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World tourism body to help Vietnam

2010-05-14 (GMT + 7)

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has pledged to help Vietnam travel sector by training human resources and creating development schemes to promote certain attractions.

The pledge was made at the 22nd Joint Meeting of the UNWTO for East Asia and South Asia, which began in Hanoi on Monday and finishes on Wednesday.
The UNWTO conference titled “Tourism: A Key Driver for Social-Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific” will take place at the same time.
UNWTO will send experts to areas including Ha Giang Province and Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan Province to develop the communities’ tourism industry.
In addition, UNWTO may send Vietnamese tourism officials to work in their headquarters in Spain to develop important skills.
Taleb Rifai, UNWTO’s general secretary, already approved some of the activities in a meeting held in Spain with Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) head Nguyen Van Tuan earlier this year.
However, VNAT said they still had to confirm exact schedules with UNWTO to implement the plans.
In its latest world tourism report, UNWTO said that in 2010’s first two months 60 countries (among the 77 surveyed) experienced growth, of which 24 displayed double-digit increases, including Vietnam. Asia as a whole led the world’s tourism growth during the period.
International tourist arrivals increased an estimated 7% in January and February this year, while growth in Asia and the Pacific grew 10%.
VNAT reported that during the first four months of 2010, nearly 1.8 million foreign tourists visited Vietnam, up 35.7% year-on-year.
The tourism sector contributed about US$4.05 billion to the country’s GDP last year.
Nearly 300 international tourism experts and officials from the Asia Pacific region participated in the meeting. They will visit World Heritage site Halong Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh on Wednesday.
* A plan by VNAT to send its staff abroad this year to promote the country’s tourism still remains on the shelf, said VNAT leader Nguyen Van Tuan.
He told the Daily that the administration had found it difficult to deploy the plan. Earlier this year, VNAT unveiled a plan to send promoters abroad to work at the country’s representative offices as well as at sales offices of Vietnam Airlines to better reach potential tourism customers.
“We’ve found some problems when discussing the cooperation and that’s why we have yet to carry out the plan,” he said.
Tuan did not pinpoint the problems, but said “a specific mechanism from the Government is required for dispatching officials abroad as promoters.” Furthermore, talks over details with Vietnam’s representative offices and the national air carrier require more time.
VNAT is bolstering promotion activities overseas, aiming to promote Vietnam tours and consider Vietnam as a popular destination for international travelers. However, unlike other regional countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the country’s tourism still has no representative offices abroad for the purpose.


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