|Paddle boat 'Uri' on Lake Lucerne. Photos courtesy of the Embassy|
On August 1, Switzerland celebrates its 728th anniversary. On the occasion, Ambassador of Switzerland to Việt Nam Beatrice Maser Mallor shares a story about tourism, a proven success for Switzerland.
Ever since its creation, sealed by the oath of three cantons (provinces) on the “Rütli” hill, the country has been revered by many for its breathtaking natural landscapes and its picturesque cities and villages. Over many years, tourism has been an important source of revenue for Switzerland. With an abundance of possibilities catering to lovers of winter sports and hikers but also to music fans attending renowned music festivals in the summer months, Switzerland attracts people from a variety of places, making it one of the most visited countries in the world.
The Swiss tourism industry experienced a very successful year in 2018, recording a total of 38.8 million overnight stays. According to Switzerland’s Federal Office of Statistics, more than 10 million of the hotel rooms were booked by foreigners. This shows an increase of 4.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.
Switzerland Tourism, Switzerland’s tourism promotion agency, expects that overnight stays of visitors from Việt Nam will grow between 10-12% annually until 2022. In 2017, there were approximately 17,300 recorded overnight stays by Vietnamese citizens.
|Glacier Express on the Landwasser Viaduct, Graubuenden.|
Việt Nam's growing popularity as holiday destination
Simultaneously, in accordance with the data provided by the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the number of Swiss nationals visiting Việt Nam in the month of June 2019 has increased by an impressive 107.3 per cent compared to June last year. In numbers, a total of almost 20,000 Swiss nationals visited Việt Nam in the first six months of 2019.
Việt Nam and Switzerland share the importance of tourism related to the beauty of their countries. Much like Switzerland, Việt Nam is a country of immense natural splendor which welcomes many visitors every year.
Diplomatic ties between Switzerland and Việt Nam have developed quickly since their establishment in 1971. As pointed out above, an increasing number of Vietnamese discover the beauty of Switzerland, and the number of Swiss visitors to Việt Nam is rising rapidly as well.
These people-to-people contacts will grow even further and prove to be an asset of utmost importance to further deepen the excellent relationship between our countries.
Swiss support for sustainable tourism in Việt Nam
Switzerland has supported Việt Nam for many years with development cooperation programs to increase sustainable and inclusive economic growth and employment. The Swiss Sustainable Tourism Program (SSTP) will run until May of 2022. It is funded by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and will offer support to newly-emerging destinations in Việt Nam. SSTP aims to increase competitiveness and sustainability of Vietnamese tourism, for example by strengthening the skills of employees in that sector. With these expected achievements, the tourism sector will deliver its full potential as an economic sector capable of generating a broad range of employment and income opportunities for Vietnamese people in the future.
Tourism – A way to expand intercultural exchange between our countries
The highly successful year for Switzerland’s and Việt Nam’s tourism industries shows that both countries value the importance of welcoming visitors and embracing different cultures.
The number of Swiss visitors to Việt Nam will continue to rise also thanks to the inclusion of Switzerland into the e-visa programme by the Government of Việt Nam and the direct flight between Zurich and HCM City launched in November 2018.
On the occasion of the inauguration of Edelweiss Air's new direct connection, Switzerland Tourism established several new travel programmes to Switzerland with Vietnamese tour operators.
These initiatives should have a positive effect on the development of overnight stays from Vietnamese tourists. At the same time, large-scale and intensified efforts of tourism authorities to promote Việt Nam overseas will definitely contribute to another successful tourism year for the country.
VNAT, aiding these efforts, has raised awareness about the significance of excellent quality among tourism service providers, local administrations, and tourism authorities. Many professionals working in the Vietnamese hospitality industry have learned their trade in Switzerland’s world renowned hospitality schools.
For example, in 2018, the Hotel and Tourism Management Institute Switzerland (HTMi) signed a strategic partnership memorandum of understanding with Dong A University Vietnam. Partnerships like this will undoubtedly serve to further develop Swiss and Vietnamese collaborations in the tourism sector.
On this day, celebrating both our countries’ successes in tourism, I wish the Vietnamese people happiness, good health and prosperity and all the Swiss compatriots in Việt Nam an enjoyable National Day. — VNS