Vietnam welcomes 4.9 million foreign visitors in 8 months

Vietnam received more than 677,000 foreign arrivals in the early days of August, up 22% against the same month last year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Vietnam welcomes 4.9 million foreign visitors in 8 months

Vietnam received more than 677,000 foreign arrivals in the early days of August, up 22% against the same month last year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

The August figure raised the total number of foreign visitors since early this year to nearly 4.9 million, up 7.9% compared to last year’s same period.

Most of the visitors came from Russia (up 63.1%), China (33.1%), Indonesia (25.6%), Thailand (24.2%) and New Zealand (21.9%).

The tourism sector has achieved nearly 68% of the set target of 7.2 million for the whole year.

Meanwhile, the total number of domestic tourists also increased by 11.7% to 29.3 million, accounting for 83.7% of the set target. Total revenues from the tourism sector are predicted to reach VND138.2 trillion this year, up 22.5% over last year.

Tourists flock to Phu Quoc prison

The historical relic site of Phu Quoc prison has so far this year welcomed over 75,000 visitors, including 3,400 international arrivals.

Phu Quoc prison is one of the most popular destinations for visitors when they set foot on Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang.

During the wars of resistance against French colonialists and US imperialists, many Vietnamese revolutionaries were detained in the prison, some 4,000 of whom lost their lives there.

The prison has since been named as a heritage site and its twelve sections have been restored. Many now preserve historical evidence of the atrocities that took place in the prison.

The restoration and decision to open the site to visitors benefits historical research and ensures that the heroic prisoners will never be forgotten.

Can lower prices help promote Danang tourism?

Danang, despite recent successes, is still pondering the best strategies for enticing tourists in greater numbers to visit the city and its surrounds.

Boosting low season arrivals is particularly important to maintaining the city’s tourism industry growth. Many local travel operators offer heavy discounts, but do the cheaper prices also result in a lower quality of services?

Danang, which aims to host major domestic and international events, received a record 2.6 million visitors in 2012, earning VND6 trillion.

Major events like the annual international fireworks competition and maritime tourism festival ensures the city is packed during peak periods but do not help balance seasonal vicissitudes.

The storm season lasting from September to December is especially difficult for the city’s tourism industry.

Vuong Van Dung, Hoang Tra Tourism Company Ltd’s Deputy Business Director, says his company follows the industry-wide low season discount trend by offering 20% off ticket prices for the Danang—City of Bridges tour.

He believes promotion programmes should have begun much earlier in the year to facilitate more effective tie-ins and links with other service providers.

Danang’s tourism industry could be overheating. The city’s hotel room numbers exploded from 6,000 in 2010 to 10,000 last year and 2013 is expected to add 1,800 more. The boom is concentrated at modest budget levels and Danang still lacks accommodation rated at three stars or above.

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The room supply surplus also contributes to dramatic low season discounting.

Danang Tourism Association Secretary General Trinh Bang Co warns promotions and sales are only stopgap measures.

Stimulating demand over the longer term requires developing unique tourism products and services capable of earning prestige. Such a strategy is also more likely to encourage return visits.

His association is jointly running a programme that monitors prices and tour operator standards in the city.

Tran Chi Cuong, Deputy Head of the Municipal Department of Tourism, Sports, and Culture, says his department is carefully scrutinising industry discounting to ensure the reputation of the city’s tourism brand is not tarnished by low season desperation.

The information it collects will be publicly available to both local residents and visitors, empowering them to take action if any businesses fail to honour their discount guarantees.

VN tourism not ‘well known’ enough

Experts and enterprises at a recent conference agreed that Viet Nam’s existing tourism trademark was still not well known.

According to participants at the Thursday function to define the trademark, tourism enterprises and localities have not paid enough attention to promoting the trademark, despite rapid development of the industry in the past five years.

They said more money should be invested in local and foreign advertising, including the use of TV clips.

It was agreed that developing a better tourism trademark should be based on the existing trademark itself, the regions and tourist enterprises. The present trademark is said to be too weak to lure tourists.

“The problem lies in policy,” said Pham Trung Luong, deputy director of the Tourism Development Research Institute.

“Enterprises are allowed to use only 5 per cent of their incomes on advertising,” he added.

Nguyen Van Tuan, director general of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, said Viet Nam was developing three main streams of tourism products – the sea, culture and ecology.

The tourism products of these three streams will be the key to developing a stronger trademark.

HCMC welcomes 2.4 million foreign guests

Ho Chi Minh City has handled over 2.4 million international visitors in the first eight months, the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported.

The figure went up 1.4% against the same period last year and representing 60% of the yearly target.

In August alone, around 290,000 foreigners arrived in the city of whom 224,385 traveled by air.

The number of both domestic and foreign visitors increased sharply in August thanks to declining tour prices as the local authorities deployed a string of tourism promotion programs and aviation airlines, transporters, hotels and restaurants offered price discounts.

The local tourism industry was estimated to earn VND 55.439 billion in the first eight months, or a year-on-year increase of 15% and representing 68% of the whole-year target.

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