|A group of western tourists visit northern province of Ninh Binh. Viet Nam tourism sector will care much of other potential markets such as Russia, Japan, South Korea, Western Europe, North America, Australia and ASEAN to overcome the problem of falling foreign tourist arrivals due to the East Sea tensions. — Photo cafef.vcmedia.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — A number of solutions have been proposed to help Viet Nam's tourism sector overcome the problem of falling foreign tourist arrivals, including from China, following the East Sea tensions.
The immediate and long-term solutions, which were presented at a press conference this morning by leaders of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), include directing localities and travel agencies to ensure foreign tourists' rights, continuing to provide services to Chinese-speaking tourists and cooperate with Chinese travel authorities and travel agencies.
The ministry will also inform foreign tourism agencies about the normal operations of Viet Nam's tourism services despite the recent tensions on the East Sea, and the country's pledge to ensure the safety of foreign travellers in Viet Nam.
Regarding longer-term solutions, the ministry is actively preparing plans to control the losses in the tourism sector, promote domestic tourism and lure tourists from other countries to Viet Nam to attend international events.
The tourism sector's target this year is 8.3 million foreign visitors, but this may not be realised due to recent tensions on the East Sea, according to Ho Anh Tuan, deputy minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
At 25 per cent, Chinese tourists comprise the largest segment of foreign tourist arrivals in Viet Nam. Last year, Viet Nam received 7.57 million foreign tourists, 1.9 million of whom were from China.
Since May 1, when China deployed the Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig in Viet Nam's waters illegally, the number of visitors from China has suddenly fallen. Many Vietnamese tourists had cancelled their trips to China and tourists from other countries were worrying about visiting Viet Nam, said Nguyen Van Tuan, general director of VNAT.
In a few localities such as the southern province of Khanh Hoa, some travel agencies, hotels and restaurants had announced that they would not serve Chinese guests.
"This is a spontaneous action, which harms national tourism activities and the friendship between China and Viet Nam," Tuan said.
"We have directed localities and tourism enterprises to stop any such discrimination and to continue offering services to Chinese tourists and those who speak Chinese," he said.
He stressed that the tourism sector faced a big challenge and proper solutions needed to be applied.
"We will look at other potential markets such as Russia, Japan, South Korea, Western Europe, North America, Australia and ASEAN," he said. "Visitors from these areas stay longer and spend more than Chinese tourists."
On average, a Chinese tourist spends around US$360 in Viet Nam, while a Russian or Western tourist spends between $2,200 and $2,500 and may stay up to 12 days.
The ministry will also provide a support package to tourism enterprises which are facing difficulties and enhance co-operation between the tourism sector and transport services such as air planes, bus and railways to offer promotions to domestic travellers. — VNS