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Financial crisis cuts into tourism targets   2008-10-31 - Viet Nam News

Even though the peak tourism season is in full swing, the number of foreign tourists to Viet Nam has not increased, according to statistics by the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Tourists visit Bat Trang pottery village in Gia Lam District, Ha Noi. The country will likely miss its target for tourism this year.

Statistics show that the number of foreign tourists coming to Viet Nam from June to August decreased 15 per cent from the same period last year.

The trend continued in September, with only 315,000 overseas visitors in the country, 50,000 less than September 2007.

Most of the foreign tourists to Viet Nam in September came from China, Russia and Germany.

According to reports from several five-star hotels in HCM City and Ha Noi, not as many foreigners spent part of their summer holidays (from June to September) in Viet Nam as last year.

One director of a tourism company, who asked not to be named, said his hotel saw a 50 per cent drop in reservations from overseas travellers, even though booking a room there is now easier than in past years.

Experts blame the plummeting figures on the global financial crisis.

Moreover, climbing prices for tours to Viet Nam many also be behind the decrease of foreign tourists.

While tours to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore only increased 5 to 10 per cent, tour prices to Viet Nam jumped 15 to 30 per cent because of the skyrocketing cost of air tickets and hotel rooms in the country.

Moreover, a lack of advertising for Vietnamese tourism and services at tourist sites are also likely responsible for fewer international travellers.

According to Le Dinh Tuan from the Tan Hong Tourism Company, the tourism industry should replace media advertising methods with hosting various events to attract overseas tourists.

Vu The Binh, head of the VNAT’s Travel Department, said that tourism management agencies needed to established a direct relationship with overseas partners to publicise tourism in Viet Nam.

"However, tourism companies should not ignore the State’s role in establishing relationship with foreign partners," he said.

Some experts believe that tourism to Viet Nam could see a boost in the remaining months of the year thanks to the number of business people attending meetings, incentives, conferences and events, also known as MICE in the tourism industry.

The strong development of the local export and processing industry could create an attractive market for overseas enterprises, especially from Nigeria and Italy, and bring in more guests.

Many Nigerians have recently come to Viet Nam for business. Over 200 Italian business people are expected in the country at the beginning of November.



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