Promoting Vietnam’s tourism during APEC: too slow
Although there are only two months left before the APEC summit in Vietnam happens, work to introduce the country’s image to APEC delegates has not been well prepared.
The sluggish work has prompted Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung to issue a letter asking the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) to review preparation work. VNAT will have to accelerate activities to make the most of Vietnam’s hosting of the APEC summit.
VietNamNet has talked to Mr Pham Huu Minh, Director of VNAT’s Tourism Promotion Agency, on the proposal to introduce more about Vietnam to APEC delegates as well as the reason why the work has not been done quickly enough.
What have been prepared to advertise Vietnam’s tourism on the occasion of APEC?
We were given the assignment of compiling a proposal on advertising Vietnam’s tourism during the time the APEC summit happens in the country in September 2005.
We have clarified nine focal points which need to be done to advertise the country’s tourism. The first one is to increase the number of advertisements in newspapers, magazines, websites. The tourism magazine of Vietnam will publish a special issue in English for APEC, which then will be delivered to all delegates for free. The Tourism newspaper will also have a special publication called Vietnam’s Discovery which is being printed specifically for the summit.
Apart from that, VNAT has asked accommodation services like hotels, resorts to have banners hung on to welcome APEC delegates. A large number of publications, leaflets, CDs on the country’s tourism will be available to delegates.
We have also worked closely with the APEC Secretariat Committee to make two CDs which have been given to delegates attending the APEC Senior Official Meetings happening across the country since the beginning of the year.
Large advertising boards, panels carrying the logos and the slogans of Vietnam tourism 2006 “Vietnam – The hidden charm” will be placed along big roads such as from Noi Bai Airport to the centre of Hanoi. Recently the Ministry of Finance has approved the budget for the implementation of this work in 23 big cities across the country. Together with this, banners, flags will be put up in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang in October and November.
VNAT will organise the APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Hoi An in October. Along with the meeting, numerous cultural, tourism activities will be held in the town as well as some other cities and places nearby such as a photo exhibition on Vietnam’s tourism, a tourism fair with more than 100 stalls and many more.
VNAT has asked provinces which have international airports or when they have delegations attending international tourism fairs in other countries to promote the advertising work with the view to introducing the best images of Vietnam to foreigners and building up a confidence in the capacity of Vietnam to receive a large number of international tourists.
Enhancing service quality in tourism and accommodation services is also a focal point of the proposal. VNAT has generated a campaign of building up a good tourism environment on Phu Quoc Island and is going to apply the model to Sapa and several other places. We have also organised 60 training courses for staff at Hanoi hotels and accommodation services.
However, as we can all see, in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang, there are no banners, flags or advertising boards. What are the reasons for this slow implementation?
Indeed that this is one of our shortcomings. The agency was not active enough in carrying out the advertising campaigns. We have had problems with budget. Even though the proposal was completed at a very early time, the budget allocation was incorporated in the budget allocated for the National Action Programme for the whole year of 2006. This programme was not approved by the government until the end of May 2006.
We should have split the budget for advertising campaigns on the occasion of APEC summit from the overall programme to get the government’s nod first.
The proposal for advertising work during the APEC summit we prepared was not okayed until the second quarter of the year. Therefore we did not have enough time to prepare tenders, orders for banners, flags or large advertising boards.
What would help to promote the work, as we don’t have much time left?
Large advertising boards and banners are worrisome. We will have to work with the Ministry of Finance to get the budget approval. Then we will organise tender, preparing contracts for implementation as well as working with local government on putting them up. We have planned to complete the work before the APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting happens in Hoi An.
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