Stimulus package for tourism sector
Since the beginning of this year, Vietnam has been implementing the stimulus package “Impressive Vietnam” to attract more tourists to the country.
There have been positive signs for the tourism sector this year during the Lunar New Year festival. Vietnam welcomed many international visitors from ASEAN member countries to famous World Heritage sites such as Ha Long Bay, Hue and the ancient city of Hoi An.
Dr Tran Huu Son, Director of the Lao Cai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that the number of visitors, especially Chinese tourists to the province has increased sharply in the first months of this year. He added that the province is creating a promotional package to attract more tourists, especially Chinese visitors.
There has also been a rise in the number of international visitors to Hanoi. The five-star hotel, Sheraton Hanoi, has cooperated with travel agencies to offer all-inclusive tours to visitors coming from Australia, the Republic of Korea, American and Europe. Many five-star hotels have special programmes including Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) package tours for customers. Do Khanh Tra, director of foreign relations at the InterContinental Hanoi said that the occupation rate amounted to 98 percent thanks to a special discount for those who stay three nights or more.
Nguyen Van My, director of the Lua Viet Company said Vietnam Airlines has recently reduced its airfares for tourists to the central and northern regions and his company has reduced the cost for their tours to these destinations by 35 percent.
During March (the Month of Youth), the company is arranging for students and other young people to visit Cambodia at a preferential price of only US$119.
However, the deputy minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Tran Chien Thang said that “We should not offer tours at a huge discount. We focus on target markets and tourists but should not force travel agencies to reduce prices.
Under the “Impressive Vietnam” promotion campaign the tourism industry will have 99 tours discounted by 30-50 percent from now until September. However, after launching the promotional campaign, the Vietnam Administration of Tourism (VAT) has not negotiated with the transport sector to reduce travel costs, or has yet to create favourable conditions for travel agents to promote their marketing activities.
It will take at least another two months to put discounted package tours in place, but few tourists from Europe like to come to Asia for their summer vacation in June. They prefer to travel to the region in October and the promotional programme will be over.
Another snag is the failure of travel agents and service providers to coordinate in terms of transportation and tour guidance. Under the programme, there will be a 30-50 percent discount for hotel rooms as well as airfares for both international and domestic flights.
Vietnam has launched its promotional programme at a time when Thailand and many other countries in the region have done the same. According to Luu Duc Ke, General Director of Hanoitourist, the late timing and lack of co-ordination between local outfits have reduced the competitiveness of tourism industry.
In the first two months of this year, Vietnam welcomed about 688,000 tourists, 10.3 percent lower than the same period last year. If the country fails to overcome the challenges ahead, its tourist industry will be not strong enough to compete against its foreign rivals in the long-run.
Source : vietnamnet.vn
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