The country has targeted to welcome 1 million Japanese tourists by 2015 as Japan has always been among the top five markets for Viet Nam's tourism sector for recent years.
Viet Nam ranked the third most attractive destination to Japanese tourirsts in the ASEAN region with nearly 482,000 Japanese coming to the country last year, up 8.9 per cent from the previous year, although it was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in March last year.
The first two months of the year saw nearly 110,000 Japanese visiting Viet Nam, up 16.9 per cent year-on-year.
Viet Nam has significant advantages to attract Japanese tourists including stable political security, 15 days visa to be exempt from Japanese guests travelling to Viet Nam, near distance between Viet Nam and Japan (only 5 hour direct flight), many cultural similarities between two countries, good diplomatic relationship and various tourism resources of Viet Nam which meet the Japanese people's tastes.
However, deputy director of the Viet Travel Channel Company Ho Kim Dung said that it was not easy to be access to Japanese tourist market as Japanese arrivals are high demanding while Viet Nam's tourism service quality has remained restricted.
The Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) also admitted that there remained difficulties to attract Japanese tourists including limited expense for promoting tourism, no tourism promotion office in Japan, lack of marketing strategies for this market and restricted tourism products quality.
Therefore, the goal of attracting 1 million Japanese tourists by 2015 is deemed as ambitious but given available air links, efforts of travel firms in both countries and the appeal of Viet Nam as a favourite destination of Japanese tourists, industry insiders expected that the target would be achievable.
Nguyen Minh Man, director of the Communications Division of Vietravel, which receives roughly 1,000-1,500 Japanese arrivals monthly on average, said that the target would be met if all domestic tourist companies considered the attraction of Japanese visitors a key task from now to 2015 and focused on it to create a comprehensive promotion campaign to attract the visitors.
VNAT has so far drawn up a scheme with various specific activities intended to attract more Japanese visitors, including the inauguration of a representative office in Japan late this year. When the office is in place, marketing and advertising projects on television and in newspapers and direct interactions with customers will be conducted in a more regular basis.
Besides creating website in Japanese language to promote Viet Nam tourism on the base of studying taste characteristics of Japanese market, VNAT will also establish the group of Viet Nam-Japan tourism development and step up training the Japanese tour guides as well as the human resources to improve customer service quality.
An expansion of direct flights between the two countries is also considered a measure to attract more Japanese tourists to Viet Nam.
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