Malaysia encourages local tour guides to learn Vietnamese
In a bid to woo more Vietnamese travelers, Malaysia encourages local tour guides to learn Vietnamese so that they can communicate well with Vietnamese visitors as they do in Thailand.
"We have asked our colleagues and training institutes to provide us with courses on Vietnamese. We will sponsor travel guides to learn the language," Malaysia's Deputy Minister of Tourism Dato Ir Donald Lim Siang Chai said.
Lim told the Daily on the sidelines of Global Meet Malaysia 2007, which began in Langkawi Monday that he believed Malaysian tour guides would be able to use Vietnamese when they introduced the attractions of their country to Vietnamese tourists.
Tourism Malaysia will also help to open restaurants that serve authentic Malaysian food in Vietnam as part of its target to have 3,000 Malaysian food restaurants available overseas in the next three years, Lim said.
"We are choosing locations in Ho Chi Minh City and such a restaurant will be inaugurated within the year," said Lim, who returned to Vietnam earlier this month to promote Malaysia. The Visit Malaysia 2007 program marks the country's 50th anniversary of independence.
Tourism Malaysia wants authentic Malaysian food restaurants instead of periodic promotions at certain hotels in Vietnam in the hope that more Vietnamese people will know Malaysia and travel there.
Lim said the Malaysian tourism authority had set a target of attracting 100,000 Vietnamese tourists this year, 40,000 more than in 2006. The target is smaller than the number of 150,000 Malaysians traveling to Vietnam last year and probably 200,000 this year.
Although the number is small, Lim ranked Vietnam among Malaysia's top ten markets which include Singapore, Japan, Thailand, China, the United States, Australia and Indonesia in terms of potential and tourist arrivals.
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