Visitors to Sapa travel in the northern province of Lao Cai get exposed to the locals' sweet sales tactics. Over 1.9 million foreign visitors arrived in Vietnam in the first four months of the year.
This brought the total number of foreign arrivals during the first four months of the year to more than 1.9 million, a year-on-year increase of 10.5 per cent.
Despite the recent earthquake and tsunami, Japanese visitors to Vietnam still numbered 177,000, surging 21 per cent against the previous year's same period.
Vietnam also saw remarkable increases in the numbers of tourists from China, up 20 per cent, US arrivals rising by 6.8 per cent, South Koreans by 6.6 per cent, French tourists by 6.3 per cent and Australian visitors 5.7 per cent.
A strong brand name would be established for Vietnam travel during the next four years to promote the country's attractions, said director general of the Vietnam Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Van Tuan.
The administration planned to hire a consultancy firm to carry out the strategy, he said, adding that this was the first time promotion would be conducted by a professional agency.
Chairman of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA) Vu The Binh said efforts to create a Vietnamese brand should focus on what was unique about the country. He said he believed one thing Vietnam could be proud of was its spectacular landscape.
Binh said it was also important to identify potential markets. To date, Vietnam's traditional markets were people from Northeast Asia and Western Europe, but another promising market was the country's own region of Southeast Asia.
In countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, people from within the region accounted for 70 per cent of visitors while in Vietnam, the figure was not even close to 20 per cent, he said.
"A strong and effective brand name requires close co-operation between authorities and hotels, airlines and tourist companies," said Saigontourist Marketing Manager Doan Thi Thanh Tra.
"Such co-ordination can help create attractive tourism services and products, a key factor for the success of our hospitality industry.
"A brand name will not work if foreign tourists cannot book air tickets or hotel rooms are not easily available," she added.
Tourist companies were attempting to build their-own brands to attract more international tourists, she said.
The tourism industry aims to welcome 5.3 million foreigners and serve 30 million local tourists, earning VND110 trillion (over US$5 billion) from tourism revenue this year.