ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Vietnam's has strong tourism sector
"The number of tourists to Vietnam shows a consecutive increase with an average of 10.1 per cent a year for international tourists, and 4.8 per cent for domestic tourists," said Professor Pham Trung Luong, deputy director of Institute for Tourism Development Research.
The forum discussed tourism investment opportunities and investment in ASEAN-member countries Last year, international tourists to Vietnam decreased by 10 percent year-on-year due to the economic crisis. However, the number of domestic tourists increased from 20 million of 2008 to 25 million.
The development of tourism had contributed positively to socioeconomic development, Luong said. Earnings from tourism increased from VND20.5 trillion (US$1.1 billion) in 2001 to VND70 trillion ($3.6 billion) in 2009, with an annual growth rate of 16.6 per cent.
According to the General Statistics Office, foreign currency earnings from tourism reached $4.02 billion in 2008, making tourism the fifth highest field in foreign currency earnings (following exports of crude oil, garments, shoes and aquatic products).
Tourism created 450,000 direct jobs and 1 million indirect jobs by 2009, contributing to poverty alleviation.
The development of tourism has played a part in the growth of other sectors, including airlines, construction and handicraft villages.
Total investment capital from the national budget in tourism was VND3.516 trillion ($1.8 billion) in the 2001-07 period. This was focused on provinces with national tourist areas, Luong said.
In addition, enterprises have invested an average of VND800 billion ($48 million) yearly into resorts and hotels.
Vietnam has seen success in attracting foreign investment, especially FDI, based on the advantages of political and socio-economic stability and brisk and steady economic growth. Also, the country is a transport hub for Southeast Asia, and has membership in the World Trade Organisation, Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC), ASEAN and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). In 2008, Viet Nam's FDI capital flow increased to $64 billion, three times higher than the 2007 investment pledge.
Tourism was ranked fourth in sectors that attract FDI investment in Viet Nam, Luong said. Foreign investment in Vietnam tourism began in 1988 with a $7.765 million project, he added.
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