Reporters from different foreign news agencies have freshly concluded a fact-finding tour of major tourist attractions in Vietnam, and they were all impressed by the amazingly beautiful landscape and hospitality of local people.
Safe and attractive destinations
Reporters from news agencies of the US, France, Russia, the Republic of Korea, India, Taiwan, and Indonesia travelled the length and breadth of Vietnam from July 9-17 under a field trip sponsored by the Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism.
They had the chance to admire Vietnam's natural beauty, understand its culture, and sample distinctive dishes representing the country's three regions.
After touring Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in the north, Lee Kye Jin, a reporter of the RoK-based Asian Economics Journal, understood why capital Hanoi has been selected as one of top ten must-see travel destinations in 2014 by Trip Advisor, and Ha Long Bay has been viewed in the top four most beautiful sites in the world by Mymodernmet.com (the US).
Together with Lee, other reporters selected UNESCO-recognised Hoi An city in central Vietnam as the safest and most environmentally friendliest destination for foreign tourists.
Nikulina Elena, a Voice of Russia reporter, said she has visited Vietnam for several times, but this was her first trip to Hoi An where she was very impressed by local people's hospitality.
She revealed a plan to return to this World Heritage site again one day to admire age-old gardens and romantic rivers, and buy souvenirs at reasonable prices, or get an Ao dai (traditional long dress) tailored by local people.
Visiting the Ponagar Tower complex in Nha Trang and the Cham ethnic museum in Danang, Luck Maurice Citrinot from France-based Travel Daily News Asia concluded that Vietnam is well on course to build a safe and hospitable destination for visitors.
Reporters have made a number of recommendations to help Vietnam lure more foreign holiday-makers and develop tourism sustainably in the future.
Luck said Vietnam should erect more signposts and notice boards, detailing directions and key facts and figures of the relic in common foreign languages like English and French.
European visitors prefer to return to historical sites and those with ancient architecture, so Vietnam should pay more interest in these relics, incorporating them into tours, he suggested.
Evanheline Elizabeth Griego from the About Time Productions, USA, said she loves Vietnam because of its long history, diverse, rich culture, beautiful landscape, and friendly people. However, the environment in tourist sites has not received due attention, tarnishing Vietnam's image in the eyes of foreign visitors.
For Voice of Russia reporter Elena, Russian people, especially youth, like the travel experience ecosystem model (TEEM) which has not burgeoned in Vietnam yet. To attract more Russian visitors and those from Europe, she said Vietnam should increase investment in marketing this model, through carrying out field trips for press and travel agents for example.
Lindsay Deborah Mofford from About Time Production, USA, said she wants to visit Vietnam to discover its indigenous culture which is different from other cultures. She hailed HCM City's 'Saigon – 100 amazing things' programme that has made the city stand out from others.
The staging of the special art show “A, o”, a combination of traditional and contemporary art forms, and other art performances help attract foreign visitors to the city all the year round.
On tourism promotion, all reporters agreed that Vietnam should view foreign countries as potential markets for tourism marketing strategies. However, each market has its own taste and Vietnam needs to study them well to adopt a proper approach.
Vietnam received 7.57 million foreign visitors last year and earned VND200 trillion in revenue. In the first six months of this year, it welcomed more than 4.28 million foreign visitors and fetched VND125 trillion, up 21% in number and 22% in revenue compared to the same period in 2013.The country has recently launched its “Exciting Vietnam” Programme, aiming to promote Vietnam as a safe, hospitable and attractive destination.
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