Visitor numbers up
During the Tet holiday, the number of international and local tourists to Ha Noi increased, according to the city's Culture, Sport and Tourism Department, adding that the number of overseas Vietnamese who visited Vietnam for the Tet holiday rose dramatically due to visa exemptions.
Non-Vietnamese arrivals reached 183,000, up 16 per cent over the same period last year, while overseas Vietnamese arrivals totalled nearly 700,000. The department also predicted the number of tourists from traditional markets including China, Japan, France, Australia, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries would increase in the first quarter of the year.
Domestic tourist numbers to Hanoi during the Tet holiday rose 40 per cent over the same period last year or about 1.8 million visitors. The Huong (Perfume) Pagoda festival and the Thang Long Imperial Citadel relic site attracted the largest number of tourists.
The ancient capital of Hue in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue also welcomed 51,000 tourists, a 40 per cent increase during the one-week Tet holiday against last year's figures. As a result, the city's tourism industry made a turnover of more than VND23 billion (about US$1.1 million) during the week.
Targets for 2012
Vietnam's tourism industry expects to welcome 6.5 million international tourists and 32 million local visitors this year, for an estimated turnover of VND150 trillion ($7.1 billion), the VNAT said.
To reach these targets, the industry will launch campaigns to raise awareness for community-based tourism. Tourism development must bring benefits for the community and boost the local economy in a sustainable way. Indigenous people will not run tourist businesses but will participate in their services. Tourist companies will run tourist services and have a duty to contribute 10 per cent of their profits to the local authorities.
Also, the 11-million-euro ($14.35 million), five-year responsible environment and society tourism (ESRT) development programme, funded by the European Union (EU) last year, set up ESRT services during the 2011-15 period. This will support the implementation of the Vietnam Tourism Development Strategy and financially contribute to the implementation of key tourism development programmes.
Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh predicted travel to increase in popularity and international tourism to continue growing. According to the World Tourism Organization, in 2012 the number of international tourists will reach one billion, and the total income of the world's tourism service is estimated at over $1 trillion. Vietnam's tourism industry will continue to promote growth and sustainable development with an average yearly growth of 11.5-12 per cent between 2011 and 2020.
Vietnam hopes to receive 10-15 million foreign tourists and 47-48 million domestic tourists by 2020. The industry also expects to obtain a total revenue of about $18-19 billion, contributing from 6.5 – 7 per cent of GDP, creating three million jobs including 870,000 workers directly employed by the tourism trade. Minister Anh also said the industry should focus on improving the quality of services and develop unique tourism experiences to compete with other countries both in the region and throughout the world. Vietnam should promote maritime tourism, heritage tourism, eco-tourism in the future and tourism companies should strengthen links between regions and localities towards the formation of specific regional tourism products to attract visitors.