Vietnam sea travel
Vietnam is expecting sea travel to strongly recover and develop by leaps and bounds in the coming years, and will make stronger efforts to realize the country’s big potentials in this sector, said a tourism official.
Vu The Binh, head of the travel department under Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), told the Daily yesterday that the number of cruise passengers would return to the peak recorded in 2002 and surge in the coming years to one million a year.
Last year, international cruise ships brought in 140,000 tourists, which despite the year-on-year increase of 11% showed a steep fall from 350,000 cruise-ship passengers the country welcomed in 2002. The nosedive was then attributed to the SARS and bird flu epidemics.
But Binh said the recovery would be quick.
“We believed that we can recover the lost number in the next few years, and even boost the number of cruise passengers to one million in the foreseeable future given new promotion and investment activities being made,” he said.
He noted that the country has 4,000 kilometres of coastline, which is the greatest potential for the sea-tourism development.
Cruise ship operators are increasingly choosing Vietnam because it is a safe destination after SARS and bird flu. Furthermore, the country is located near two centres of cruise travel in Asia, namely Hong Kong and Singapore.
However, the key to optimism is greater efforts being made to design new routes and to make Vietnam better known to well-to-do tourists worldwide, according to Binh.
This year the VNAT department and tour operators will survey dozens of new sea tourist routes linking Vietnam with neighbouring countries and territories, including China’s Hainan Island, Singapore, Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Cambodia. These routes will take in famous stopovers in Vietnam, including Phu Quoc, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Vinh, and Halong.
Binh said VNAT would combine with Vietnam tours operators to open new sea tourist routes, go outside to meet with cruise lines to promote the potential of Vietnam, and invite them to the country for the promotion purpose.
“VNAT will help tour operators strongly promote the country’s images to partners during promotion trips,” he said.
Binh said VNAT would also support local companies to cooperate with foreign partners to establish joint venture companies to attract cruise passengers.
VNAT will also ask the Government to give visa exemptions to these visitors,” he said.
Vietnam also is working closely with other ASEAN countries to boost cruise travel in the region.
Currently, many famous cruise lines in Europe, the U.S, and Asia such as Costa Crocieres, Star Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, P&O Princess Cruises are regularly calling on the country.
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