Vietnam’s tourism promotion program to be extended
2010-01-04 (GMT + 7)
The country’s largest-ever tourism promotion program Impressive Vietnam will continue into the new year, instead of being wrapped up on December 31 as earlier scheduled, said a senior tourism official.
Vu The Binh, head of the travel department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said that VNAT would have a meeting next month to review the program and discuss the extention.
“In the meeting, the administration will collect ideas from experts and entrepreneurs about new methods to carry out the program in the new situation,” Binh told the Daily, explaining that the extension of the grand sale program was aimed to create a sharper edge for Vietnam’s hospitality industry.
“We aim to improve the competitiveness of the country’s tourism sector (in 2010) rather than merely a supporting measure for local players in the challenging year (of 2009) only,” he said.
“We will extend the program but support for travel firms and the ways to deploy it should be changed,” he said.
Under the large-scale promotion program announced by VNAT early this year, big discounts of between 30% and 50% are being offered for visitors buying packaged tours with travel agencies who registered to join the program.
More than 85 travel agencies together with hotels, shopping venues, restaurants, and transportation companies have put their names down to join the program.
Along with promotions for foreign visitors, local tourists are receiving discounts of airlines and other services.
Binh said that the country’s tourism authority had launched the program to cope with the decline in international arrivals prompted by the global recession. However, as the sector is recovering, the VNAT needs to change the way to deploy it.
“This year we need the program to woo tourists to overcome the downturn. But now, we need a better program to raise the competitiveness of the country’s tourism,” Binh said.
He said the program had become a strong point for promoting the country’s tourism to international tourists. As for the domestic travel sector, the Impressive Vietnam has contributed greatly to the strong growth of local travelers this year.
“We can see the good impact on the domestic travel sector right now, which has grown by 19% this year,” Binh said.
However, the official said, the extended program will not offer travel firms big discounts in air tickets. Under the current program, Vietnam Airlines has given different promotions, the biggest discount being as high as 60%, to travel firms to make package tours more affordable to tourists.
“Business is recovering so partners especially Vietnam Airlines can’t run big promotions like those undertaken this year,” Binh said.
In early November, on behalf of the group of local travel firms participating in the Impressive Vietnam program, deputy head Tran The Dung requested the Travel Department to extend the program to June 2010.
According to VNAT, the country this year welcomes 3.8 million foreign visitors, down nearly 11% year-on-year, and 25 million domestic travelers, up 19% compared to last year. The tourism revenue is expected to grow between 6.5% and 9% to VND68-70 trillion.