Viet Nam News
Word-of-mouth promotion by happy tourists is one of the best ways to develop tourism in the country, Nguyễn Văn Tuấn, director general of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), tells the Quân đội Nhân dân (People’s Army) Newspaper.
What are the factors that helped our tourism sector achieve many notable successes last year?
The most important factor is that with proper attention from the central and local governments as well as concerned agencies, tourism has become one of the country’s pivotal economic sectors.
In 2016, the tourism sector notched up a few notable successes. It was the first time that Việt Nam welcomed 10 million foreign visitors in a year and earned VNĐ400 trillion (US$17.73 billion) in tourism revenues. This was particularly pleasing because the number of foreign visitors to the country had dropped considerably in the previous two years.
But this success also presents certain pressures and challenges for Việt Nam. Maintaining this increase in 2017 and the years to come is not going to be easy.
That 10 million foreign visitors came to our country last year was an encouraging sign. However, compared with other ASEAN members like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and others, our achievement is still humble. To maintain a high number of foreign visitors and keep increasing it, we must do a lot more.
What are the main disadvantages for Việt Nam’s tourism sector?
There are quite a new, including the instability in the region, competition between regional tourism sectors, negative impacts on tourism activities like natural calamities and epidemics, plus the poor knowledge and skills of people working in the sector.
However, one positive thing is that the tourism sector is receiving special attention from the Government, particularly the Prime Minister.
Legally speaking, VNAT is affiliated to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. This administrative structure has somehow negatively affected its operations, particularly in terms of human resources, regular capital spending and budget for tourism promotion. Our budget expenditure on tourism promotion is just 2-5 per cent of what major economies in the region spend.
The tourism sector tried its best to accomplish the tasks assigned to them by the government, including organising the national conference on tourism development; revising the current Law on Tourism and others.
What are the sector’s main goals for 2017?
We’ve set the target of receiving 11.5 million foreign tourists and 66 million domestic tourists, and earning revenues of VNĐ460 trillion ($20.4 billion) this year. We hope that these targets will be topped.
In addition we will aim for improved socio-economic effectiveness and environmental protection – the pillars for sustainable development.
That’s why the Việt Nam Tourism Agency would like to ask the Government, the Ministry of Finance to consider our proposal to use some money from the reserve fund to spend on tourism promotion. Of course, we will also try to mobilize capital resources from tourism companies and associations and others to try and raise the sector to a higher level.
When talking about tourism development, we cannot forget to mention the issue of safety and security for the tourists. This is a matter of life or death for the industry. Having good products and good promotions to attract more tourists to come to our country, but we have to think hard about how to make them return again and again in the future. And they will recommend that their friends visit Việt Nam. That’s the best way to promote our tourism._-- VNS