VietNamNet Bridge – While the Vietnam National Tourism Administration (VNAT) highly appreciated the achievements and set ambitious plans on tourism development, travel firms feel depressed about the future.



Encouraging results encourage VNAT to have higher dream

Vietnam had received 6.847 million foreign tourists by the end of 2012, an increase of 11 percent, 32.5 million domestic travelers, an increase of 8 percent, and obtained the turnover of VND160 trillion, an increase of 23 percent over 2011.

The figures, according to VNAT, show that Vietnam still made encouraging results in a very tough year 2012. The watchdog agency hopes to receive 7.2 million foreign and 35 million domestic travelers this year, which would bring the total revenue of VND190 trillion, or nearly $10 billion.

VNAT said it has every reason to believe that the target is within reach. Vietnam has been named in the list of the USTOA (US Tour Operators’ Association) attractive destinations in 2013, which gives Vietnam bigger opportunities to attract tourists from the world, including the new markets.

In early March 2013, Vietnam was recognized by Go Asia as the second most popular destination in Asia (Go Asia is an association in Germany with 3,000 members in the tourism sector).

Prior to that, Vietnam was listed among the most 10 attractive destinations in 2013 by iWantSun, the leading tourism website in the UK.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has drawn up a tourism promotion program for 2013, offering a lot of preferences to travel firms to help advertise Vietnam as a good destination and attract more tourists.

Under the program, the travel firms to join famtrip programs would be able to enjoy the 50 percent airfare reduction. The State would prop up 50 percent of the expenses for the firms to organize roadshows overseas, 50 percent of the expenditure for them to attend international trade fairs.

The ministry has also proposed the Prime Minister to cut down 50 percent of VAT and exempt from the corporate income tax for travel firms, hotels and carriers in 2013.

Travel firms still don’t feel happy enough

Not feeling too happy about the titles given by international organizations, Nguyen Huu Tho, Chair of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said that though Vietnam has a lot of valuable natural resources, beautiful landscapes, original historical and cultural fortunes, it still yields to Thailand in Go Asia’s award. Meanwhile, Vietnam has been inferior to many other countries in terms of the tourists it has attracted.

Tho also reminded people of the reported figure that the number of foreign tourists to Vietnam in the first two months of the year decreased by 9.6 percent in comparison with the same period of the last year.

Travel firms have noted that the majority of foreign tourists do not intend to return to Vietnam for the second and subsequent times, because they cannot find anything new and attractive at the destinations.

Tran Thi Mong Hong, Managing Director of VietVentures travel firm, has noted that the tourists from Western Europe, including French tourists, tend to travel to Myanmar. The big changes in Myanmar, the country which once closed its door to the world, has made Myanmar become the destination which most interests the US people in 2013.

Meanwhile, also according to Hong, Japanese and Chinese, who once traveled to Vietnam, now tend to go to Cambodia, which not only has Angkor, but has also actively advertised for Shihanoukville and Bokor recently.

Compiled by C. V