Vietnam’s leading politicians discussed problems and solutions to improve the Country’s tourism industry at a meeting with various agencies on August 9 in Hoi An City.
Statistics from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism showed that the sector had seen good growth in terms of tourist arrivals. Vietnam welcomed 5.5 million international tourists in the first seven months, an increase of 24% compared to same period last year.
Vietnam ranked fifth in ASEAN in term of tourist arrivals but 70% of tourists never returned, with theft, congestion, traffic accidents, poor service, unhygienic toilets and environmental pollution all blamed. According to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015, Vietnam ranked 75th out of 141 countries. It ranked behind many countries in the region and only above Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Vietnam had low points in terms of environmental sustainability and policies and support for tourists including its visa policy.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and two deputy prime ministers and leaders of all 63 cities and provinces attended the meeting. Chairman of Hanoi Nguyen Duc Chung said many localities were unable to find a focal point for marketing or their plans were not of interest to international tourists, especially Europeans. Co-operation between cities and provinces are also weak.
Chairman of HCM City Nguyen Thanh Phong agreed that the economic outcomes should have been higher and the city’s potential hadn’t been exploited to its fullest. He claimed the city hadn’t managed tourism very well and could not meet the demands of international tourists.
Only Quang Nam City reported that 60% of tourists return to Hoi An Town thanks to effective community-based tourism. Representatives of Tuan Chau Corporation proposed to establish a Ministry of Tourism and put emphasis on the human resources and develop a comprehensive promotional campaign.
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said the sector need to be restructured to improve capacity, services and products. And more importantly, Vietnam lacked both funds and ideas.
“The seven-minute long video of the Tourism Department filmed with a flycam and released in nine languages has received some great response from the international community,” he said.
He denied ideas to set up a red-light district and open casinos to local people. Vietnam may not set up a Ministry of Tourism for at least the next five years but localities can set up departments of tourism if it is their key economy.
The Ministry of Public Security has submitted a plan for a tourist police force for review. In addition, the government has allocated USD 9m to the ministry to test and implement an electronic visa project next year.
Article by VBN