|Tourism officials from Vietnam and India attend a tourism promotion event in HCM City on April 20. "Visit Incredible India in 2019" invited Vietnamese to experience Indian culture, cuisine, nature, and religious places. — VNS Photo Thu Hang
The event, titled ’Visit Incredible India in 2019’, invited Vietnamese to experience Indian culture, cuisine, bountiful nature, and religious places.
K Srikar Reddy, the Indian consul general in the city, said: “Leaders of both countries have focused on strong tourism co-operation and people-to-people relations as a key element of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”
India’s Minister for Tourism K. J. Alphons attended the Seventh Meeting of Tourism Ministers of ASEAN and India held in Ha Long City this January.
At the meeting, the ministers designated 2019 as the ASEAN-India Tourism Co-operation Year, and looked forward to enhancing co-operation with a view to increasing two-way tourism and promoting greater people-to-people exchanges between ASEAN and India.
Last year more than 31,400 Vietnamese visited India, a 32 per cent rise from 2017.
Though the number of visitors for tourism purpose between both countries has seen considerable increase in recent years, it is still well below potential, Consul General Reddy said.
More than 23.9 million Indian tourists travelled abroad in 2017 and around two million visited ASEAN member countries.
According to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), there will be 50 million outbound Indian tourists by 2020.
An Euromonitor report put the number of Vietnamese travelling abroad at 7.5 million in 2017.
This significant number of outbound tourists from both India and Việt Nam is an indicator of the untapped market, he added.
Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, deputy director of the HCM City Tourism Department, said India was the 11th largest tourism source market for the city.
Last year some 103,000 came, an 80 per cent increase from 2017 and accounting for 50 per cent of all Indian visitors to Vietnam.
India is one of the favourite destinations for Vietnamese going on pilgrimage and medical tours.
Sudeshna Ramkumar, assistant director, Indian Tourism Office in Singapore, said India’s Buddhist heritage is of great interest to followers of Buddhism all over the world.
India is also the land of yoga and ayurveda and a sought-after destination for wellness and healthcare travel, she said.
Vietnamese tourists are increasingly using the e-visa facility to travel to India, and this would ensure the momentum is sustained, she added.