|Farmers feed tra fish in the southern city of Can Tho. Experts attending a tourism workshop suggested the tourism industry and the government to work closely in the Mekong Delta region to create tourism hubs. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
KIEN GIANG (VNS) — Phu Quoc Island hosted a workshop yesterday to discuss tourism co-operation between An Giang and Kien Giang Provinces and Can Tho City.
Robert Travers, a foreign expert on Destination Development and Management of the EU-ESRT Programme, said a key challenge is the chronically short length of stay (just one night), with Viet Nam being seen as an excursion or add-on destination rather than a leisure destination in its own right.
To address this, tourism businesses and the Government should come together to adopt a market-led approach, targeting longer staying visitor segments in the domestic and international markets, he said.
The experts attending the workshop suggested that the industry and Government should work more closely together in the Mekong Delta region to create tourism hubs of excellence that can offer unique experiences.
They said the delta needs to be different from other parts of Viet Nam, warning that at the moment the thrust of development is making it like everywhere else.
They suggested that quality riverside resorts and lodges, expanded water-based options, better orchards and agri-tourism visits, and higher quality homestay are needed to enhance the Mekong tourism products.
The workshop was held to provide technical support from the EU-ESRT following a High level meeting on tourism co-operation between the three Mekong Delta destinations held in Rach Gia, Kien Giang Province, last October.
At the meeting, representatives of the three localities signed a memorandum of understanding for co-operation to develop tourism in the region.
To enhance product competitiveness and public-private dialogue, the EU-ESRT initiated and supported Destination Management Organisations in eight north-western provinces, three central coastal provinces and three Mekong Delta localities.
The workshop was chaired by the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism with technical support from the EU-funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programne (known as the EU-ESRT Programme).
The workshop was seen as an opportunity for the EU-ESRT Programme to report about the results obtained by a team of international and domestic experts who recently visited the three Mekong localities.
Their aim was to study and support development of tourism products and make destination promotion plans.
The workshop was attended by 50 Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, VNAT, European Union Delegation to Viet Nam officials, tourism administrators from the three localities, and tourism colleges and operators in the region. —VNS