Tourism dollars up despite crisis
2010-01-07 (GMT + 7)
Foreign tourist numbers dipped markedly last year. Institute for Tourism Development Research director Ha Van Sieu spoke about moves to increase the rate of tourism
The number of foreign tourists visiting Viet Nam dropped in the past year. Did the situation happen partially because of shortcomings in the tourism sector in addition to difficulties caused by the global economic crisis?
In my opinion, the decline of international tourist arrivals to Viet Nam has various reasons. But the main reason is the adverse impact of the economic crisis.
Fluctuations in European and northern America, for instance, have caused a decrease in the flow of foreign tourists from these markets visiting Viet Nam.
A report released by the tourism sector found about 30 per cent more Vietnamese people travelled abroad over the past year. What do you think about this trend?
Recent years have seen a rapid increase in the number of Vietnamese people travelling abroad. Despite the impact of the global economic crisis on Viet Nam, the number of high income earners has continued increasing, paving the way for them to travel abroad. Besides this, travel companies are providing more diverse services with more overseas tours offered.
This accounts for the 30 per cent increase in Vietnamese people travelling abroad last year. The number of international and domestic tourists is equal in other countries. But it is not the case in Viet Nam where there is a widening gap between the two.
How will the tourism sector develop domestic tourism last year?
Travel companies have borrowed loans at preferential interest rates, or been given tax exemptions, tax reductions or delays for tax payment thanks to the Government’s stimulus packages.
Thanks to that support, the tourism sector launched the Impressive Viet Nam campaign. As part of this, participants including travel companies, hotels, and airlines were asked to reduce their service prices between 20 per cent and 50 per cent, and organise advertising activities to attract tourists.
As a result, the programme contributed to cutting costs and attracting more tourists. It also prevented a plummeting in the number of international tourist arrivals while stimulating regional tourism.
Specifically, the number of international tourist arrivals to Viet Nam dropped from over 20 per cent in the first months of last year to more than 10 per cent in September and October.
However, tourism income still increased last year compared with the previous year, up to VND78 trillion (US$4.3 billion) in turnover.
What is your forecast for this year?
I think Viet Nam’s tourism will recover its growth rate this year and surpass last year’s. It is forecasted that Viet Nam will see between 4-6 million international tourists (an increase of between 18-21 per cent), and about 28 million domestic tourists (an increase of between 8 per cent and 12 per cent). Income earned from tourism will total about VND75 trillion-78 trillion ($4.1 billion-4.3 billion) (an increase of 7.1-11 per cent).
Source: VietNamNet/Viet Nam News