VN tourism needs a competitive edge: expert

Thursday, Dec 01, 2016 11:52

Tourists on the Truong Tien Bridge, a popular tourism site in Hue City. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Viet

Breakthroughs are needed in terms of policies and mechanisms to make Việt Nam’s tourism industry competitive in ASEAN, an expert from the Institute for Tourism Development Research has said.

A lack of comprehensive development strategies has made Việt Nam a less competitive travel destination and lag behind other ASEAN member countries, Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, director of the Institute for Tourism Development Research, said.

The tourism sector does not get adequate investment to fully tap its potential or enhance its competitiveness globally or in the region, Tuấn told a seminar held in HCM City yesterday to review the country’s tourism industry.

Inappropriate investment in market research, marketing strategies and activities to promote destinations have caused Việt Nam to lose its competitiveness in foreign markets, he said.

The country has seen an increase in international arrivals partly due to its low prices and natural and cultural attractions, he added.

A recent survey by the institute found that tourists travel to Việt Nam to explore its rich culture and history.

While its friendly people, natural landscapes and unique cuisine are other factors that attract tourists, poor food safety and hygiene and poor sanitation keep them away, the survey found.

Poor tourism products and entertainment activities are other factors that hinder tourism development.

Việt Nam ranked 75th out of 142 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.

Việt Nam has rich cultural resources (33rd), natural resources (40th) and world heritage natural sites (27th) and cultural sites (44th).

It remains a price-competitive destination (22nd) while its safety and security situation is stable (75th).

The country lags behind in environmental sustainability (132nd), prioritisation of travel and tourism (119th), tourist service infrastructure (105th), international openness (89th), ICT readiness (97th) and health and hygiene (83rd).

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report ranks 141 countries based on 14 criteria: business environment, safety and security, health and hygiene, human resources and labour market, ICT readiness, prioritisation of travel and tourism, international openness, price competitiveness, environmental sustainability, air transport, infrastructure, ground and port infrastructure, tourist service infrastructure, natural resources, and cultural resources and business travel.

The number of foreign visitors to Việt Nam soared 25.4 per cent year-on-year to nine million in the first 11 months of this year.

It had set a full-year target of 8.5 million.

The tourism sector accounted for 6.6 per cent of gross domestic products last year. — VNS

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