Thai Caravan Tourists Travel to Central Vietnam
Caravan tourists Travel to central Vietnam, the number of caravan tourists coming from Thailand has been increasing sharply recently. Meanwhile, the local tourism industry has not improved to meet the demand of the increased number of tourists.
Under the framework of the Vietnam-Laos-Thailand cooperation in tourism development, a delegation of 100 members representing Thai ministries and branches, who came to survey Route No 9 and the East West Economic Corridor (EWEC), had a working session with Da Nang authorities on August 24.
Deputy Director of Hue Tourism and Sports Department Nguyen Quoc Thanh said that after launching Huu Nghi 2 bridge, linking Savanakhet (Laos) and Mukahan (Thailand) at the end of 2006, officially putting the EWEC through, the number of Thai caravan tourists coming to the central region of Vietnam had been increasing sharply.
In 2006, the central region welcomed 10,000 tourists by land from Thailand and Laos, who came through the Lao Bao border gate, including 20 caravan tours with 600 tourists. Meanwhile, in the first six months of the year alone, the region received 17,000 travellers, including 21 caravan tours with 1,023 tourists.
Mr Thanh said that the EWEC proved to be very promising for tourism development, and the concept ‘eating Thai, Laos and Vietnamese meals on the same day’ had become realistic.
Thai caravan tourists travel to central Vietnam, Nuan Sarnsorn from the Thailand Tourism Department related that his delegation visited Han Market in Da Nang, and it was a nice surprise to them that vendors there invited them to buy goods in Thai language. It seems that management authorities, tourism firms and local residents all have got ready for tourism on EWEC.
Nevertheless, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism and Sports Pirom Simasathien said that Vietnam should still do a lot of things to attract more caravan tourists.
It still takes time to fulfill formalities to go through the Lao Bao border gate, he said. Moreover, the maximum speed allowed on the route from Lao Bao to Da Nang is 50 km/h, which Mr Pirom Simasathien thinks can be raised to 80 km/h in order to shorten travelling time and give more time for sightseeing and shopping.
He also complained about the transport signs along the route, which do not suit international practice, thus causing difficulties to drivers.
He has also suggested setting up more stations for travellers to stay, have meals and relax. “The system of toilets on the way from Lao Bao to Da Nang proves to be very poor, causing difficulties to travellers from Thailand going to the central region of Vietnam,” he said.
Caravan tourists travel to central Vietnam, Mr Thanh from Hue Tourism and Sports Department has acknowledged that as the number of tourists has increased sharply the services provided by Vietnam still cannot meet the demand.
Mr Thanh has emphasised the efforts by the government of Vietnam to attract more caravan tourists. In the past, caravan tourists had to fulfill a lot of procedures to be able to travel to Vietnam, and every caravan needed to be guided by police car. Meanwhile, the procedures have become simpler: enterprises can organise caravan tours themselves, and there is no need to have police cars to show the way any more.
Mr Thanh said that more and more Vietnamese people wanted to make caravan tours to Thailand. However, only the government of Vietnam allowed right-hand drive cars to enter its territory; the government of Thailand still does not permit right-hand drive cars to enter Thailand.
“I myself hope that I can attend SEA Games 24 at the end of this year. I hope my family and I can drive ourselves to Bangkok to watch the football final between Vietnam and Thailand national squads,” Mr Thanh said.