It is estimated that 104,000 Thai tourists came to Vietnam in the first 11 months of the year, 2/3 of whom came by land through the central region’s border gates.
In order to attract more travellers by land from Thailand, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) organised a conference on promoting overland tourism among Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Vu The Binh, Head of the Travel Department under VNAT, talked to the press on this occasion.
This is the first time VNAT has organised a tourism promotion conference in Thailand. What was the main goal of the conference?
The conference was organised in order to promote travelling to Vietnam by land. Conference participants discussed ways to attract more tourists from the northeastern areas of Thailand and from Laos to the central region of Vietnam.
The conference also discussed how the three countries, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, could cooperate to develop tourism in the immediate time and the future.
Which issues are travel companies of the three countries, especially Thai companies, most interested in when they bring travellers to Vietnam?
Under the framework of the conference on tourism promotion, we had a seminar with more than 60 travel companies from different countries. Many questions were raised at the seminar.
The companies complained that the entry/exit procedures at the border gates were too complicated, the signposts were confusing, while it is difficult to find the stations for getting more fuel to serve caravans. They also said that it was a big problem if passenger cars could not go into cities during working hours.
How do you assess the potentials of overland tourism among the three countries?
In the last 10 months, the Cau Treo and Lao Bao border gates have alone received 200,000 tourists. The number of Thai tourists has increased sharply by 46% over the same period of 2005, especially since the Government of Vietnam allowed caravan tours to pass into Vietnam through the two border gates.
I must say that the central region has become an attractive destination for tourists from Laos and Northeastern Thailand. However, the number of tourists remains low compared to the potentials.
What suggestions did the conference hear?
Representatives from tourism agencies from the three countries have committed to cooperate to overcome the difficulties. Conferences, workshops and FAM trips will be organised in order to create the best conditions for travel companies to exploit the tourism market, turning the northeastern area of Thailand, central Laos and central region of Vietnam into a bustling tourism area.
What solutions has VNAT put on the table?
The total number of tourists coming to Vietnam by land in 06 was 80,000, and I think that the figure may double in subsequent years if Vietnam takes action to promote overland tourism.
VNAT has proposed three solutions.
First, a long term programme on developing overland tourism in the area must be drawn up.
Second, more activities on promoting tourism to Vietnam need to be organised to attract Thai travellers. We have asked to receive a FAM trip from Thailand in some days that will consist of tourism officials, representatives of Thai authorities and Thai travel companies.
Third, organising events to welcome the launch of the Huu Nghi II Bridge, considering this an opportunity to attract tourists.
Vietnam aims to attract more travellers by land ( 09/12/06 )
Year-end events at Sandy Beach ( 08/12/06 )
New tourism wave in Vietnam: more travellers reached ( 07/12/06 )
Kien Giang to survey sea route to Cambodia, Thailand ( 06/12/06 )A key factor to create attractive tourism environment ( 05/1206 )
A market full of colors ( 05/12/06 )Quang Nam strives to receive 3.8mil tourists by 2015 ( 04/12/06 )
Expats enjoy running and walking tours ( 28/11/06 )
A storytelling garden ( 27/11/06 )Fishing and browsing the coral reef at Vinh Hy Bay ( 26/11/06 )Kien Giang finding new tourism through transportation investments ( 25/11/06 )Hoi An Riverside voted amongst world's best resorts ( 24/11/06 )
Vietnam to join ASEAN puppet festival ( 23/11/06 )Ho Chi Minh City to hold "Taste of the World" festival ( 22/11/06 )Go to Hoi An to enjoy cultural activities ( 21/11/06 )New tours available this holiday season ( 20/11/06 )
Trekking back to the adventure of Yersin ( 19/11/06 )
Metropole's Hanoi City tour by vintage car ( 18/11/06 )
Da Nang tempts tourists with shopping streets ( 17/11/06 )
Quang Nam welcomes more tourism projects ( 17/11/06 )
A must-try dish when visiting Nha Trang ( 16/11/06 )