HCM CITY (VNS) — A tourism conference held in HCM City on Thursday emphasised the important roles that Vietnamese government and all stakeholders have in contributing to sustainable tourism development.
Vu Quoc Tri, programme director of the EU-funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development (ESRT), said to achieve responsible tourism the country needed to improve leadership and management of natural and cultural resources, set standards for responsible tourism, build human-resource capacity, implement new legislation, and provide leadership and marketing activities.
Tri spoke on Thursday at the Conference on Sustainability of Responsible Tourism Development in Viet Nam, organised by ESRT, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT)
He stressed that a policy framework was needed at the national level, and that commitment from all stakeholders was crucial in achieving responsible tourism.
Kai Partale, an ESRT tourism-sector specialist, said that ESRT had carried out a survey this year of 1,550 international and 1,631 domestic visitors at Sapa, Ha Long, Hue, Da Nang and Hoi An to discern demographic characteristics, travel preparation and activities, among others.
The results showed that sources of information for both international and domestic tourists came mainly from the internet (59.8 and 46.7 per cent, respectively), and word of mouth (33.7 and 32.3 per cent).
Factors considered important to those surveyed were nature, landscape, atmosphere, dining, accommodations and weather, the survey found. Tourism services considered included tour guides, health spa and massage services, tourism information, pick-up services and public transportation.
The survey results showed that Viet Nam should focus more on market surveys, marketing strategies, tourism branding and co-ordination of marketing activities, Partale said.
Marketing objectives in the short term should position the country as a must-visit tourism destination in Southeast Asia, and ensure that it remains the preferred holiday destination for local residents, he added.
In addition, marketing should target growth segments and new markets that can be cost-effective to reach, and should strive to increase visitor length of stay as well as well as expenditures, and attract return visitors.
Over the long term, the country should launch an internationally recognised Viet Nam brand through all VNAT marketing activities, and enhance industry cooperation and confidence in VNAT marketing activities, he said.
Partale also stressed that linking responsible tourism to destination marketing was needed in order to achieve effective marketing.
Dr. Ha Thanh Hai, tourism organizational expert, said the endorsement and engagement of the private sector would also be helpful in destination marketing. — VNS