The symposium was held to review the "Impressive Viet Nam Grand Sale 2010" which was launched to ignite tourism in August and September in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City) and Danang. The scheme was jointly undertaken by the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
Trinh Thi Hong Loan, director of the department's handicraft office, said more than 100 trade centres, supermarkets and shops in Hanoi launched sales promotion programmes, including 10 to 50 per cent discounts, gifts and other promotional activities.
As a result, Vietnam travel companies had increased their revenue by 11-170 per cent against the same period last year.
Deputy Director General of VNAT Nguyen Manh Cuong said this was the first time the programme had been held in the capital whereas it was the sixth time the scheme was organised in HCM City.
The scale of the programme was much bigger in HCM City than Hanoi, with the participation of 600 enterprises and 2,200 trade centres, supermarkets and shops, which attracted 45,000 customers and generated a combined turnover of VND300 billion (US$15 million).
"One thing worthy of consideration is that we should do more to encourage foreign visitors to spend much more money on shopping.
Because right now, shopping accounts for only 20 per cent of each visitor's total spending while they're in the country, while in Thailand the rate is 60 per cent," Cuong said.
The programme should be expanded to a national scale, experts said.
Luu Duc Ke, director of the Hanoi Tourist Corporation, said Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore had had success with sales campaigns to lure international visitors for shopping holidays.
"Hanoi does not have any national or world-class standard shopping centres, while HCM City has five. We should build such centres to meet the needs of overseas tourists," he said.
"We should promote handicraft sales more effectively because the capital and neighbouring localities have so many craft villages."
It would require tighter collaboration between the departments of tourism, and industry and trade with People's Committees, sales agents and other relevant Vietnam travel agencies to carry out the programme effectively, he added.
See also: Tips shopping in Vietnam