Chinese tourists resume visits to Viet Nam despite tensions
Viet Nam ensures the security and safety of foreign tourists visiting the country, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan said yesterday.
At his working session with the northern province of Quang Ninh, the deputy minister said that Chinese tourists have, in recent days, resumed tours to Viet Nam, mainly through the border gates in the northern provinces of Lang Son, Lao Cai and Quang Ninh.
According to Vice Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee, Vu Thi Thu Thuy, Chinese tourists travelled through the Mong Cai international border gate on tours to the province and other localities organised by Chinese travel companies.
In 2013, the province catered for about 7.5 million visitors, including 2.6 million international guests.
In the first five months of the year, Quang Ninh greeted 1.2 million foreign visitors, of whom Chinese and Taiwanese tourists made up 38 per cent.
In May, East Sea tension triggered a sharp decrease in tourists from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Vietnam ensures safety for international tourists
Vietnam ensures the security and safety of foreign tourists visiting the country, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan has confirmed.
At his working session with the northern province of Quang Ninh on June 2, the deputy minister reported that Chinese tourists have, in recent days, resumed tours to Vietnam, mainly through the border gates of the northern provinces of Lang Son, Lao Cai and Quang Ninh.
According to Vice Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee Vu Thi Thu Thuy, on June 1, Chinese tourists travelled through the Mong Cai international border gate on tours to the province and other localities, organised by Chinese travel companies.
In 2013, the province catered for around 7.5 million visitors, including 2.6 million international guests.
In the first five months of the year, Quang Ninh greeted 1.2 million foreign visitors, of whom Chinese and Taiwanese tourists made up 38 percent.
Since early May, the East Sea tensions have triggered a sharp decrease in tourists from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, badly impacting on the locality’s tourism.
Ha Quang Long, Director of the provincial Culture, Sports and Tourism Department, said the province will explore nearby potential markets, like the Republic of Korea, Japan and ASEAN, and gradually aim to attract ones from further afield, such as Russia, Europe and North America. It will also give due attention to the local market during this summer time./
Vietnamese, Argentinean localities boost tourism ties
Argentina’s Puerto Iguazú city wishes to be twinned with Ha Long in the northern province of Quang Ninh, in order to fully tap the tourism potential of the two localities, which between them own two of the seven new wonders of the world.
The statement was made by Juan José Raynoldi, Secretary of the Puerto Iguazú municipal Government, at his meeting with Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Dinh Thao on June 1.
He added that his city will send a proposal to this effect to the authorities of Ha Long city.
Puerto Iguazú city owns Iguazu Falls, which is partially located in Brazil’s territory. The fall complex was recognised as a world natural heritage site by UNESCO in 1984. Meanwhile, the organisation gave the recognition to Ha Long Bay in 1994.
Earlier on May 29-31, Ambassador Thao visited Argentina’s Posadas city, where he attended the opening ceremony of a photo exhibition on Vietnam’s land, people and traditional costumes, and met representatives of local businesses.
On this occasion, Posadas city also told the diplomat of the city’s decision to name a road in the locality after Vietnam.
HCM City seeks to attract foreign visitors
If Ho Chi Minh City properly positions and distinguishes itself as a safe and hospitable destination in promotion campaigns, international tourism will flourish, according to tour operators.
Vietravel, a leading national tour operator, reports that the company welcomed more than 17,000 foreign visitors to HCM City during the first five months of this year, an increase of 20% against the same period last year. Japan tops the arrivals, trailed by EU member countries and ASEAN countries.
Saigontourist, another leading national tour operator, says that the number of foreign arrivals booking tours to HCM City via the company rose more than 20% in the five-month period. This year it logged a record high number of sea travellers (more than 8,500 people) from Europe, America and Australia.
Similarly, other major travel companies in the city, such as Hoa Sen and Asian Trails, report that foreign tourists’ arrivals have expanded steadily by 10-15% since early this year.
The HCM City Tourism Association (HTA) says China’s illegal placement of Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig in Vietnam’s territorial waters has resulted in a sharp decline in Chinese arrivals, but has had only an inconsequential effect on tourism as a whole.
Tourism is thriving, in spite of the East Sea turmoil created by China, and HCM City’s tourism sector is developing and surpassing the set plan.
HTA says the first five months saw nearly 1.8 million foreign visitors to HCM City, up 9.7% over the same period last year. Visitors are primarily coming from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and some European countries.
HTA Vice President Nguyen Thi Khanh said security is very important from the perspective of foreign travelers and the city has directed relevant agencies to strive to strengthen security for visitors and emphasise this factor in their promotion activities.
Tran Long, General Director of the Viet Media Travel Company mirrors Khanh’s views on the importance of security to foreign travelers and suggested the city use social networks to publicise the fact that the city is one of the safest and most secure travel destinations in the world, to the international community.
Bui Viet Thuy Tien, Director of Asian Trails, proposes that the government consider exempting visa requirements for visitors from potential markets, like Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, the UK, France, Spain, Brazil and India as an added incentive to promote tourism.
Currently, the City is initiating a stimulus programme under which 100 leading hotels will lower prices of tours in a bid to entice more visitors to the city.
Thua Thien-Hue welcomes over 1 million visitors in five months
The central province of Thua Thien Hue welcomed more than 1 million tourists in the first five months of this year, an increase of 13 percent from the same period last year.
Among the visitors, 423,000 were foreigners, 16.1 percent of them from Australia. Thai visitors accounted for 11.5 percent, while those from the US made up 9 percent.
It is notable that 26 cruise liners brought tourists to the province in the reviewed period, mostly from Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, the US, the UK, Canada and Australia.
Thua Thien-Hue is home to the World Heritage site of Hue ancient imperial city and one of world’s most beautiful bay, Lang Co.
In addition, destinations for spiritual tourism such as Truc Lam Zen Monastery and old pagodas also attract a large number of domestic holiday makers.
The province plans to organise more tourism promotion activities and offer more diverse tourist products in the future to attract more visitors.
Vacation choices entice students
Travel companies in HCM City have launched several special tours at affordable prices to meet the summer demand.
Lua Viet Tours, one of the city’s leading tour operators, is offering a dozen domestic tours and several others to Singapore, Malaysia, and Cambodia.
At VND5-7 million, tours to the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region and Phu Quoc and Con Dao are the most popular, especially among children in secondary school looking for new adventures with family and friends.
Young people also like tours to famous destinations in the north like Dien Bien Phu, Sa Pa, and Ha Long though they are more expensive, costing at least VND9 million.
Three- and four-day tours to famous southern attractions like Tri An Lake and Hon Rom in Phan Thiet, Chau Doc, and Soc Trang, priced at a cheaper VND3 million, are better suited for primary-school students and their parents.
“We have worked hard to offer summer tours for students,” Nguyen Van My, chairman of Lua Viet Tours, said.
“Our tour guides strictly follow rules to ensure safety and health of young customers.
“We prefer working with schools to create tours for their students.”
HCM City’s biggest companies, like Vietravel, Fiditourist, and Ben Thanh Tourist, hope to attract a large number of student tourists this season because of the increasing affluence.
Travel firms are focusing on tours to the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia since Vietnamese can travel there without a visa.
These tours, costing from $700 to $950, attract wealthier clients.
Despite a boom in domestic visitor numbers and steadily rising revenues every summer, travel operators have not focused on creating tours targeting a specific style, something that is in huge demand among students keen to explore the world.
Nguyen Mai Phuong, mother of a 17-year-old boy, said, her son and six of his friends are set to tour the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta by themselves next week.
“My children complain that tours to the Mekong offered by travel companies are short while they prefer longer trips.”
Van Thien Dung, a guide at Saigontourist and a veteran of the city tourism industry, said many parents complain that they find it difficult to find quality tours for children and teenagers.
“The number of tourist services for students during the summer holidays is still very low while the demand is growing.”
To augment the number of tours for students and improve their quality, Dung said travel companies needed to co-operate to offer more tours discovering the country’s historical events, festivals, landscapes, and lifestyles.
“Through the summer tours, students will understand and love their country.”