Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Promotion has become more crucial than ever for tourism development in a globalised, competitive market, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huỳnh Vĩnh Ái said on Thursday.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the Việt Nam International Travel Mart (VITM) Hà Nội 2017 at the Friendship Cultural Palace, he noted greater professionalism in organising the event, as also more efficient mobilisation of social resources.
This would uphold the capital city’s status as a national and regional tourism hub, Ái said.
As many as 650 enterprises and tourism management and promotion agencies from across Việt Nam and 25 other are participating in the fair that will close tomorrow.
Around 60,000 visitors are expected to attend the country’s largest annual travel and tourism exchange event, which focuses this year on the theme: “Hà Nội – Destination of Việt Nam.”
Besides the participation of firms from traditional markets like Japan, Korea, Western Europe and ASEAN, the presence of travel agents from the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) would open up opportunities for Vietnamese tourism businesses to build networks, said Vũ Thế Bình, Vice President of the Việt Nam Tourism Association, chairman of the organising committee.
Over 150,000 low-cost air tickets and 20,000 package tours at reasonable prices are being offered by travel companies and airlines at the fair.
On the very first day, the HCM City-based Saigontourist Travel Service Co sold about 300 tour packages, offering them at an attractive discount, said sales executive Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Anh.
In fact, the company’s Hà Nội-Hạ Long-Sunderworld Park tour, which was offered with a 20 per cent discount, sold out in the first 10 minutes, she said.
She attributed the tour’s popularity to added curiosity about the location where some of the principal footage of the Hollywood blockbluster, Kong: Skull Island, was filmed.
Local resident Nguyễn Hoàng Long told Việt Nam News that he had waited from 7am in the queue to buy a promotion ticket offered by Việt Nam Airlines for its Hà Nội - Đà Nẵng route, with round trips costing just VNĐ1,000,000 (US$44), 40 per cent cheaper than normal.
Apart from presentations on several tourism destinations, VITM 2017 also includes traditional arts performances, conferences and workshops on key issues related to tourism development in the country.
VITM 2017 is organised by the Việt Nam Tourism Association, in collaboration with the Hà Nội People’s Committee and Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism.
VITM Hà Nội 2016 attracted over 58,000 visitors who bought over 15,000 domestic and outbound tours and around 30,000 air tickets.
Official co-operation with the US
The Việt Nam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA) on April 7 signed a co-operation agreement with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) in the framework of the mart.
Addressing the signing ceremony, Bình, who is chairman of VISTA, noted that hundreds of millions of Americans travel overseas every year, which makes the US a promising market for Vietnamese travel agencies.
"This is the first move to open a series of co-operation activities between the two societies in the future," he said, "We hope to receive more Amerrican tourists to Việt Nam and send more Vietnamese tourists to the US."
Commenting on the potential of Việt Nam’s tourism potential to the US, Robert Duglin, vice president of ASTA, expressed optimism.
"I think it’s growing," he told Việt Nam News, "Việt Nam is now an interesting destination, a developing country with a lot of resorts, natural resources. Vietnam Airlines now have various non-stop flights to the US."
The agreement stresses the exchange of materials, information and offers in tourism and areas of common interest between the two societies, co-operation between institutions responsible for management of tourism markets in both countries and establishment of contacts, meetings, or any other events among travel operators from both countries.
On the same day, the Việt Nam Culinary Conservation, Research and Development Centre (CRDC) was officially established. The centre will be based in 18 Trương Định Street, Ward 6, District 3, HCM City and is run by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The centre will research Vietnamese food to define its nutrition and health benefits and promote Vietnamese culinary alongside with tourism.
"The centre will be the first of its kind to meet the demands of tourism workers as we have barely exploited Vietnamese cuisine as a tourism product," Bình said.
In reality, the tourism sector has served food at various international events that Việt Nam has hosted, according to Võ Hồng Xoan, deputy chairperson of the VISTA.
"Foreign guests have praised us for our healthy and tasty dishes," she said. "It’s a little late to establish a professional centre to preserve traditional food, especially ones that are no longer cooked."
Chiêm Thành Long, director of newly set up CRDC, said he wants to develop Vietnamese dishes to a new level.
"We are proud to have abundant special spices in each region," he said, "Our centre will also help local residents in various areas make profit by exploiting local spices. For example, in central province of Quảng Ngãi, there is a kind of pepper with strong citronella flavour. Many cooks prefer to use this pepper over green citronella. The pepper can also be used to make dipping sauce. We can be an agency to distribute spices among domestic regions and export spices abroad."
Nguyễn Hữu Thọ, chairman of Việt Nam Tourism Asociation said that the centre should develop into a culinary business group offering professional cooking courses. — VNS