VietNamNet Bridge – An overwhelming number – estimated at between 80% and 85% - of international tourists never return to Vietnam after their unsatisfactory first visit, so Vietnam must make drastic changes to enhance its appeal, heard a meeting in Hanoi on Wednesday.

Business representatives at the meeting on Wednesday said numerous problems persist in the country’s tourism industry, discouraging visitors. Still, the country this year is expected to welcome 6.7 million international tourists, rising by 11% year-on-year, and 32 million local visitors with a total revenue of VND160 trillion.

The meeting was held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for conversations between tourism companies and the State Steering Committee on Tourism.

At the meeting, Vietravel asked for drastic solutions to tackle pickpockets and robberies on the road and at tourist attractions. About five to seven customers taking Vietravel tours become victims of pickpockets a month on average and this has negatively affected visitors’ psychology, discouraging them from coming back to Vietnam next time.

Statistics presented at the conference shows that over the past five years up to 80-85% of international visitors when asked said they don’t want to return to Vietnam. This is partly because visitors are not satisfied with the evils they met in the country.

Furthermore, prices of tours of the local industry are always 30% higher than in other nations while the quality is poor.

In the meantime, the visa exemption policy applicable to a number of Asian nations to attract travelers to Vietnam will be cancelled soon, plus visa fee increase from early next month. Many firms expressed concerns that the fee hike will push up prices of tours, making Vietnam unable to compete with other regional countries.

Some tour operators proposed the tourism industry focus on building up the national tourism brand to lure foreign arrivals to Vietnam.

Vietravel suggested using the country’s diverse dishes to developing the national tourism brand with an aim to make Vietnam become “the kitchen” of the world.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan as director of the State Steering Committee on Tourism asked localities to deal with social evils in tourism activities. Also, he called for the localities to utilize their own strength to develop tourism.

The Government by December 20 will approve a comprehensive zoning plan to develop the local tourism by 2020 and visions to 2030 prepared by the culture ministry.

Source: SGT