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Travel firms evaluate “Vietnam: Your Destination”

2010-05-06 (GMT + 7)

After ‘Impressive Vietnam’, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has kicked off a new tourism promotion campaign, “Vietnam – Your Destination.” Yet doubts have been raised about the feasibility of the program.

Vietnam hopes to attract tourists with diversified programs.
The 2010 tourism stimulus program includes seven main parts, including three new sections: 1/ the “Impressive Vietnam Grand Sale 2010” - the sales program  to attract domestic and international tourists, 2/ the promotion program targeting tourists who already visited Vietnam once and 3/ the program targeting Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese).
According to VNAT’s General Director Nguyen Van Tuan, the goal of the program is to increase the number of tourists, while mainly targeting those who have high spending plans and will stay for many days in Vietnam. With the program, the country hopes to receive 4.2 million of foreign tourists and 27-28 domestic tourists in 2010.
VNAT will join forces with the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the national flag air carrier Vietnam Airlines to implement the program in August and September in big cities such as Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh city(HCM City).
“Travel shopping has proven to be developing very rapidly in the last time. The income from tourists’ shopping is the main income of the tourism industry of many neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore,” noted Vu The Binh, Director of the Travel Department under VNAT.  He added that the tourism promotion campaign will center on the sales program.
Binh went on to say that the above countries have been very successful in organizing sales programs over the last decade. “Vietnam will follow this trend, but it will do so in a flexible way that fits Vietnam’s circumstances,” Binh maintained.
Worries exist
Phan Dinh Hue, Director of Vong Tron Viet travel firm, admitted that Vietnam has prepared for the tourism promotion campaign better this year, but also remarked that Vietnam is slower than other countries in the region, so it may not obtain the expected achievements.
“Other countries kicked off promotion campaigns as soon as they saw some difficulties. Vietnam only launched its promotion program when it worries that tourists numbers are few,” Hue explained.
Other Vietnam travel firms worry that tour fees are not low enough to attract tourists. They say they cannot ease tour fees since other services’ fees remain unchanged. Besides, as tax incentives for travel firms disappear, companies will not be able to reduce tour fees to impressive levels.
Tran Kim Long, General Director of Bong Sen Company, a restaurant, hotel and tourism service provider, commented that it is the right time to think about diversifying tourism products. “There are too many similar tourism products that are not special. I mean we lack foci,” he noted.
Though worried about the tourism promotion campaign’s feasibility, all travel firms stated that they will join. Hue confirmed that his firm will enter the program offering at least a 5-10 percent tour discount.

(Source: Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon)

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