Đinh Ngọc Đức, Director of Market Department under the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, spoke to Weekly Việt Nam and World Economic Affairs about his department’s efforts to look for new markets.
What is the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism’s strategy to attract more foreign tourists to Việt Nam?
In our tourism marketing and promotion strategy, we have focused our efforts on three main markets. They are Europe; the East Asian market, including Japan, South Korea and China; and other ASEAN countries.
In addition, we also are trying to develop new markets, like Australia, India, Russia and other Russian-speaking countries.
A top priority in our marketing and promotion strategy is to utilise e-marketing. This marketing method is boundless in geographical position and it helps us save time and money.
In our marketing and promotion strategy, we have tried to mobilise capital resources from tour operators, airlines and partners inside and outside Việt Nam.
In addition, we have also developed a plan to create a Tourism Development Fund in order to have more capital resources to invest in tourism marketing and promotion.
In 2016, the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) will focus its efforts on participating in major international tourism fairs, particularly those organised in Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and Europe. We hope that, through those fairs, we’ll be able to attract new partners, particularly foreign tour operators and travel agents.
Other activities we have planned for this year include initiating fam trips and press trips from other countries to Việt Nam while organising our own fam trips and press trips abroad to gain experiences from our foreign peers.
In our tourism promotion policy, Việt Nam has waived visa for tourists coming from many countries. Will you please further elaborate on that policy?
Việt Nam has given a visa waiver to tourists coming from Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Belarus, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and nine countries from Southeast Asia.
With the Government’s decision to give visa waivers to incoming tourists to Việt Nam, we have initiated a special policy for tourists who have spent a lot of money during their tours or have a long stay during their visits.
In addition, we have adopted a special programme for tourists from Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore who come to spend a weekend in Việt Nam.
In the pipeline is a plan to ask the Government to waive visas for all foreign tourists, regardless of nationality, coming to Việt Nam on package tours. We hope that these lucrative policies will make Việt Nam an attractive destination for many foreign tourists.
Quite a few Free Trade Agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), were signed between Việt Nam and other countries. Does the VNAT have any plan to utilise these golden opportunities?
For our tourism sector, by signing the TPP, FTAs or becoming a member of the Asian Economic Community (AEC), we’ll face both opportunities and challenges. But here I just want to focus on opportunities.
It is no doubt that the number of visitors coming from the AEC to look for business or investment opportunities in Việt Nam will increase, including in tourism development.
In addition, the number of foreigners within the TPP or AEC coming to Việt Nam on tour for business or conference trips will increase.
As a signatory to the TPP, businessmen coming from other TPP member countries will be given special treatment per regulations in the TPP official documents.
It is high time for Việt Nam’s tourism industry to take proper steps to develop new products to cater to businessmen and tourists during their stay. Doing so will make Việt Nam an attractive destination for all tourists in the region and internationally.
Last but not least, VNAT will further expand its co-operation with other regional countries to diversify its tourism products while attracting more tourists and maximising customer referrals. — VNS