Lê Hương & Ly Ly
Thousands of visitors are expected to converge upon the annual Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) 2023, a pivotal event for the country's tourism sector.
This year, the theme of VITM is Culture Tourism, promoting the traditional cultural values and heritage of Việt Nam.
Over 450 booths manned by 600 agencies hailing from 50 provinces and cities throughout Việt Nam and 15 other countries and territories will be showcased at the event. More than 10,000 tours and tourism products will be available at discounted rates.
At the opening ceremony on Thursday, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Văn Hùng underscored his confidence that tourism businesses will connect with new partners and discover fresh opportunities for growth at the event.
Many contracts will be signed, catalysing the development of Vietnamese tourism alongside foreign partners.
“Localities will connect to travel agencies to join hands to develop a special tourism product in each locality, set up new tours and routes to exploit the most local tourism potential to meet visitors' demands,” he said.
Hùng said the ministry has actively co-operated with concerned agencies to re-structure the market and host tourism development conferences, build tourism connection programmes, and organise culture-tourism weeks in localities.
He judged the VITM, now in its 11th edition, has become one of the most important tourism promotion activities, the largest scale fair, bringing realistic opportunities for tourism enterprises and localities in the country.
Highlights of the event are workshops on burning issues of domestic tourism like “Developing Vietnamese Culture Forum”, “Reducing Plastic Rubbish in Tourism Workshop”, and various tourism promotions of cities and provinces.
Participating enterprises announced various promotion programmes, from air tickets to tours, with sales up to 30 per cent.
Cao Thị Ngọc Lan, Permanent President of the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA), said the association is willing to support tourism enterprises to recover from the pandemic in terms of the labour force, build suitable products meeting new demands, choose suitable markets, apply digital transformation into all tourism activities to make tourism a key economic sector in Việt Nam.
|Visitors at the booth of Vietnam Tourism. VNS Photo Lê Hương|
“The theme of this year VITM is Culture Tourism, which aims for enterprises to set up tourism products based on traditional cultural values and heritage,” she said.
According to Ramla Khalidi, Resident Representative of UNDP in Việt Nam, the agency is willing to cooperate with the culture ministry and concerned agencies to turn Việt Nam into a friendly and favourite responsible tourism destination.
This will prove that nature-based tourism is a feasible model for contributing to biodiversity protection and sustainable finance, promoting community engagement, supporting enterprises and creating jobs, and reducing plastic rubbish in tourism.
Among hundreds of people flocking to the event on Thursday morning despite the drizzling rain was Nguyễn Quốc Việt, 69.
“I come here to seek some tours to take my family for vacations,” he told Việt Nam News. “There is much information from many travel agencies. It takes me time to choose. My family often takes tours inside the country or abroad. I want to find a tour abroad at a reasonable price, as it depends on my budget.”
Ngũ Thị Diệu Bình, an official from Phú Quốc Express Transportation Company, said she was there to connect with partners across the country and foreign ones as well.
“Our company specialises in transporting passengers to islands like Phú Quốc, Nam Du, Phú Quý, Lý Sơn and Côn Đảo,” she said.
|Young visitors prefer taking photos in the South Korean Tourism areas. VNS Photo Lê Hương|
“We are so excited to be here after the pandemic. Now tourism activities are bustling again. I hope at this event enterprises, inbound and outbound travellers will join hands to boost the tourism sector up.”
A leading travel agency, Saigon Tourist, offers special products at the event.
“This year, Saigon Tourist offers many diverse products themed Culture Tourism for customers to choose from,” Nguyễn Hoài Thu, head of marketing and PR of Saigon Tourist, said.
Besides existing tours to beautiful natural landscapes, the company has focused on local cultures in domestic tours and countries around the world.
“For the upcoming Independence Day vacation, we have almost sold off tours to domestic and foreign destinations,” she said. “For summer, we have more diverse products like tourism combo, in which we co-operate with airlines and 5-star hotels and resorts to offer more choices at lower prices. During the four-day fair here, customers can buy packaged tours and tourism combos.”
Flamingo Redtours offers up to 40 million price reductions to big group packages and sock sales at certain hours between 10-12 noon and 3-6pm every day during the four-day event.
|The first visitors buying tours at Flamingo Redtours's booth. VNS Photo Bích Huệ|
Among 15 foreign countries and territories, El Salvador is a new member as their embassy has just been opened in Hà Nội.
“The idea is to promote travel and show the people that El Salvador is an opportunity in tourism,” said Omar Orozco, El Salvadorian Ambassador to Việt Nam. “The main idea is to promote the exchange between the two countries.”
The event runs at the Việt Nam-Soviet Friendship Palace of Culture and Labour, 91 Trần Hưng Đạo Street, Hà Nội till April 16. VNS