Travel firms want more money to promote tourism

The ViTravel firms want more money to promote tourismetnam National Administration of Tourism has requested the Ministry of Finance to advocate its plan to allocate a bigger budget for the activities of developing tourism products, building brands and for tourism promotion campaigns.

Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon has quoted Hoang Thi Diep, Deputy Head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), as saying that due to the lack of money, it is very difficult to implement the programs to advertise Vietnam’s tourism and its destinations.

In 2011, VNAT budgeted 35 billion dong to the activities of marketing the destination points. Meanwhile, the budget has been cut down to 30 billion dong for this year.

Diep said that strengthening tourism promotion activities is the thing that needs to be done now, in the context of the stiff competitions of destination points. Therefore, it is really questionable to see the budget for tourism promotion activities cut down.

Diep, when answering the questions of the press, affirmed that VNAT and travel firms lack money to fulfill the drawn plans, but did not say how much more VNTA wants more.

In the past, VNAT once asked to apply the mechanism under which one dollar collected from every traveler to Vietnam would be spent on tourism promotion activities in Vietnam and overseas.

If so, with 6 million foreign travelers received in 2011, the tourism sector would have six million dollars, or 120 billion dong to carry out promotion campaigns this year.

Analysts also think that Vietnam has spent little money on promotion activities. In 2011, Vietnam budgeted only 35 billion dong for tourism promotion activities, while the revenue from the industry reached 130 trillion dong, contributing 5 percent to the GDP.

However, the mechanism remains on the table of relevant ministries and it has yet come true.

Commenting about the sum of money, travel firms said with the limited spending on promotion activities, Vietnam would continue lagging behind regional countries in attracting travelers.

Thailand spent 130 million dollars in 2010 on tourism promotion activities, while it is considering raising the budget to 237 million dollars in 2012, hoping to attract 180 million travelers. In 2011, Thai tourism made up 10 percent of the country’s GDP.

Singapore reportedly spent 171 million dollars to popularize the image of the country to 10 million travelers. Malaysia spent 40 million dollars in 2011, attracting 25 million travelers.

It’s obvious that 1.5 million dollars is a too small sum of money. Despite all that, the sum of money would be divided to different agencies and travel firms. VNAT would enjoy 70 percent of the budget, while the International Cooperation Agency 20 percent. As such, the strength has been dispersed, while the money, in many cases, cannot come to the right addresses.

It happened that VNAT regularly has to move heaven and earth to arrange money to prepare for the trade fairs or big international tourism events, because it lacked money to organize supporting events on the sidelines of the events, such as press conferences.

According to VTV, in 2000-2010, the national action plan on promoting tourism was budgeted 250 billion dong.

In 2011, VNAT participated in six international trade fairs. The tourism administration is building up a thousand-page plan to attract more tourists from eight key markets by 2015, namely, South Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Japan, France. The thing that needs to be done now is turning the plan realistic.

According to VNAT, in the first eight months of 2012, Vietnam received 4.3 million foreign travelers, an increase of 10 percent over the same period of the last year. Travel firms served 23.2 million domestic travelers, a seven percent increase in comparison with the same period of the last year.

The turnover from the tourism industry increased by 15 percent to 98 trillion dong.

1 US$ = 21,000 VND.