"Most tourists travel to Hanoi complain they cannot buy souvenirs though the capital is a land of craft and trade villages," Tran Hung, a tour guide at Hanoi Red Company ( one of local Vietnam tour Company) said.
Luu Duc Ke, director of the Hanoitourist Company, said Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia organise sales months to attract tourist, something Vietnam must definitely do.
Shopping was also a source of income for the tourist industry, he explained.
A tourist travels to Vietnam spends an average of US$900, mostly for basic services like food, accommodation, and transport.
In Thailand it is around $1,200, 70 per cent of which is spent on shopping.
Travel companies in Thailand sold package tours at as low as $30 per day, but in return the country earned more from selling goods, Ke said.
It might already be late but it was imperative Vietnam have a shopping festival to stimulate tourism demand, he added.
For the first time there was a national-level sales promotion Vietnam tours in Hanoi, HCM City and Da Nang in August and September.
Nguyen Manh Cuong, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said the festival did manage to stimulate tourism.
A senior official at the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade said 100 shops, supermarkets and shopping malls in the Hoan Kiem Lake area took part in the programme.
Some offered discounts of up to 50 per cent.
Most of the businesses reported a jump in business in September, some of up to 170 per cent over August.
Cuong said Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City), which has been holding promotions in the low season for the last five years, saw 600 enterprises and 2,300 outlets take part.
In Da Nang, 29 Vietnam travel firms, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls offered discounts of 10 to 50 per cent.
But there were some teething troubles.
Advertising was not optimal because things began to move late, the trade department executive said.
Besides, benchmarks have yet to be set for shops signing up for the programme.