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Destination Vietnam

August 3, 2008

Vietnam: Tourism income expected to hit $4bn by year end
Vietnam hoped to see its tourism revenue reach 64 trillion dong (over $3.8 billion) by the end of the year, an increase of 14 percent over last year, state news agency VNA quoted Nguyen Van Binh from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) as saying at a recent meeting held in Hanoi.

The country wants to receive 4.8 to 5 million foreign arrivals, which would reflect an annual increase of 10-19 per cent, while hoping to attract 21 million domestic visitors by the end of December.

In order to reach this goal, an increased effort must be made in the remaining months of the year, he emphasised.

Top priority will be given to continue advertising the image of Vietnamese tourism in new international networks, as well as improving the quality of existing tourism products and creating high quality tourism services.

In early October last year, Vietnam carried out its first tourism promotion programme on CNN in the Asian region. The 30-second nightly spot was aired for three months, mainly to promote tourist attractions like the World Heritage listed sites of Ha Long Bay and the cities of Hoi An and Hue.

An official from VNAT said that it was effective to advertise on international channels as the ads would help engrave the image of Vietnam in the minds of foreign tourists. Events like Miss Universe 2008, which took place this month, also helped promote tourism to Vietnam, many tourism agencies noted.

In addition to enhancing its professionalism, the sector will also boost tourism promotion programmes at home and abroad, that can create opportunities for Vietnamese companies and travel agencies to publish their potential tourism products and bring in more foreign tourists.

Traditional tourism promotion activities, such as attending international fairs, will continue, including the JATA tourism fair in Japan, the Shanghai CITM fair in China, the ITB-Asia in Singapore, the AITEX fair in Cambodia in October and the WTM fair in the UK in November this year.

The sector plans to speed up its preparation for the ASEAN Tourism Forum, ATF, which will be in Vietnam next year.

Viet Thang, a tour guide in HCM City, suggested that the sector advertise regions from across the country, rather than focus on the northern region as is currently being done.

Improved tourism facilities and streamlined visa procedures would also help the country attract more foreign tourists, he noted.

As many as 2.62 million foreigners travelled to Vietnam during the first seven months of the year, up 10 percent from the same period last year, accounting for 52 percent of the yearly target, according to VNAT's latest statistics.

Travellers on vacation accounted for more than half of all foreign visitors, with most international tourists coming from mainland China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia and the US.

The country also saw sharp increase in the number of tourists from Asean countries such as the Philippines, up 55 percent, Thailand up 40 per cent and Singapore up 27 percent, while the number of visitors from Australia, Finland, Russia and Sweden also went up.

However, the past seven months has also seen a decrease in the number of tourists coming from China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US and Canada, all considered to be major markets.

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