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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs 2 December 2014  

Viet Nam tourism sector urged to tap India potential

 Ho Anh Tuan, the Culture, Sports and Tourism deputy minister, has urged the country's tourism department to carry out concerted measures to increase tourist traffic between Viet Nam and India.

Tuan made the call at a recent seminar on the tourism business and Viet Nam and India's air transport that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Embassy of India in Viet Nam organised.

Nguyen Van Tuan, general director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), revealed that 2.5 million of about 15 million Indian tourists who travelled abroad every year visited ASEAN countries, but the number of Indian tourists to Viet Nam remained modest.

Tuan also noted the rapid increase in recent years of the number of high-income Vietnamese who wanted to visit India, but said existing co-operation between Vietnamese and Indian tourist enterprises was limited to a mere exchange of scant information about the tourism of both countries.

Tuan attributed this to the lack of attractive tourist products and packages and lengthy travel time between the two countries.

Van Anh of Ha Noi Red Tours said Viet Nam was a more attractive tourist market for India than Thailand and Singapore, but its image had not been widely promoted Viet Nam's tourist attractions had yet to make a deep impression on and touch the hearts of Indian tourists, Anh added.

Also, Viet Nam's marketing strategy had yet to be strongly promoted in the Indian market, so Indian tourist companies lacked information about tourism in Viet Nam, Anh noted.

In addition, the airlines have yet to make detailed plans on their specific routes to help tourist companies of both countries attract more tourists, the Ha Noi Red Tours representative observed.

To further exploit the Indian tourist market, hotels and restaurants in Viet Nam should offer cuisine that appeals to Indian tastes, but Indian-style restaurants in Viet Nam could only be found in Ha Noi and HCM City, Anh explained.

Indian tour operators complained that airfare from India to Viet Nam was more expensive than airfare from India to European countries. They also cited cumbersome visa procedures from which Indian tourists have yet to be exempted.

Moreover, Viet Nam is offering only a few tourist products to the Indian traveler, the operators said. They urged the country's tourism businesses to design products suited to Indian visitors.

To handle difficulties in attracting Indian tourists and expand the tourism market in India, the culture, sports and tourism deputy minister has required the country's tourism industry to conduct a concerted tourism promotion campaign and continue removing obstacles to co-operation in tourism between the two sides, including visa requirements.

The deputy minister said the two sides needed to sign co-operation agreements early to strengthen high-level co-operation in tourism development and actively conduct field trips for tourism companies of both countries.

The VNAT needed to finish and submit to the ministry for review and approval its comprehensive tourism promotion and marketing programme for 2015 to 2020, the deputy minister added.

Dinh Ngoc Duc, director of the VNAT International Relations Department, said his administration had already made a draft tourism promotion and marketing plan for India for 2015 to 2020.--— VNS

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