HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – The Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (DOCST) of Ho Chi Minh City on behalf of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has announced that an “Impressive Vietnam!” roadshow will be held in Melbourne, Australia as part of its global travel outreach series on February 16, 2009, Monday at 10:00 hours in the Crown Towers, which is part of the larger Crown Entertainment Complex.

“Given that the global financial crisis has impacted tourism in Vietnam with a notable decline in recent months, an immediate strategy and vigorous promotions are now in place to ensure that Vietnam continues to be a destination of choice in our existing, as well as growing, markets for 2009 and beyond,” said Mr. La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism in Ho Chi Minh City. “We are, therefore, most excited to bring you a plethora of updated tourism offerings that will resonate with both leisure and business travelers with a view to position Vietnam as a safe, enjoyable, and highly-attractive destination for all.”

It is no coincidence that “Impressive Vietnam!” is showcasing its travel highlights in Melbourne, Australia, as the Australian market is considered a seizable and growing demographic in the generation of tourism receipts in Vietnam and particularly so for Ho Chi Minh City.

While numbers have seen a healthy growth in recent years, for many Australians, Vietnam remains unexplored, and it is believed this will soon change. Figures from the General Statistics Office show that the total number of Australian tourists to Vietnam in 2008 stood at 234,760 arrivals, an increase of 104.5 percent over 2007, and this is attributed to the growing awareness of the plentiful array of the scenic, cultural, and historical elements that will fulfill even the most intrepid and discerning traveler. Thus, this roadshow presents a promising angle to engage with Australians at large and deliver more visibility for Vietnam as a preferred destination.

Visitors to the Vietnam pavilion can also look forward to the following thematic features: the introduction of Vietnam as a MICE destination; the exploration of the Heritage Road in Central Vietnam; coastal tourism; and last but not least, the discovery of culinary trails in Vietnam. All of these come conveniently available as part of the “Impressive Vietnam!” campaign organized by VNAT that has begun in January and will conclude in September and which will come with significant discounts to entice traveling in spite of the economic climate.

During this campaign, visits and tours are sweetened with most hotels offering a reduced tariff of up to 50 percent, and Vietnam Airlines – the national carrier – will also follow the same on airline ticketing on both domestic and international flights.

The organizing committee will soon extend invitations to various travel agencies from around the world in addition to selected international media to be part of the Vietnam International Trade Exhibition 2009 held in Ho Chi Minh City from October 1-3, 2009 and conduct a showcase visit to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO heritage site located in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam.

On the sidelines, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism also plans to meet Melbourne’s Department of Tourism to discuss and propose a program that can strengthen mutual cooperation and collaboration between the two cities.

As part of the contingent, there will be 40 to 50 people from Vietnam attending the roadshow, including representatives from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism; VNAT; selected tour companies; and hotels from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Danang, and Binh Thuan, as well as airlines with flights from Australia to Vietnam, such as Vietnam Airlines, Singapore Airlines, JetStar, Brunei Royal Airways, and accompanying media.

Besides showcasing Vietnam to 100-150 international travel agencies and media from Australia and the region, this organizing committee would also like to take this opportunity to invite interested parties to attend the Vietnam International Trade Exhibition 2009 scheduled for October 2009.

For further information, go to: www.itehcmc.com .