|Quang Nam, Da Nang and Hue have signed a agreement to promote themselves as a single tourism destination. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam's first three-in-one tourism promotion initiative can be a model that other localities can emulate successfully, a senior industry official said yesterday.
His comment came after three provinces and cities in the central region – Quang Nam, Da Nang and Hue – signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote themselves as a single tourism destination.
The MoU sets out a programme initiated and sponsored by the European Union under which the three localities will jointly develop attractive products, train human resources and implement tourism promotion programmes. To oversee these tasks, they will form a steering board and a standing committee.
"The localities are key tourism destinations.
The three-in-one model will be a good example for other localities to work together for effective, sustainable tourism development," said Nguyen Van Tuan, director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
He noted that while Quang Nam and Hue have huge heritage value, Da Nang has well-developed hospitality facilities.
Quang Nam is home to two UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites: the environmentally-friendly Hoi An Town and the My Son Sanctuary - a holy land where Champa culture and temples are preserved.
The ancient capital city of Hue boasts a complete world heritage complex comprising a citadel, mausoleums, temples and other buildings of the feudal era. It is also the home of nha nhac (Hue royal court music), recognised as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Sandwiched between the two, Da Nang offers visitors modern accommodation facilities including luxury hotels, resorts and entertainment centres.
The MoU aims to enable the three localities to use each other's strengths towards making their tourism destinations more appealing.
In related news, Tuan also said that the goal of attracting a million Japanese visitors by 2015 can be achieved if the domestic hospitality sector further improves the quality of its travel products and services, and present a clean environment.
He also emphasised the importance of developing new products and services that can be offered to Japanese tourists, saying they were very demanding.
Vietnamese companies should participate in international tourism and travel fairs held in Japan and concerned agencies should advertise the nation's tourism attractions on Japanese media, he said.
Takahiko Ohata, Chairman of the Overseas Tour Operators Association of Japan (OTOA), agreed that Viet Nam's tourism industry should step up promotion activities in Japan so that Japanese people are more aware of the country's beauty and varied attractions.
According to the VNAT, Viet Nam is ranked the third most attractive destination for Japanese tourists. More than 600,000 Japanese people visited the country last year, up five per cent over the previous year.
Last month, 50,500 Japanese tourists visited Viet Nam, up 13 per cent year-on-year.
Viet Nam enjoys the "best-ever conditions" to attract more Japanese people to visit with both countries having agreed to prioritise development of bilateral tourism, Tuan said.
Industry insiders say Viet Nam offers significant advantages that should attract Japanese tourists, including political stability, waiver of the 15-day visa, the short travelling time (five-hour direct flight), and many cultural similarities.
Good diplomatic relations and several tourism attractions that meet Japanese tastes are other positive factors, they add.
The General Statistics Office has reported that tourist arrivals from several major markets have increased sharply this year.
In the first two months, arrivals from Germany rose year-on-year by 262 per cent, from Hong Kong by 222 per cent, Russia by 70 per cent, China by 50 per cent, Cambodia by 40 per cent, Philippines by 27.5 per cent, and Italy by 26.5 per cent.
The number of domestic tourists reached 9.5 million, up 22 per cent year-on-year.
Tourism revenues during this period have reached VND47 trillion (US$2.2 billion), up 34.3 per cent year-on-year.
Total international arrivals in the first two months of this year reached 1,618,200, up 33.4 per cent year-on-year. — VNS