Vietnam Sea cruise tourism has great potential
Vietnam Sea cruise tourism, holiday ship tourism in Vietnam is far behind its full potential, according to Pham Tu, Deputy Director of the National Administration of Tourism.
World travel experts agree that Vietnam ranks a high 27th out of 156 countries with sea frontages. This is because of its beautiful clean beaches and islands at Halong , Da Nang, Hue, Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
The friendliness of the rural people at these destinations and the diversified and colourful culture are also huge votes in Vietnam’s favour.
In March, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation selected Phu Quoc beach in the southern province of Kien Giang as the number one beach out of five of the world’s least known and most beautiful beaches.
The international magazine Conde Nast Traveller placed Vietnam at eighteenth in a list of 20 countries with tourist potential, especially sea travel.
In 2007, Vietnam welcomed 230,000 sea travellers. When Halong Bay was listed as one of seven natural wonders of the world in January, the number of tourists to Vietnamese sea resorts increased rapidly. In that month, the Costa Allegra carried 950 passengers to Tien Sa port in the central province of Da Nang and the Rhapsody Of the Seas took 2,000 foreign visitors to Ha Long Bay, Nha Trang City and Thua Thien Hue. Tien Sa welcomed 900 passengers from the Peace ship on its 60th world cruise.
This year, more than 20 foreign tourist ships carrying a total of 10,000 passengers are expected to arrive in Vietnam, according to Da Nang tourist authorities.
A spokesperson for Rhapsody of the Seas said the ship would have visited Halong Bay eight times by the end of April carrying a total of 10,000 passengers.
Asia Pacific also plans to send its cruise ship Jupiter to Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Con Dao and Phu Quoc.
One million travellers
Vietnam’s Tourism Administration hopes to receive more than one million foreign sea travellers by 2015.
"With its beautiful beaches, Vietnam can welcome many more visitors every year. However, it is difficult to do that when sea travel remains undeveloped," said Pham Tu.
Tu added that last year, many foreign passengers said they wouldn’t return to Halong if the pollution situation was not solved.
"The main reasons why Vietnam’s sea travel hasn’t been exploited well are serious pollution, low infrastructure and complicated visa policies," said Tu.
Moreover, Vietnam sea travel hasn’t organised its publicity well. It has no particular newspaper columns or web sites.
And Vietnam still has no long-term policies to attract investors in sea travel. Professor John Kleinen from Amsterdam University said that after 10 years of receiving foreign tourist ships, Vietnam had no strategy to increase numbers.
The professor said it was necessary to get people in each region to understand that sea travel would improve their lives if they got involved in developing individual strategies to promote it.
There is also a need to develop better infrastructure.
"We must focus on building and improving ports with modern equipment and services," said Nguyen Anh Tuan from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s travel department.
"Visa exemptions should apply to sea travellers, making it easier for them to organise their trips," he said.
(Source: Viet Nam News)