Vietnam welcomed about 681,850 foreign visitors in February, up 8.2 percent compared to January, bringing the total number of international tourists in the first two months to more than 1.31 million, a year-on-year increase of 27.1 percent.
With such impressive results, the tourism sector has greatly contributed to the national economy, despite current difficulties.
According to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Vietnam expects to receive 6.5 million foreign tourists in 2012, up 10.17 percent over the previous year, earning a total revenue of VND145 trillion.
Economists say the global tourism industry will face many difficulties in 2012, and the local tourism sector is no exception. However, VNAT General Director Nguyen Van Tuan affirms that Vietnam tourism will enjoy fruitful development as more and more tourists add Vietnam to their must-see list.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that the number of international tourists will reach 1 billion by the end of this year, with total revenue surpassing US$1,000 billion. There is a growing trend to visit Asian countries, especially China and its surrounding countries.
Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay has been voted one of the World’s Seven New Natural Wonders. Tuan says this will open up huge opportunity to boost the country’s tourism development. While many countries are experiencing political instability and natural disasters, Vietnam is emerging as an attractive and safe destination, he adds.
Recent VNAT statistics show that air travellers to Vietnam in the first two months of this year accounted for 87 percent of all arrivals and rose 31 percent compared to 2011. Sea arrivals increased by 42 percent and arrivals by road, 17 percent.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh says that to realize the set target of attracting 6.5 million foreign visitors, the tourism sector should focus on implementing its development strategy till 2020 with vision to 2030, providing opinions on amendments and supplements to the Law on Tourism, as well as offering more incentive policies to attract more investment.
State management work should be intensified from central to grassroots levels, and links strengthened among different regions in the country, he suggests.
The Minister also emphasizes the need to do market research, increase the quality of tourism products and services, and develop the trademarks of famous local destinations, with a focus on sea and island, cultural, ecological and heritage sites.
He proposes two immediate tasks: the establishment of two tourism promotion offices in Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK), and the implementation of tourism promotion campaigns introducing the new logo and slogan.
At present, the tourism sector is cooperating with functional agencies and localities to develop key tourism areas and diversify tourism products and services, closely watching eight major markets, namely China, Japan, the RoK, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, France and Russia.
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