Visa exemption for residents from five key European markets has been considered as a lever but insufficient to create a breakthrough for the tourism industry without diversified and good tourist products.
|Foreigners do sightseeing by cyclos in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)|
Mr. Vu The Binh, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said that the visa exemption showed Vietnam’s strongly international integration and contributed in boosting tourism development towards a key economic industry of Vietnam.
The Western Europe has been a traditional tourist market of Vietnam for recent years. Annually, the country attracted an average of 700,000 visitors from Italia, Spain, Germany, the UK and France, who also received about 150,000 Vietnamese.
However the above number of visitors did not match with economic and political relations between Vietnam and the region.
Right after the visa exemption policy took effect on July 1, a tourist demand stimulation program has been implemented for visitors from these markets and attended by many local businesses.
The program has provided new tourist products at a 20-30 percent discount, including an Indochina tour across Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
It is expected to intercept an ongoing reduction momentum in the number of western Europeans to Vietnam, targeting 10 percent growth rate in the first half next year and 20 percent for the second half.
The tourism industry has also laid down a goal to attract 1.1 million visitors from the Western Europe, up 50 percent over 2015, in the phase 2016-2018.
The visa exemption has opened a big door for foreign visitors to Vietnam but there is a shortage of good and high-quality tourist products to make tourists stay longer or return in the future.
Freshness and difference were among prerequisite conditions for a tourist destination to lure visitors, said director general of Vietravel Company Nguyen Quoc Ky.
Although Vietnam has many cultural and natural attractions and potentials to develop tourism, most tourist operators and provinces have yet to create appropriate tourist products to draw tourists, he said.
The country has many original landscapes such as Son Doong cave, Ha Long bay, Dong Van stone plateau, mountain fields in the northwest and others in the Central Highlands..., said Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh.
Authorized agencies, experts and businesses should study how to make these advantages become different and ranking tourist products to increase the attractiveness of the tourism industry, he added.