Viet Nam News
by Lê Hương
The National Authority of Tourism has chosen 2018 as a Tourism Year themed Hạ Long – Quảng Ninh with Hạ Long Bay as a heritage, wonder of the world and a friendly destination. Lê Hương of Việt Nam News talks to Phạm Ngọc Thủy, director of Quảng Ninh Tourism Department on the local tourism achievements and preparation for the tourism year.
Could you detail Quảng Ninh’s achievements in tourism and some problems in the field?
Last year, the local tourism sector gained encouraging results. The total number of tourist arrivals reached some 9.87 million, an 18 per cent increase from the previous year. Among them, foreign tourists numbered 4.28 million, a 23 per cent increase from the previous year.
Total income from tourism was nearly VNĐ17.9 trillion (US$784.2 million), a 30 per cent increase from the previous year. A tourist coming to the province spends on average $82.3 per visit, $8.3 per guest more than in 2016.
The province hosted the APEC High-level Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Tourism in Hạ Long City in June last year. Tourism space has continued to be enlarged from urban to rural areas in the province.
In 2016, in the Department and District Competitiveness Index (DDCI) of the province, Tourism Department ranked 12th among 15 units. But in 2017, the Tourism Department made improvements in competitiveness and ranked sixth among 21 units.
The improvement showed enterprises thought better of the department’s management.
Last year, the department organised many conferences and workshops to support enterprises, especially enterprises working in travel, hotel and transport services. The department was judged as the leading unit in the province with the shortest time spent to deal with cases.
However, there remain problems in the tourism business environment. We have discussed with local experts and decided to adjust some management policies, to publicise service prices and increase service quality.
What tourism products most attracted tourists last year?
Tourists visiting Quảng Ninh in recent years have enjoyed various activities like relaxing at Sun Group’s park beside other attractions in the province such as Hạ Long Bay, trekking up Yên Tử Mountain to visit pagodas on the peak, Cửa Ông Temple, Quảng Yên Communal House and Quảng Ninh Provincial Museum.
What have local authorities done to promote tourism in a sustainable way?
We have spared no efforts to enhance people’s awareness in offering tourism service in a sustainable way. We focus on managing areas so that tourism services develop in certain areas while others are preserved to keep the environment clean. We work with other provinces in the region to develop tourism products with high cultural values. We have invested a considerable amount of money for infrastructure and to educate tourism staff.
How have authorities co-ordinated with other localities and local enterprises to better serve tourists?
In the past few years, the province has co-odinated with Hà Nội, HCM City and some provinces in central coastal and northern areas. As many as 15 provinces and cities in the country have registered to join activities in Quảng Ninh and host events. The province will focus on co-operating with traditional markets and East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum members including Gangwon province of South Korea, Yogyakarta special region of Indonesia, Cebu of the Philippines, Tottori of Japan and Primorski of Russia.
What’s your aim this year? What are special products will you introduce?
We hope to welcome 12 million tourists, including 5 million foreigners, and earn total income of VNĐ22 trillion ($964 million).
We will enhance the service quality at entertainment centres, develop sea and islands tours and tours to temples and pagodas on Yên Tử Mountain, Cửa Ông Town and the relic site dedicated to Trần kings in Đông Triều Commune.
We will first focus on three main targets. First is purifying the tourism business environment involving travel agencies, service providers, shops, souvenir shops and good sellers on the bay, in order to ensure tourists’ rights.
Then, we will better advertise local tourism. The tourism department has built a proper tourism promotion strategy to draw tourists from big markets including northeast Asia, Europe, America and especially Russia.
Finally, we will care much more about developing tourism serving human resources including tourism management human resource, staff at hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and tour guides. The department is joining hands with other sectors to complete a set of guidebooks on Hạ Long Bay.
How will Quảng Ninh’s tourism develop in the future?
In the next few years, we hope to develop tourism in five directions.
First of all, we will develop local tourism sustainably in a professional, modern and effective way.
We will focus on a few issues to promote tourism into the key economic sector and take up bigger and bigger portions of the province’s GDP structure to implement three strategic breakthroughs associating with modernising the growth model, re-structuring economics and improving development. Invest in some certain sectors to push them up significantly rather than investing in all sectors and score no significant advancements in any sectors.
Secondly, we will develop tourism based on outside power sources. We will lure domestic and foreign investments in building infrastructure for tourism centres, create high quality tourism products, enhance State management and call for individual contributions in controlling, exploiting and preserving natural resources.
Thirdly, the province will develop tourism along with maximising natural advantages, preserving cultural values and protecting the environment.
Fourthly, the province will develop tourism along with developing sea economics to build Quảng Ninh as a stable defence system and area. Tourism development will be associated with building Vân Đồn Economic Special Zone and Móng Cái Free Border Gate.
Finally, the province will use advantages of natural landscapes, human features, society and history to promote co-ordination in tourism for the whole region. — VNS