Foreign visitors at the Literature Temple in Hà Nội. —Photo giaoduc.edu.vn
By Paul Kennedy
The day before US President Donald Trump met North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore last year, one phrase was googled in America more than two million times.
They asked: “Where is Singapore?”
Government officials there say the June meeting, the first time an American President and North Korean leader came face to face, led to a huge boost in tourism.
“Coverage about the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore saw a total of 2.36 billion views, with more than 8,000 pieces of content online that mentioned Singapore in the headline,” said Oliver Chong, executive director of Communications & Marketing Capability with the Singapore Tourism Board.
“Specifically, for June 2018, Singapore received 1.5 million visitors, an 11.2 per cent growth from the same period in 2017.
“An estimated 7 per cent increase in visitor arrivals was observed over the two days leading up to the Summit on 12 June. We understand that about 2,500 foreign journalists turned up for the Trump-Kim Summit.”
Experts in Hà Nội are hoping for a carbon-copy for the capital city.
“I see this as an opportunity to promote Việt Nam’s image to the world because many people out there do not know about Việt Nam,” said Nguyễn Xuân Dũng, chairman of ANZ Tours.
“The number of visitors to Hà Nội is very high during this time and will bring huge benefits for the city. In the long run, the summit will continue to draw more visitors to Việt Nam.
“My company has received many tourists from the US. I hope the number will increase after the event. Meanwhile tourists from North Korea are still a mystery. North Korean tourists may know little about Việt Nam. I think after the event, more tourists from the country will come and so will entrepreneurs.”
With thousands of journalists expected to descend on Hà Nội for the two-day event at the end of the month, worldwide coverage is guaranteed.
According to a report by Marketing Interactive, digital coverage was estimated as being worth US$169m following the June meeting.
Chong added: “As a result of the intensive media coverage, interest in Singapore saw a spike in terms of searches both before and during the summit. Google registered more than two million hits on the phrase “Where is Singapore” from the United States alone, one day before the historic summit.
“This points to increased awareness of Singapore, among communities which may not have been aware of Singapore previously, and this could potentially result in more visitors over time.”
Việt Nam’s National Tourism Administration has commissioned a series of videos to present to the media during the event.
Vice chairman Hà Văn Siêu said: “This event has great influence and impact and attracts huge attention from the whole world and will be held in Việt Nam.
“We see this as a great opportunity for Việt Nam tourism to promote its country, people and tourism destinations to international friends.
“The information about tourism, tourism products and destinations will reach the world more than ever through international media and Việt Nam tourism will get huge attention from the world.
“Việt Nam will be known with a new image. It is not only a beautiful, safe and friendly destination but also a destination of peace, which has an important role in contributing to the world’s peace.”
The location of the summit, which will be held on February 27 and 28, has not yet been released. — VNS