Tourism should be considered economic driver: experts

October 08, 2023 - 15:21
Tourism is not just a service, but an industry and economic sector with particularly important contributions to the economy.
Foreign tourists visit a dragon fruit garden in Hàm Mỹ Commune, Hàm Thuận Nam District in Bình Thuận Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thanh

HÀ NỘI — Tourism is not just a service, but an industry and economic sector with particularly important contributions to the economy, heard the National Conference on Tourism, the first of its kind so far in the country.

The conference was held on Saturday by the Việt Nam National Entrepreneurship Association (VINEN), in co-ordination with provincial and municipal people's committees and other partners, with support of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Đinh Việt Hòa, chairman of the VINEN and head of the conference organiser, said that the conference showed the importance of tourism development, ideas and plans to promote the tourism ecosystem.

The conference aimed to implement the Party's resolution on tourism development, and the Government's policies to support start-ups, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

It proposed solutions for the national start-up ecosystem, investment promotion and inter-industry trade.

Vũ Tiến Lộc, member of the National Assembly's Economic Committee and also chairman of the Việt Nam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC), said that in the country, tourism had not really been treated as a key industry and had not been effectively integrated into the economic sector.

Cultural, historical, and spiritual elements have not been connected closely to tourism.

"As long as the tourism industry mainly competes on prices, it will be impossible to create a breakthrough development in the industry. Entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity are also essential in this field and tourism is a vast space for creative ideas," said Lộc.

From the perspective of a travel business, Lê Công Năng, general director of the Wondertour Travel Company, expected that Việt Nam's tourism industry would make better use of its cultural and culinary strengths.

The sector should add more forms of entertainment to increase tourists’ choices and sustainably exploit the benefits that the tourism industry can bring.

"We estimate that international visitors to Việt Nam spend about US$100 per day, while this figure in Thailand is $160 per day. In many tourist destinations in Việt Nam, visitors don't know what to do in the evening or all services close after midnight. Meanwhile, when Vietnamese tourists go abroad, they go to lots of shows and clubs at night.”

“So we need to plan entertainment spaces for tourists far away from cultural and residential areas to avoid conflicts while still meeting their demand," said Năng.

Hà Văn Siêu, deputy director of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, said that the country had rich natural resources with diverse tourism products.

Localities and businesses needed to focus on developing four main products, including beach tourism, cultural and heritage tourism, ecotourism and city tourism, he said.

Nguyễn Thanh Hồng, director of Quảng Nam Province's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that Quảng Nam was the first locality in the country to issue a set of green tourism criteria.

Districts and tourism businesses in the province have green tourism models known to domestic and international tourists, such as the Trà Quế Vegetable Village, the Bảy Mẫu Coconut Forest, and the Lộc Yên ancient village eco-tourism.

All of the green tours received positive responses from tourists, he said.

Experts and businesses during the conference also took part in in-depth discussion sessions of the importance of tourism development, focusing on some urgent areas such as healthcare, marketing and market expansion for tourism in the digital era, trade connection and digital media to develop national tourism brands. — VNS