HCM CITY (VNS) — A city official has urged the HCM City Tourism Association (HTA) to carry out measures to raise the city's tourism competitiveness, while industry leaders have asked the government to amend laws related to tourism.
Speaking at the association's Congress in HCM City yesterday, Nguyen Thi Hong, the city's deputy chairwoman, said while tourism had been affected by worldwide political and economic insecurity, the city had seen an increase of 10 per cent in the number of foreign tourists and revenue from tourism in the first eight months of the year.
She attributed the increase to efforts made by the HTA and the city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Hong said the HTA should enhance its role as a bridge connecting travel companies with authorities, and encourage links between tourism and commerce.
It should also work with other associations operating in the tourism sector, as well as the Viet Nam Tourism Association.
One of the main tasks of HTA was to help the city tourism department increase the competitiveness of the city's and country's tourism sector, Hong said. "The city could lose its competitive advantage in tourism if it doesn't develop a more comprehensive strategy," she added.
The HTA, on its part, has petitioned the government for a number of changes.
Tan Hung Viet, FTA chairman, said the association had petitioned Viet Nam Tourism Association and the National Assembly to issue an association law.
This kind of law became even more significant after Viet Nam joined the World Trade Organisation in 2007.
In addition, an adjusted Enterprise Law that would include aspects of international law like trade creation and protection of trademarks was also needed, he said.
HTA also suggested that the government extend tourist visas for Russian and Japanese citizens, from the current 15 days to one month.
It also asked that the government to resolve issues related to the ban of display prices in foreign currencies.
Travel companies that serve international tourists would also like to enjoy interest on bank deposits.
Another issue that has become troublesome is the decision by the government in September 2010 to force domestic and international tour guides to change their paper cards into magnet cards, and satisfy certain requirements, according to members.
For example, some tour guides, even though they have many years of experience, do not have university degrees.
In addition, import taxes on special buses used for tourism should be reduced, the HTA suggested, and tax exemptions on land where resorts' gardens are located should also be given. — VNS