|Illustrative photo: Spendor Vietnam
Vietnam is unlikely to achieve the target of welcoming 20 million foreign arrivals in 2020 if hindrances on promotion budget and workforce qualification are not removed.
Vice-Head of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Ha Van Sieu acknowledged that budget constraint is one of the most significant hurdles for Vietnam's tourism sector to expand promotional activities.
So far, only US$2 million has been earmarked for promotional activities, an almost insignificant amount if compared to US$86 million of Thailand, US$130 million of Malaysia and US$100 million of Singapore.
Overall, Vietnam has not adopted a long term tourism promotion strategy, and promotional activities of central and local levels, of the tourism industry itself with other industries have not been harmonious.
As of 2019, Vietnam has established only one overseas tourism promotion office in the Republic of Korea, while Thailand has 28, Malaysia and Singapore have 35 and 23 respectively.
According to a representative of VNAT, studying the foreign markets is the first and foremost mission to promote the country’s tourism. Thus, setting up representative offices in other markets is essential.
In 2018, the government approved to establish a public tourism development fund with an initial annual budget of US$4.3 million. The fund’s revenue is sourced from the collection of visa fees (10%), entrance fees (5%) and private sector contribution.
A representative of Hitravel, a tour operator, stressed that besides the sizable budget, the success of tourism promotion depends on the qualifications the human resource, tourist products and market orientation.
Thereby, besides increasing the budget for promotion, Vietnam should concurrently mobilize private resources and establish short term and long term operating mode so as for the promotion activities to become effective.