VNAT to rally Gov’t support for tourism promotion fund

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) will seek the Government’s approval for a scheme to create funds for tourism promotion by charging hotels US$1 for one-night stay of each international visitor.

According to VNAT, the proposal will be submitted to the Government this month, having received backing from many travel firms and hotels.

The Vietnam Tourism Association has also had a similar proposal to increase funding for tourism promotion activities.

“In the view of businesses, we agree with such proposal. The State collect taxes from tourism activities and should set aside a certain amount for reinvestment. Vietnam’s tourism needs more money for effective promotion activities,” said Tao Van Nghe, general director of the Rex Hotel.

Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travelink Co., said that the proposal was necessary to increase the funding. With around five million international tourists staying three nights at hotels each, there will be US$15 million for promotion activities, he added.

According to VNAT, Vietnam welcomes around 7.4 million international tourists and 35 million domestic tourists this year, with revenues amounting to some VND195 trillion, or roughly US$9.2 billion. The number of international tourists is expected to reach eight million next year.

The budget for tourism promotion this year is estimated at only around VND20 billion, or less than US$1 million.

Northern province welcomes visitors


The northern province of Ha Giang welcomed about 440,000 visitors, including 130,000 foreigners this year.

The figure represents a 5 per cent increase year-on-year, according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The province obtained about VND500 billion (US$23.8 million) in tourism revenues, reaching the target set for this year.

The department said the province would continue to improve the quality of tourism products and call for more businesses to invest in the area's hospitality sector.

Hue moves to attract more tourists

The Hue Relic Conservation Centre in collaboration with the local tourism and hotel associations will launch a tourism promotion week from December 24-30, to lure more tourists during the festival season at the end of the year.

During the week, the centre will offer many promotions, for example free tour guides to each group of up to 20 visitors to visit the inner citadel, free tickets to student groups and 50 percent reduction in electric bus service to the Hue Royal Palace.

Ticket price for performances of Nha Nhac ( Hue royal court music) will also be reduced by half during the period.

On the occasion, the organisers will hold a conference of tour operators nationwide to share experience on tour operation and services on December 30.

In addition, the centre will present special prize for the two millionth, 1999,900th and 2,000,100th visitors.

To date, the central province of ThuaThien-Hue received 1,785,000 visitors, up 3.2 percent over the same period last year. Foreign visitors numbered 748,000, an increase of 2.4 percent.

Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia boost ties in fine arts

Leaders of the Fine Arts Associations of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia held a friendship meeting in Hanoi on December 12, to share initiatives in strengthening their ties.

They concurred with a proposal made by the Vietnamese association’s chairman Tran Khanh Chuong on organising exhibitions to introduce art works of all three countries to the public, while promoting exchange and bilateral meetings among the countries.

The Chairmen of the f ine arts associations of Laos and Cambodia expressed their gratitude to their Vietnamese counterpart for its support in the last years, saying that they hope the cooperation between the three sides will increasingly develop in the future.

Since 2004, 11 delegations of Lao and Cambodian painters visited and worked in Vietnam while nine artist delegations from Vietnam attended events in the two neighbouring countries.

This is the second time leaders of the three associations has met to exchange views on their common concerns in the art field. The third event of its kind will be held Phnom Penh , Cambodia in 2015.-

Singapore Airlines opens roomier Airbus route from HCMC

Singapore Airlines will offer its clients passage on Airbus A330-300 aircraft for flights between Ho Chi Minh City and the Lion State starting January 1, 2014.

The aircraft boasts 255 Economy Class and 30 Business Class seats, with more leg room for passengers than the Boeing 777-200 the carrier is currently operating for the route.

To mark the launch of the new aircraft, Singapore Airlines is offering special fares on business and economy class seats from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Danang to various destinations in Europe, Australia, Japan, India and Dubai.

The offer is valid for ticket purchases from December 4 to January 5 for flights between January 1 and April 10 next year.

The company opened its Airbus A330-300 flights in Hanoi in July.

Japan tours club to be set up soon in Hanoi

Local tourism companies will gather together in Hanoi on Sunday to set up a corporate club specializing in launching tours to Japan with an aim to lure more local visitors to the Land of the Rising Sun.

With the tourism club, member enterprises will work together to support visitors as well as look for cooperation from Japanese partners to offer sharper discounts for visitors.

Vu The Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said that 24 tour operators throughout the country such as Ben Thanh Tourist, Fiditour, Hanoitourist, Vietnamtourism, Huong Giang Travel and Viet Media Travel would join the club. When in place, the club will introduce numerous tours to Japan at preferential prices to woo customers, he said, adding two air carriers Vietnam Airlines and Japan Airlines are throwing full support behind the scheme.

“We cannot reveal the specific tour prices right now but the prices would be lower, offering more choices to visitors. However, the most important thing is that the club will set up a mechanism to cooperate with Japan to protect the rights and benefits of visitors,” he noted.

The number of Vietnamese tourists to Japan is increasing sharply, which is estimated at up to some 100,000 this year, almost doubling last year’s figure, Binh reported. The Japanese side is also deploying plenty of activities to draw Vietnamese travelers, with roughly 200,000 Vietnamese expected in 2015, he said.

Japan has recently introduced multiple-entry visa policy for Vietnamese visitors instead of singly-entry visa like before.

Besides establishing the club on outbound tours to Japan, the Vietnam Tourism Association also has plans to join forces with Japanese partners to set up a tourism representative office in the country to promote the image and the connection between the two nations’ tourism enterprises and support visitors.

More than 500,000 Japanese tourists have come to Vietnam this year and the local tourism industry is looking to welcome around one million visitors from Japan by 2015.

VietJetAir launches promotional fares for the holidays

VietJetAir is offering discounted tickets starting from VND99,000 (US$4.7) for all of its domestic and international routes as part of its "Happy Holiday-Surprise in hand" promotional scheme.

The discounted tickets will be available from December 18 to January 15, 2014 for flights scheduled between December 25 and March 31, 2014 on three routes including HCM City-Bangkok, Ha Noi-Bangkok and Vinh-Da Lat.

Flights, which will depart between January 1 and January 31, 2014, on its remaining routes including Ha Noi to Da Nang, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Buon Ma Thuot and HCM City; or from Hai Phong, Vinh, Hue, Da Nang, Buon Ma Thuot, Nha Trang to HCM City will also enjoy the same discounted fares.

Luxury cruise ship brings 3,000 foreigners to Vietnam

US flagship Celebrity Millennium docked at Ba Ria-Vung Tau province’s Cai Mep international port on December 13, bringing 3,000 foreign passengers and crew to the southern locality.

The tourists, mainly Americans, British, Canadians, and Australians, will tour ancient relics in Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh City, and My Tho.

The ship will leave for Chan May port on December 14, giving passengers the chance to explore Hue’s  former imperial city, Hoi An ancient town, the coastal city of Danang, and the My Son Sanctuary.

They will travel on to Halong Bay, their final destination, on December 17, and conclude the six-day tour on December 18.

The ship is scheduled to return to Vietnam again on December 24 for another Halong-Hue-Ho Chi Minh City tour.

The Celebrity Millennium is one of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships, renowned for its grand design and services including restaurants, a martini bar, cinema, theater, and shopping centre.

Saigontourist has welcomed more than 170,000 foreign tourists and crew to Vietnam in 2013, cementing its position as the national leader in maritime tourism.