HCM CITY(VNS) — The India Tourism Office in Singapore and the Consulate General of India in HCM City organised an Incredible India roadshow with nine Indian travel companies visiting their counterparts in HCM City on Wednesday.
The aim is to promote tourism and cultural co-operation between the two countries.
Madhu Dubey, regional director of India Tourist Office for Australia, said India was a land of amazing diversity in terms of culture, language, cuisine, climate and niche tourism products.
Many festivals are held from September to March.
Apart from cultural attractions such as monuments and festivals, India offers niche tourism products including adventure trips, medical tourism, wellness such as yoga, golf and others.
In addition, one-horned rhinos in Kaziranga, elephant herds in Bandipur, lions in Gir, and tigers in the Sunderbans are among the exotic wildlife that enthralls visitors.
Speaking at the event, Abhay Thakur, Consul General of India in HCM City, said political and trade ties between Viet Nam and India had developed strongly in the past years.
"Our bilateral trade, for instance, is well on the way to surpass the earlier target of US$5 billion set for 2015, which has now been revised to $7 billion".
However, tourism is still below potential, he said, adding that "the event is part of our efforts to further strengthen our cultural and tourist linkages".
La Quoc Khanh, deputy general director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of HCM City, said to promote bilateral co-operation in tourism, periodic promotional activities such as the road show should be organised.
He suggested that the countries' airlines open direct flights and simplify entry and exit procedures for citizens, including visa exemption for a period of 14-30 days for tourists.
Abhay said Viet Nam Airlines and Jet Airways signed an MOU last October, agreeing in principle to establish direct flights on the Sai Gon-Mumbai or Sai Gon-Bangkok-Mumbai route.
"We really hope that the requisite commercial agreements will be worked out quickly, enabling the commencement of the direct flights," he said.
With rising economic prosperity in both countries, tourism is set to grow further.
"We estimate that there are more than 40,000 visitors annually. The number of visas issued by our consulate in HCM City is growing at a healthy 20 per cent every year," he said.
India's famous Buddhist circuit is attracting more and more Vietnamese tourists, and Viet Nam is an increasingly attractive destination for Indian tourist for its beaches, rivers, mountains and rich history.
Vietnamese nationals can now obtain tourist visas on arrival in India, as can Indian nationals arriving in Viet Nam.
Madhu Dubey said the number of foreign tourists to India has been increasing in recent years by 8.9 per cent annually, reaching 6.29 million last year. — VNS