THUA THIEN-HUE — Central coastal provinces have been urged to work together to improve tourism activities and promote the region's World Heritage Sites.
|Drawing a crowds: Tourists visit Khai Dinh Mausoleum in the former royal city of Hue. — VNA/VNS Photo The Duyet
Although the provinces have signed previous tourism-co-operation agreements, those in the industry have complained that the agreement was purely on paper.
Each province has its own programme to attract tourists and earn profits.
"Regionalism is the biggest obstruction that delays co-operation," said Ho Viet, former head of the Viet Nam Tourism Administration in Central Viet Nam.
Viet said the Sea Festival 2011, which was organised in Khanh Hoa, Da Nang, Thua Thien-Hue and Ninh Thuan central coastal provinces in June and July last year, was an example of the problem.
"The festival in each province failed to attract the number of visitors expected by organisers," Viet said.
Viet said tourism officials of each province had worked together many times.
"Differing opinions of officials from this or that province make it difficult to get approval from everyone," Viet said. "We need a ‘conductor' able to manage affairs of the central coastal region's tourism."
According to Cao Tri Dung, director of Vitours Travel Co, heritage and cultural tourism are the two great strengths of Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang and Hoi An, which have worked together for the last five years to promote tourism in each locality under a programme called "Three Localities, One Destination".
"However, the linkage between these three neighbouring regions has not developed well," Dung said.
According to a recent survey by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), the central coast provinces receives millions of foreign visitors each year.
However, they spend less than three days visiting highlights in Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang and Hoi An, and spend an average of only US$76 a day.
The former royal capital of Hue, My Son sanctuary, and historic Hoi An Town have been recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
"The central coastal provinces have failed to develop their cultural and sea tourism and to lure tourists into spending more money," said Ngo Quang Vinh, director of Da Nang City's Culture, Sports and Tourism Department.
Thua Thien-Hue, the site of the National Tourism Year 2012, is working with northern and central coastal provinces to organise many activities to mark the event.
"Co-operation between the tourism service of Hue and other provinces must be developed if we want to have a successful event," said Ngo Hoa, vice chairman of Thua Thien-Hue People's Committee and deputy head of the National Tourism Year 2012's organising committee. — VNS