Viet Nam’s tourism sees brighter future
Holding onto the theme "Heritage Tourism" this year, Viet Nam's tourism industry is expected to experience an increase in tourist arrivals as well as a strong competition with other countries in the region, General Director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Van Tuan has said.
The industry expects to welcome 6.5 million international tourists and 32 million local visitors in 2012, for an estimated turnover of VND 150 trillion (US $7.1 billion), the VNAT said.
The figure would help the industry realize targets of receiving 10-15 million foreign tourists and 47-48 million domestic tourists and obtaining total revenues of about US $18-19 billion, contributing from 6.5 – 7% of GDP by 2020.
The industry has set to continue to promote growth and sustainable development with an average yearly growth of 11.5-12% between 2011 and 2020.
Viet Nam welcomed about 681,850 foreign visitors in February, up 8.2% from January, bringing the total number of international tourists in the first two months to more than 1.31 million, a year-on-year increase of 27.1%.
Recent VNAT statistics show that air travelers to Viet Nam in the first two months of this year accounted for 87% of all arrivals and rose 31% compared to 2011. Sea arrivals increased by 42% and arrivals by road, 17%.
With such impressive results, the tourism sector has greatly contributed to the national economy, despite current difficulties.
Economists say the global tourism industry will face many difficulties in 2012, and the local tourism sector is no exception.
However, VNAT General Director Nguyen Van Tuan affirms that Viet Nam tourism will enjoy fruitful development as more and more tourists add Viet Nam to their must-see list.
According to a report “Tourism Viet Nam Industry Forecast to 2012”, the tourism sector of Việt Nam is projected to post a double-digit growth rate in near future, owing to a rise in the private sector’s investment. As the country attracts tourists from all over the world, majority of private players have started investing in the country’s hospitality sector.
The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism is said to help boost the country’s tourism market over the forecast period (2010-2013).
Viet Nam's travel sector was ranked 14th in the region last year and 80th overall, up nine places since the last assessment in 2009, according to the recent Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2011 from the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Viet Nam's higher position can be attributed to its rich cultural resources (ranked 36th), with several World Heritage cultural sites, international fairs and exhibitions, and its strong creative industries.
Another attraction is natural resources, which placed Viet Nam on the 24th position in terms of its World Heritage natural sites and diverse fauna. These attributes are reinforced by the country's price competitiveness (16th), the report stated.
In 2011, Viet Nam’s Hạ Long Bay has been voted one of the World’s Seven New Natural Wonders. Mr. Tuan says this will open up huge opportunity to boost the country’s tourism development. While many countries are experiencing political instability and natural disasters, Viet Nam is emerging as an attractive and safe destination, he adds.