obstacles.

According to him, tourism isn’t just about taking people to a destination; it’s a mission to create unique experiences and beautiful memories for travelers.

The name “Lux” (short for “luxury”), stands for Leader in Luxury Travel, Unique Difference and X Factor for Experience Wow, also implies the company’s customer profile, serving high-end clients who are willing to spend and have unique travel needs, not following the crowd. At that time, the Internet was just beginning to develop widely in Vietnam, and Mr. Ha had to code the website and design the interface at his first office in the house at 35 Hong Phuc Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.

Chủ tịch kiêm CEO LuxGroup recalls: “We had only one office, one computer, and a beautiful New Zealand bike. However, we had a big dream passion – to elevate tourism in Vietnam and realize the dream of ‘Made in Vietnam’ cruises on the blue sea.”

“I discovered these dreams from personal experiences when I was young. I traveled with my father on the named Thống Nhất cruise ship from Hai Phong to Ho Chi Minh City in the 1980s. Since then, the dream of luxury cruise tourism in Vietnam grew, and I always dreamed of owning a private cruise fleet to explore the country and introduce travelers to the seas, islands, and the coastal charm of Vietnam, in the spirit of the nobleman Bạch Thái Bưởi,” Mr. Ha said.

He confided, “This is the happiest job for me. I do it out of passion and love, not just for money.”

Choosing the niche market of luxury cruise tourism, Mr. Ha has faced difficulties in managing the two cruise brands, Emperor Cruises ( and Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan (, which belong to Lux Cruises Group (, a subsidiary of LuxGroup.

There were times when his staff on the cruises didn’t serve customers as expected or he himself felt unsatisfied. He always dedicates time to personally inspect and check the quality of cabins and food on each ship to ensure the highest standards.

Running this special form of tourism is not simple because the cruise market is relatively new and open, and creating a good and unique product is challenging. Travellers always want to explore, experience, enjoy, and relax with things they haven’t tried before.

Mr. Ha believes, “The human factor is unique, and no business can copy another. Any business that builds a professional workforce with competence, good professional skills, dedication, and customer care will create a difference and gain an advantage in this green industry.” Each employee on each cruise must be trained to become a brand ambassador for LuxGroup.

Speaking about the business situation this year, the CEO of LuxGroup revealed that the conglomerate’s revenue in the first nine months of the year reached 80% of the plan. The company is expected to complete 2023 with revenue exceeding 110% of the initial plan.

LuxGroup’s growth strategy is the triangle of brand – research – product development based on the profile of potential customers. What’s surprising is that this private enterprise has no marketing department and human resources department; it only has the Business Development and Growth Department and the Talent and Corporate Culture Department.


Acknowledging many influences regarding the business philosophy based on the national spirit of “Vietnamese people can do it,” which comes from the 19th-century shipowner Bạch Thái Bưởi, with the timeless slogan: “Creating wealth is a great moral principle, not to be underestimated,” entrepreneur Pham Ha stressed several times throughout the conversation that the only owner of LuxGroup is the customer.

All LuxGroup employees are trained to deeply understand that the customer is their “boss” because they are the ones paying their salaries. In addition, LuxGroup focuses on the depth of its human resources, focusing on recruiting young, dynamic, creative, and multilingual employees who can use English and six other common Western languages effectively.

This U50 leader believes that the 4.0 digital era of tourism, with the explosion of AI, all have a common point, which is the destination of experiences and memories.

He further analyzed, “Luxury service is the sum of attitude, service that elevates art, and effective standard processes. Currently, in a highly competitive environment for personnel and travel experiences, with products that are almost identical from destinations, hotels, restaurants, etc., business culture and staff quality will be the key to business success.”

Employees at the company go through a 7-day training program each year, covering “soul transformation, 6 touchpoints, 6 levels of satisfaction, 10 regulations, corporate culture, and heartfelt service,” and then training in professional skills, knowledge, and languages.

“What’s important is to create a happy, trusting, kind, honest, successful, happy, and prosperous environment. A creative, equal workspace where every employee can see themselves as a crucial link in the operation of the entire system,” Mr. Pham Ha emphasized.

However, LuxGroup’s journey is not always smooth sailing. The unexpected arrival of Covid-19 nearly swept away all the efforts of the LuxGroup ( team. It was due to their spirit of unity, open sharing, and proactive creativity that the company was able to overcome that period.

Business is like a big game, with victories and defeats, according to LuxGroup’s owner. He affirms that his company doesn’t chase quick profits but instead builds a solid and sustainable foundation. The ultimate goal is not just profit but also happiness for employees and customers.

He believes that compared to neighboring countries like Thailand and Malaysia, which welcome up to 40 million tourists annually, Vietnam’s tourism economy still has a lot of potential for development. However, according to him, the government should plan tourism as a comprehensive economic sector, contributing to GDP and job creation.

He recommends, “We hope that the government accurately assesses the value of the tourism industry and sets policies to support its development. This includes aspects like night economics, cyclic tourism, sharing economy, digital economy, and clean agriculture. Policies need to be changed to develop the tourism economy and ensure effective management, ending the current situation of rapid but unsustainable development.”

By Thanh Trung

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