Government holds conference in bid to bolster tourism sector

Tuesday, 2016-08-09 19:27:11
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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visits the ancient town of Hoi An.
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NDO - The government on August 9 held a conference in the ancient town of Hoi An, a UNESCO heritage site, to seek measures aimed at making tourism a more important economic sector.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said much of the discussions would not be about achievements but shortcomings and solutions to address tourists complaints so that the tourism sector may become more productive.

He said that Hoi An was chosen to hold the conference as the city is a good example of how tourism is well managed and has drawn extensive participation of enterprises and local residents.

Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue said Vietnam’s tourism sector faced the risk of lagging behind regional countries and urged a total change in mind-set in which tourism should be considered part of the services sector.

According to the deputy PM, more than two-thirds of first-time travellers to Vietnam would never come back, proven by Vietnam’s tourism growth which is much lower than its Southeast Asian peers, growing at 7% a year on average over the past five years compared with Thailand’s 12%, Laos’s 15% and Myanmar’s 51%.

He highlighted a number of problems are discouraging tourists from returning to Vietnam such as theft, pickpocketing, traffic, food safety, environmental pollution and lack of hospitality.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, in 2015 the sector contributed 6.6% of gross domestic products and generated revenues of US$8.5 billion but its performance still fell short of expectations and potential.

Deputy PM Hue noted that tourism must grow by at least 10% to become a key economic sector, therefore, the sector will require radical restructuring.

After the conference, a plan aimed at making tourism a key economic sector will be finalised and submitted to the Politburo in October.