He explained that the number of 650,000 foreign tourists to Hanoi in the first half of 2010 was given by the Immigration Management Office (PA18) of the Hanoi Police. In fact, PA18 does not have statistics on a certain number of foreign tourists who did not register their short stay in Hanoi. Those tourists came to Hai Phong, Quang Ninh by sea, then took a tour around Hanoi for several days and then came back to Hai Phong, Quang Ninh. Unregistered tourists also included Chinese tourists who entered Vietnam via northern border-crossings and took a sightseeing tour around Hanoi within one day and then went to Quang Ninh, Hai Phong. Unregistered tourists accounted for almost a half of the PA18-given number of foreign tourists to Hanoi in the first six months of 2011.
Such a strong increase in the number of foreign tourists to Hanoi is attributed to many reasons. Specifically, the image of Hanoi travel has been advertised widely in major markets; the celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long - Hanoi has been a success making the capital more attractive to millions of people throughout the world; tourist products of Hanoi have been diversified and improved in quality; the tourism infrastructure of the capital has been upgraded; and human resources of the tourism sector are improving.
The tourism sector of Hanoi has set targets to receive 1.75 million foreign tourists and 11.5 million domestic visitors in 2011, 1.8-2 million foreign tourists and 11.8-12 million domestic visitors by 2015.
To achieve the above targets, Mai Tien Dung said that in the time to come Hanoi will have to make the most of its natural resources and bring into play its cultural and historical values so as to create distinctive tourist products of the capital. In addition, special attention must be paid to combining tourism development and protection of natural resources and the environment as well as efforts to improve the quality of tourist products and services and develop human resources.
To boost tourism development, Hanoi will seek approval for its tourism development plan to 2020 with a vision towards 2030. A plan will be made to develop eco-tourist sites. The transport network will be upgraded to better serve tourist needs. The Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will continue to promote homestay tours to Ba Vi as well as the tours to some cultural heritage sites, craft villages and places which are famous for special kinds of food in the capital.
The Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will concentrate on promoting tours to cultural and historical sites such as Thang Long Royal Citadel, Giong Temple, Temple of Literature, Hanoi Museum, Ngoc Son Temple, Huong Pagoda, Thay Pagoda, Tay Phuong Pagoda, Duong Lam Old Village, Dong Ngac Village, Bat Trang Village, Van Phuc Village and some other traditional craft villages. At the same time, the department will coordinate with tourist sites to organize tour guide training courses. It will also cooperate with the Hanoi Department of Transport and travel companies to provide training for drivers. Such efforts are hoped to make Hanoi nicer and more attractive in the eyes of both domestic and foreign tourists.