HA NOI (VNS)— Tourist safety is paramount, says Vietravel Company director Nguyen Quoc Ky.
"Every month, I am informed that six or seven tourists are robbed on domestic and inbound tours of Vietravel," Ky told a travel conference in Ha Noi yesterday.
"It's an alarming number that we have to admit."
The conference between travel companies and state officials was held to collect suggestions and petitions of hundreds of travel companies to resolve shortcomings and promote the national tourism industry.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan and officials of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism were in attendance.
Ky suggested the tourism industry and authorities build a trademark for Vietnamese tourism.
"We should select the most impressive features of Viet Nam to make it a symbol for the national tourism," Ky said.
"It may be cuisine in my opinion. The various cuisine of Viet Nam can become a brand name for tourism, can make tourists think ‘spices of the world' when they think of the country."
He also mentioned the impact of tourism on the environment and society.
"We organised a tour in which tourists are given bio-degradable bags to put rubbish in so they don't litter," he said. "On some tours, tourists will have the chance to join the community's activities to understand local people's lives and clean the environment."
Meanwhile, foreigners at the conference delivered reports on the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Programme, which was launched with support from the European Union.
"The programme aims to strengthen institutional and human capacities in order to fully realise the substantial socio-economic development benefits of the tourism sector while protecting and enhancing the resources (natural and cultural) on which the sector depends," said Kai Partale, who works on the programme.
"Responsible tourism principles provide the foundation for creating a more sustainable, competitive and higher yielding tourism sector that expands opportunities for the poor and other disadvantaged groups such as women and ethnic groups," he said.
Nguyen Thi Hoa Le, director of the Hoa Binh (Peace) Travel Company, presented petitions calling for support for travel agents, such as no increase in the visa fee for foreign tourists and a reduction in the tax on imported tour buses.
Deputy Prime Minister Nhan presented the "State's Strategy to develop tourism until 2020" as a key factor to motivate socio-economic development.
He said tourism had to be sustainable, to preserve and promote culture, protect the environment and ensure social order and security. — VNS