Vietnam is prepared to welcome the five millionth tourist, recording the highest growth rate in number of tourists. Vietnam travel has had a successful year with spectacular growth beyond all expectation. Vietnam Business Forum reporter Xuan Cuong interviewed Mr Nguyen Manh Cuong, Deputy Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism on this success.
Vietnam is going to welcome the5,000 th tourist, in your opinion, what is the reason for this success?
The figure will be exactly finalized at the end of December by General Statistics Office. As of November 2010, Vietnam welcomed 4.6 million international tourists travel to Vietnam, and at the current rate, in December, we will welcome more 400 thousand ones, which makes it absolutely possible to receive 5,000 in the year.
Events such as Festival 1000 year Anniversary Thang Long, big cultural events have somehow had impacts on tourist attraction. However, in my opinion, the exact reason for tourism’s success in 2010 is drastic implementation of tourism promotional activities since 2009. As for international tourist attraction, this year’s success is the result of last year’s preparation. Tourism products are abstract and have to take time to be delivered to international travel agencies to complete. At least, it takes products six months from being promoted and built up to be delivered to international tourists; normally, it takes seven to eight months to create products for agencies to bring international tourists to Vietnam.
Vietnam has come and are keeping right track into the focus and center of promotion. Previously, tourism promotion was only at a medium and small scope, but in 2010, Vietnam promotes at larger scope, in longer time, with more crowded forces, advertises and prepares products better.
Besides, Vietnam has approached more objectives, for example, 2010 is the first year Vietnam implemented Vietnam tour promotion for overseas Vietnamese to communicate with host countries about Vietnam’s images and travel to Vietnam. With millions of overseas Vietnamese and this is a rather effective communication channel since they are clear about local residents’ favors and know what their preferences are to better communicate. In 2010, for the first time, Vietnam mobilized at the same time all related departments and offices to launch a sale campaign in the tourism plateau season. Although the focuses are Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang, most localities have had response. As this is the first initiative coordinating with brand of Trade and Industry, localities, it’s also an event attracting tourists.
With this success, in your opinion, in 2011, how many tourists will Vietnam target?
If reaching the number of five million tourists this year, Vietnam tourism has increased by 30 percent against plan of welcoming 4.2 million international tourists. This is the highest rate since 2009 witnessed economic crisis, which makes Vietnam only welcomed 3.8 million ones. Therefore, the number of international tourists coming back Vietnam was 1.2 million. Vietnam is the country with fastest growth rate and recovery rate of tourism in the world. However, tourism doesn’t always advance equally, when it reaches the peak, it will stop and keep staying there. Meanwhile, in 2011, it is forecast that Vietnam will have to deal with challenges such as there are no opportunities of holding big events as in 2010, and forecasts of unpredictability of natural disasters. Recently, disasters have continuously damaged the Middle, which causes great influences in tourism etc.
However, the core is people’s perception and thoughts towards tourism activities tend to be sustainable. This is the decisive factor. Vietnam inherits favorably natural resources, which are being destroyed in many places instead of taking their advantages. The main reason is of human; their weak management and administration are wasting and damaging natural resources.
Vietnam tourism is now focusing on quantity but not quality. What do you think about this?
It is true that in tourism activities, many enterprises are pursuing the number of tourists, not developing deeply. Tourism is not economics. As for hotels’ owners, what they are concerned about is not how many tourists are welcomed but what is the profits and contributions to national budget. Therefore, they are willing to welcome 100 tourists who pay high rather than 1000 ones paying medium. Tourism is the same; the final thing are what is the contribution to the country, how much work are done, how to strengthen society and economy etc.
This is also the reason why in development strategy of tourism in 2011 – 2020, tourism brand turns to develop deeply, making quality the focus to increase tourism turnover. Consequently, tourism will exploit added services to increase tourists’ expense capacity, making they stay in Vietnam on longer time.