Govt to launch smart tourism campaign

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Việt Nam’s tourism sector should apply the latest technology to develop, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam told the Travel & Tourism Summit in Hà Nội on Thursday.

“The question is with limited capital, how can we promote tourism widely,” he said. “Other countries have hundreds of millions of dollars for PR campaigns, but Việt Nam has only a few million dollars for this purpose, so we need to work out hot to use this budget effectively.

“Technology may be the solution to the problem, and the Government is planning to launch a smart tourism campaign,” he said.

The leader explained that today most modern travellers use travel apps on smartphones.

Tourism is a hot area and involves various sectors and individuals at all levels, he said.

“As the director of the National Tourism Directing Board, I realise that the growth of the tourism sector is fast in comparison with the global average.

“Maintaining this rate of growth is already difficult,” he said. “The growth speed will result in problems that cannot be solved by a single sector, such as the overloaded aviation sector.”

Tourism development required proper co-operation between the Government and enterprises; central level agencies and localities; enterprises, the State and each and every citizen, he said.

The yesterday’s summit also heard 20 speakers from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Tourism Advisory Board, Private Economy Development Research Board, tourism experts and international investors.

John Lindquist, a high-ranking consultant from the UK’s BCG, opened his speech by questioning how to push Việt Nam’s tourism to another level after its quick development.

“Việt Nam should create a trademark and advertise the trademark to potential customers,” he said. “In order to create trademark, we need budget and proper policies.”

He took Japan as an example. Since 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been focusing on tourism as a key sector to develop. In the past decade, Japan has formed various policies like increasing the productivity of airports, easing visa restrictions and increasing the budget for tourism.

“I think Việt Nam can follow this step,” he said.

If Việt Nam exempts visas for tourists from the UK and Italy, the total number of tourists may increase 20 per cent, he said.

Craig Douglas, vice chairman of Lodgis Hospitality Group, shared his concerns on solutions to draw foreign investment to Việt Nam’s tourism sector.

“Recently, there have been tours combining workshops abd sport games to various destinations in Việt Nam which have attracted foreign investors,” he said.

He suggested improving services, developing advertising policies to draw long-term tourism investment sources and ignoring short-term options.

He said Việt Nam should push policies concerning investments in resort properties.

Douglas stressed that Việt Nam should concentrate on developing sustainable tourism; otherwise, the number of visitors returning to the country would remain low.

“One friend of mine has spent their vacations in Phuket for the past 18 years,” he said.

Wendy Wu, founder of Wendy Wu Tours, proposed three solutions for Việt Nam, one of which is that the Government should facilitate enterprises and support them with more legal policies.

Loosening visa policies like exemptions for tourists from the UK, Australia and New Zealand would also push the number of tourists up by 25 per cent, she said.

“Việt Nam should have a strong, regular social and digital media presence,” said Brent Hill, Executive Director of Marketing, South Australian Tourism Commission.

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