Vietnam tourism industry in need of new motto
Vietnam tourism industry, a new motto is needed to promote the nation’s tourism industry and help Vietnam come closer to its goal of becoming one of Asia’s top tourist destinations over the next two years, says Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, deputy director of the Tourism Promotion Agency.
A new motto, as well as a comprehensive plan to boost tourism, remained in the planning stages, said Huong.
"We haven’t yet been able to identify all of our unique tourism products or more effective strategies to make Vietnam a memorable name to travellers," she said.
"Vietnam is still not a popular name among world travellers, so building an effective motto is extremely important and should be done immediately. We’ve advertised that our strengths are cultural tourism and eco-tourism, but what is actually conveyed to potential tourists seems vague and not striking enough to be memorable."
So far, the campaign to come up with a new motto has gained only initial traction or support from the domestic tourism industry.
Vo Anh Tai, the director of Saigontourist, the nation’s leading tourism company, said Saigontourist had been participating in the promotional campaign for a long time.
"We have worked with foreign partners to set up an overseas network to market our domestic tours." Tai said. "We try to offer the best services we can but we won’t succeed if the infrastructure isn’t good enough, tour destinations are not special or attractive enough, and auxiliary services are of substandard quality."
Tai also emphasised any motto would only work well or earn the trust of travellers if it conveyed a true picture of Vietnam.
Tourism officials have also admitted that Vietnam has not been active enough in dealing with crises, causing many tourists to turn to other destinations.
Popular Asian destinations like Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong were all hard-hit in 2003 by the SARS epidemic, but their tourism industries all quickly recovered thanks to timely shifts in promotional strategies. Vietnam did nothing comparable to secure its limited market share, said the director of a domestic travel company, asking to remain anonymous.
According to Huong, her agency is building a comprehensive development plan through 2015 with assistance from Spanish consultants.
Needed surveys have been fundamentally completed and were ready for analysis before a concrete plan was worked out. Huong hoped the result of the process would enable Vietnam to better identify and promote its special tourism products.
Tourism is a spearhead national industry which brought about VND56tril ($3.5bil) in turnover last year and is also viewed as an effective way for the country to promote its image to the world.
Cultural researcher Trinh Quang Dung said that a nation like Vietnam which is rich in both culture and natural beauty should be able to promote tourism more effectively.
In the Government-approved tourism strategy through 2010, Vietnam has projected welcoming six million international visitors, a doubling of current figures. The industry also has predicted generating a turnover of US$4.5bil yearly by 2010, an increase of $1bil over 2007 figures.
Insiders have expressed hopes of building tourism as a brand name for Vietnam much like French wines or Japanese electronics.
(Source: Viet Nam News, URL: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/travel/2008/05/781727/)