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Vietnam Open Tour News & Events

SUNDAY 09 OCTOBER, 2011 | RSS Feed

Tourism growth in Vietnam depends on better infrastructure

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Growth of tourism in the country depends on adequate and appropriate infrastructure, which serves the needs of tourists and encourages further investment by enterprises in the competitive tourism industry.

The government had tried to help the tourism industry to mobilize investment capital for infrastructure with its strategic promotional program “Vietnam tourism development, 2001-2010” that eventually attracted investments for 316 projects.
However, progress on many of these projects has either stalled or stopped and in many cases the construction progress is moving at a snails pace. Most of the projects face difficulties such as lack of capital and lack of synchronization and coordination between investors and local authorities.

Saigon Tourist, Vietnam's leading tourism company, currently runs 70 hotels and resorts nationwide. The travel corporation has implemented many projects, such as the four-star Sai Gon-Vinh Long hotel with a capital investment of VND157 billion, the four-star Sai Gon- Rach Gia hotel at VND177 billion and the five-star Sai Gon-Phu Quoc tourist complex worth US$85 million.

However, any investment by tourism companies in hotels and resorts will not yield the desired profits if local authorities do not pay attention to the basic infrastructure such as electricity, water and road transport, said Mr. Tran Hung Viet, general director of Saigon Tourist.

Recently the Ministry of Transport approved the construction of an airport project at a total investment cost of VND3.4 trillion in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang.

Neighboring provinces and cities are also calling on investors to build regional airports or expand and upgrade existing domestic airports to international status, even without any specific requirement.

The demand for airports by the Mekong Delta provinces and cities is not even rational, added Mr. Viet.

Economic experts say that local authorities will suffer huge losses if airports only fly one or two planes per day. Provinces need to spend more on excellent roadways and river traffic to make travel faster and more comfortable for tourists.  

In addition, the government should encourage local authorities to join hands with each other to link traffic infrastructure across provinces to develop effective means to transport tourists and create favorable conditions for potential investors.


Hotel management still can bring fat profit, despite economic difficulties

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VietNamNet Bridge – The hotel management market remains bustling, despite the shadow of the global economic crisis. Hotels’ owners now have many more choices, because there are more service providers who have been lowering fees to become more competitive.

Gearing up

In the last few years, the number of international hotel management groups making debut in the Vietnamese market proves to be modest. However, the groups, which have been operational in Vietnam for many years, such as Starwood, Global Hyatt, Accor or IHG, are gearing up with their business plans in Vietnam, bringing more brands to the market.

Accor, believed to be the hotel management group which has the higher number of clients in Vietnam, has revealed that the group plans to increase the number of hotel rooms bearing Novotel brand in the next two years. There are about 500 hotel rooms bearing Novotel brand in Ha Long, ,Nha Trang and Phan Thiet, while more will appear in Da Nang, Phu Quoc Island and Hanoi.

The group has 11 hotels bearing well known brands such as Novotel, Mercure, MGallery and Sofitel with 2000 rooms in total.

Meanwhile, IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) has created good fame with InterContinental, Crowne Plaza brands in Hanoi and HCM City. It has brought Crown Plaza to Da Nang City in the central region and developed Holiday Inn as well.

Starwood Hotels & Resort Worldwide, after having Sheraton brand hotels in HCM City, Nha Trang and Hanoi, has decided to bring Le Meridien and Westin to the market.

Other foreign groups such as BestWestern and Zinc Vision have also contacted hotel owners to discuss new business plans. Most recently, Furama Hotels & Resorts has revealed that it will manage one more resort with Furama brand in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

The market segment that the groups are most interested in are still 3-5-star hotels, which now account for 20 percent of the total hotel rooms which are believed to see high growth in the time to come.

According to the Hotel Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the number of accommodations for tourists has increased by four folds over the last 10 years. In 2000, there were 3200 accommodations with 72,000 rooms, while the figures rose to 12,500 and 230,000, respectively in 2010. Meanwhile, more and more accommodation projects are being implemented in the big tourism centers of the country.

“The market is still developing well which is really attractive to hotel management groups. The joining of more hotel management groups into the market will help improve the quality of Vietnamese accommodation system for tourists,” said Le Mai Khanh, Deputy Director of the Hotel Department.

Hotel investors get benefits

The presence of more foreign and domestic hotel management groups has made the market more bustling, while hotels’ owners have more choices.

Hotel management groups nowadays not only undertake the job of management, but also make capital contribution to develop hotel projects.

“We not only can manage hotels but can contribute capital to the projects,” said Kevin J Beauvais, CEO of Zinc Vision. The new comer in the market hopes he can develop three out of the 7 brands of the group in Vietnam.

Some hotel investors have noted that the appearance of more hotel management groups has made the management fee decrease.

KL, who is in charge of seeking foreign managers for her company’s 4-star hotel, which is now under the construction in Laos, said that it is now easier to negotiate and sign contracts with management groups. She has revealed that her company is going to sign a contract with a management company which accepts to pay a lot of types of expenses.

“The basic fees are okay. Previously, they always required very high fees, but now they accept lower fees. Of course foreign management groups do not offer the fees as low as that offered by domestic companies, and show less enthusiasm,” she said, adding that her company still has decided to choose a foreign group because it wants an experienced manager.

Source: TBKTSG

Local tour operators shun travel insurance

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Many foreign insurers enter Vietnam, helping diversify the country’s insurance product range and improve the competitiveness between insurers, according to the market consultancy Research and Markets.  

However, travel insurance remains underdeveloped, the firm says.

The Vietnam Tourism Law put an onus on travel agencies to buy insurance for local customers.

Yet, figures from the Association of Vietnamese Insurers show 95 percent of around 22.5 million foreign and local tourists were not offered travel insurance last year.

Vietnam has vowed to crack down on tour boat safety after foreign visitors had a lucky escape from their sinking vessel, in an eerie echo of a fatal accident earlier this year.

There were no injuries in the incident, which involved 28 French tourists in May at the popular attraction of Ha Long Bay.

Analysts say just a few tourism enterprises in HCMC notices the important role of travel insurance, while the rest offer the insurance to foreign customers only.

Thus, they struggle with a large amount of travelers, leaving their market share being captured by foreign-owned rivals.

Many foreign travelers say that they favor foreign-owned tour operators in Vietnam over local ones as the formers always offer travel insurance.

“The travel insurance is a passport, which can ensure travelers’ safety,” Sara Hub, a Netherlands businesswoman, told Dau Tu Tai Chinh Newspaper.

“Not all travel agencies in Vietnam can offer that, so I opt for foreign operators.”

Travel insurance cost of local tours is very low, amounting to only VND1,500 per day for locals and US$1.5 per day for foreigners.

Despite the low cost, most Vietnamese tour operators still try to shun it.

A director of a travel agency in Ho Chi Minh City, who asks not to be named, says most customers opt for low-cost tours during the current difficult period.

Therefore, travel agencies try to reduce costs as much as possible.

There are four main kinds of travel insurance in Vietnam, including insurance for local tours, one for Vietnamese tourists traveling to foreign countries, one for foreigners visiting Vietnam and one for foreigners living in Vietnam, who want to travel to foreign countries.

Source: SGGP

HCM City plans culinary walk through France

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Balade en France, the largest French food-related event in Viet Nam, will take place in HCM City on October 21-22.

Balade en France is a culinary and gustatory walk through seven French regions: Brittany, Alsace, Loire, Rhone, Provence, Languedoc and Bordeaux.

French Consul-General in HCM City Fabrice Mauries said at a press conference on Thursday that all of the food items would be brought together in one place to offer visitors the chance to taste, learn, enjoy and discover.

Fabrice said the fair would expose French food and beverage products to the Vietnamese people.

After last year, success with more than 1,600 visitors, Balade en France returns with bigger and more exciting festival evenings at Equatorial Hotel, with food, wine, games, dance, lucky draw, animations and fun, according to Michael Gapin, the hotel's food and beverage manager.

Visitors will have a chance to dance to the rhythm of the Bigot Swing, a French band coming for the occasion, platy petanque, and try their luck at lucky draws. Animations for the children will be part of the excitement.

Tickets are pre-purchase until October 18 at VND490,000 (VND540,000 the day of the event) at partner shops: Equatorial Hotel, The Warehouse, Daloc, Le Tonneau, Bacchus Cornner, Red Apron, Les Trois Gourmands, la Taverne, Le Caprice, La Reunion des Marmites, Nippon Gold Pig JSC, Fanny, Annam Gourmet, Classic Fine Foods and Fanny.

A ticket allows seven glasses of wine and dishes from the seven regional booths, with an additional ice cream serving and coffee.

All the funds will be donated to the non-profit organisation Poussieres de Vie (Dust of Life), whose aim is to help street children in the city.


Hoi An to offer free Wi-Fi around town

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Tourists visiting Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage town, will be able to surf the internet for free from the end of this year, according to the Quang Nam Province Department of Information and Communications.

Ho Quang Buu, the department director, said together with the Vietnam Data Communications Area 3 and Quang Nam Telecom it had drafted a plan for setting up a Wi-Fi system.

It will cost around VND23 billion (US$1.1 million), which will be provided by private sources.

Businesses investing in Hoi An were willing to put up the money, Buu said.

There will be 350 hotspots in areas where large numbers of people gather.

In 1999 UNESCO declared Hoi An a world heritage site for being a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port in the 15th to 19th centuries and having buildings with a unique blend of local and foreign influences.

It is a popular tourist site, attracting large numbers of both locals and foreigners.

Source: Tuoitre

Rich Phu Yen culture beckons

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VietNamNet Bridge – The south central province of Phu Yen is well-known for its undulating coastline and majestic seascapes. It's also associated with its picturesque lighthouses and been in the headlines following the discovery of ancient stone xylophones made by Stone Age people thousands of years ago.


Fruitful welcome: This pagoda, built in 1797, was better known under the name Da Trang because of its location in an area that features a lot of

Those who decide to visit the province should devote a day to exploring Tuy An District, about 35km away to Tuy Hoa City – the provincial capital.

A visit to the district allows you to explore the richness of the local culture while also getting some interesting insights into Viet Nam's history as well.

Mang Lang Church is a famed destination for Catholic pilgrims rather than a tourist attraction but, its location, on the way to the nearby Da Dia Cliffs, makes it easy to visit.

The church was built in An Thach Commune, Tuy An District in 1892 by French priest Joseph de La Cassagne. It gets its name from the surrounding mang lang trees, which have oval leaves and purple and pink blossoms. There is still an old table made from mang lang wood in the church, a fixture that has been here since the church opened. The Gothic style church, which is the oldest church in the province, is situated on grounds that cover 5,000sq.m. A cross is positioned in the middle of two steeples. The building, originally painted white, has turned a dark grey with the passage of time.

Catholic visitors may be interesting in checking out documents kept at the church about the life of Saint Andrew Phu Yen. His statue stands solemnly on a small hill in the church yard. In addition, there is a small chamber which was built inside an artificial hill. The basement is filled with sculptures inspired by the life of the Saint.

"The Blessed Andrew Phu Yen is a great source of honour for our Qui Nhon Diocese and Mang Lang Parish," said local priest Pham Canh Hien.

"In early the 17th century, one of the Jesuit missionaries to visit our ancestors was Alexandre de Rhodes, and it was he who educated and baptised Andrew Phu Yen. Afterwards Andrew Phu Yen was privileged to receive his martyrdom on July 26, 1644, becoming the First Witness of the Vietnamese Church."

Through the faithful example and prayers of Saint Andrew, Mang Lang Village became the cradle of the Catholic missionary movement in Phu Yen Province and continues to be a destination for pilgrims and the site of Catholic youth festivals.


Pilgrimage site: The 5,000sq.m Mang Lang church was built and decorated in the Gothic architectural style. — File Photos

Visitors can view relics related to the history of the church, including the first book of Christianity in Eight Days, an early example of a book written in Vietnamese romanised script. It was printed in 1651 in Rome, Italy. The book was written by de Rhodes (1593-1660), a French Jesuit missionary and lexicographer.

De Rhodes, also known as Father Dac Lo, was among the first Western missionaries who created the script, basing it on the Roman alphabet while adding nine accent marks or diacritics – four of them to create additional sounds, and the other five to indicate tone. The many diacritics, often two on the same letter, make written Vietnamese easily recognisable.

It's about 10km from Mang Lang Church to Tu Quang Pagoda in An Dan Commune in the same district. The pagoda, built in 1797, is better known as the Da Trang (White Stone) Pagoda, as it is located in an area rich with white marble.

Xuan Dai Mountain lies behind the pagoda, and the Ngan Son and Phu My rivers are also situated nearby.

Da Trang Pagoda is famous for its group of ‘grave towers' or stupas. Every year, on the tenth day of lunar January, local people hold a festival to commemorate monks and heroes who contributed to the nation, including Tran Cao Van and Vo Tru.

The two national heroes joined the uprising led by Le Thanh Phuong (1825-87), a leader of the Can Vuong (Aid the King) Movement in Phu Yen Province.

The movement was a large-scale Vietnamese insurgency between 1885 and 1887 to expel the French colonialist in support of the boy emperor Ham Nghi, the eighth emperor of the Nguyen dynasty who was only on the throne for a year (1884-85) as the leader of an independent Viet Nam.

Today the pagoda is a great place to visit during the spring and summer, when the mangoes in the pagoda's orchard are ripening. The mangoes have long been known for their delicious taste and pleasant scent. The fruit is considered a typical speciality of the land and used to be offered to kings and members of the royal family.

The next stop is An Tho Citadel in the same commune. It was the provincial capital of Phu Yen from 1836-99.

The citadel is only 400m from the Phu Ngan River to the south and about 150m from the Vet River, and facilitating easy access to the sea when travelling by boat.

An Tho Citadel was recognised by the Ministry of Culture as a National Historic Heritage in 2007 and VND12,5 billion was invested for preservation and restoration work.

The project was completed in time for Phu Yen's 400th Anniversary and the opening ceremony for National Tourism Year in the Central South Coastal Provinces and Phu Yen 2011.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News


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Firms offer flood experience tours

Travel firms in the Mekong province of An Giang are offering tours for visitors to experience the flood season between late July and mid-October.

"Though An Giang has entered its major flooding season, we go ahead with our tours," said Nguyen Phu Phuc, deputy director of An Giang Tourimex's tourism centre.

"Vinh Te Canal, Tra Su cajeput forest, and Chau Doc town are safe places for tourists."

At Vinh Te and Tra Su, visitors can catch fish and experience the lifestyle of locals during the annual floods.

In An Giang, the flood season is expected to last until November 20 this year.

Nha Trang to welcome charter flights

Chartered flights will bring large numbers of Russian and Malaysian tourists visiting Nha Trang to nearby Cam Ranh Airport in the upcoming months.

According to the Khanh Hoa Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, monthly chartered flights will bring Russian tourists between November and March next year. Also in November, chartered flights will bring tourists from Malaysia's Malacca State.

Under a contract signed by local travel agency Anh Duong Co and the Moscow-based Turkish Pegas Touristik Co, there will be a daily flight carrying some 180 Russian visitors to Cam Ranh.

Farmers turn to music by night

Visitors to Then, a small village in the northern province of Bac Giang, some 90km from Ha Noi, can see its residents working very hard in the fields in the morning before turning into high-calibre musicians and artists after sunset.

The village has just 200 families but more than 100 violins. An orchestra plays during Tet (Lunar New Year) and all other festivals the villagers celebrate.

Nguyen Huu Dua, a 76-year-old farmer who has spent nearly 50 years playing the violin, says a group of 10 trail-blazing violinists founded the village orchestra in 1955.

Many Then villagers went to the American War to entertain Vietnamese soldiers with their musical skills during fierce battles in the central region. After the war, they returned to the village and caused a violin craze.

Nguyen Quang Khoa, head of the orchestra, says the violinists not only play foreign classical music but also traditional Vietnamese music like cheo (traditional operetta) and quan ho (love duets), and even foreign pop. The group gathers twice a week to practice.

Malaysia ship to make regular visits

Chan May Port in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue will welcome 30,000 cruise tourists who will come aboard the Malaysia-flagged Star Cruises on its 25 weekly visits from next month through March 2012.

The five-star vessel will mostly bring passengers from China coming with laissez-passer.

During the period Da Nang and Quang Ninh will also be on Star Cruises' itinerary as it arrives from Hainan Island in China.

Chan May is expected to welcome another 10 to 15 international cruise vessels with 350-400 visitors each under an arrangement with Tan Hong Tourism Co.

SMS campaign promotes Ha Long

The Ministry of Information and Communications has launched a campaign to vote for Ha Long Bay in the New7Wonders of Nature contest by text messaging.

To vote for it, one has to type Halong and send to 147. It costs VND630.

New7Wonders of Nature is an initiative started in 2007 to create a list of seven natural wonders chosen by people through a global poll.

More than 440 "wonders" in over 220 countries and territories have been whittled down to 28 finalists. Voting will continue until next month, with the seven new wonders of nature being announced on November 11.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Hanoi tourism ‘transit based'

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Hanoi has been urged to improve the number and quality of its tourism products and services to attract more visitors, despite being named one of the 10 best destinations in Asia by Smart Travel Asia magazine.

They pointed to lack of planning, poor night-time entertainment, unfriendly behaviour by some businesses and individuals and failure to make the best of its relics and localities.

Vu The Binh, chairman of the Viet Nam Travelling Association, said the number of historical relics and famous landscapes for tourism activities was too small.

The city has 5,000 historical relics and notable locations but only 2,104 were popular with sightseers.

Viet Nam Tourism Research and Development Institute deputy director Pham Trung Luong said Ha Noi didn't have a specific direction for its tourism industry so it had become just a transit destination.

Vietravel Tourism Company's communications head Nguyen Minh Man said the city had great lifestyle and historical values but had poor tourism services, especially night-time entertainment.

Municipal authorities needed to plan entertainment and improve services management, Man said.

Additionally, they should improve the behaviour of people and businesses dealing with tourists.

Ha Noi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism deputy director Mai Tien Dung said the top-ten award was the result of good promotion.

However, if the city was to become a destination in itself, it needed international-standard tourism accommodation and services.

It should continue its focus on eco-tourism and develop its cultural relics and craft villages with tours designed to attract visitors, Dung said.

The tourism industry expected to receive 1.28 million foreign tourists this year, a 3.4 per cent increase over last year, he said.

In the first nine months of this year, the city attracted 898,000 foreign visitors, 6.7 per cent higher than the same period of last year.


Trinh Cong Son’s music not for free anymore

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VietNamNet Bridge – Those who use Trinh Cong Son’s music will have to pay royalty to the Vietnam Center for Protecting Music Copyright (VCPMC).

Late composer Trinh Cong Son.

Late composer Trinh Cong Son’s younger sister, Trinh Vinh Trinh, on behalf of her family, has signed a contract with the VCPMC. Accordingly, the family authorizes the center to manage the copyright of Trinh’s songs.

Under this contract, the center will be the exclusive representative of late composer Trinh Cong Son’s family in managing the copyright and collecting royalties from the use of Trinh’s works in all fields (performance, recording, ringtone, hotels and restaurants..) throughout Vietnam and in the countries that the VCPMC signs bilateral cooperation agreements.

The VCPMC has performed the functions as of September 2, 2011.

The center has signed bilateral cooperation agreements with partners in 134 countries in the world. Therefore, the copyright of Trinh Cong Son’s music will be protected in these countries.

Trinh Cong Son (February 28, 1939 – April 1, 2001) was a Vietnamese composer, musician, painter and songwriter. He, along with Pham Duy and Van Cao, is widely considered one of the three most salient figures of modern Vietnamese music.  

Trinh Cong Son wrote over 500 songs, and, during the 1960s and 1970s, Joan Baez dubbed him the “Bob Dylan of Vietnam” for his moving antiwar songs. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at his funeral in HCM City, for a spontaneous ad hoc funeral concert, making such a spectacle the largest in Vietnamese history. His music remains very popular among both old and young Vietnamese.


Four nations to plug world heritage sites

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Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will co-operate with each other in organising tours to their world cultural heritage sites, officials said at a seminar on Tuesday.

The seminar focused on ways to present the four nations together as the Land of World Cultural Heritages.

"I highly recommend connecting the world cultural heritages in a special tour of the four countries," said Nguyen Quy Phuong, director of the Travel Department under the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.

He said the seminar offered the opportunity to promote and introduce the tourism potentials of Viet Nam and the neighboring countries to international visitors, travel agencies and the international media personnel attending the four-day International Travel Exhibition HCMC 2011.

Nim Sovann, deputy director of the Marketing and Promotion Department of Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism, emphasized the country's strength in cultural heritages, led by Angkor Wat Temple complex that has been declared a Heritage of Humanity and a World Wonder since 1992.

He also drew attention to the Sacred Site of Preah Vihear Temple - a World Heritage since 2008.

He said the country also had a lot of favourite destinations, including the Bayon Temple; Ta Prom Temple; Gate of Angkor Thom; Banteay Srel Temple; Phnom Penh City; Cambodian Bay - a member of "The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club"; as well as Prek Toal - the biggest natural reserve in Southeast Asia.

Phouthasinh Saythirath, managing director of DDD Travel of Laos, highlighted the two world heritage sites in his country – Luang Prabang, the former capital city, known as the seat of Lao culture with monasteries and monuments galore.

Vat Phou Champasak is one of the Southeast Asia's best examples of both early and classic Khmer architecture dating back to 7th-12th centuries, Sythirath said.

Hla Aye, managing director of ShanYama Travels & Tours, introduced Myanmar as a "golden land".

He mentioned Yangon city with its famous Shwedagon pagoda, Mandalay - the royal capital of the last dynasty in central Myanmar, Mrauk-Oo - ancient capital of Rakhine Kingdom and Bagan - land of ancient pagodas.

Bui Viet Thuy Tien, managing director of Asian Trails, said Viet Nam could boast both tangible and intangible heritages that have received UNESCO recognition.

The world cultural heritages of Viet Nam include the complex of monuments in Hue, the ancient town of Hoi An, the My Son sanctuary, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and the Ho Dynasty Citadel.

Among the intangible cultural heritages that the country has are: Nha nhac (court music), the gong culture, the Quan ho Bac Ninh folk songs and Ca Tru (ceremonial songs).

Doan Quang Huy, deputy general manager, Sales and Marketing Department, said the airline had a fast growing international network with 73-aircraft fleet that reaches 27 international destinations and 20 domestic destinations.

It expected to become the second largest airline in Southeast Asia with 170 flights to 53 international destinations and 23 domestic destinations by 2020, Huy said.

The airlines' long-term policy included supporting overseas agents to sell tours to the four countries by offering special airfares for travel agents to promote the four countries.

It planned to make Viet Nam the major gateway to the four countries by expanding its network to high volume markets in Northeast Asia, Europe and North America, Huy said.

Viet Nam Airlines would launch direct flights to Africa in 2019, Huy said.

Delta has great potential

Also on Tuesday, another seminar was held at the International Tourism Investment Promotion Conference "Four Countries – One Destination" 2011 to promote Viet Nam and regional countries Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar as a single tourism destination.

"The Mekong Delta has great potential for tourism," said Nguyen Phong Quang, deputy chief of the committee, and chief of the Steering Committee of the Mekong Delta Economic Co-operation - Ca Mau 2011.

"It is original and different from all other regions of the country."

In 2001-10, the number of visitors to the Mekong Delta grew at an annual average of 11 per cent, while foreign arrivals grew 16 per cent.

However, Pham Thanh Tuoi, chairman of Ca Mau Province People's Committee, said this growth was weak considering the area's advantages.

He blamed it on the inadequacy of the tourism infrastructure and lack of connectivity between tourism products and services in various provinces.

Other delegates concurred that the region could not achieve a breakthrough because of the poor tourism infrastructure.

Dong Thap Province, for instance, has a lot of interesting destinations like Tram Chim National Park, Sa Dec bonsai village and Gao Giong Eco-tourism Park.

But a representative of a travel agent in the province pointed out: "The distance between HCM City and the province is not far, but it is hard to get there due to the bad road."

"There are tourism products in Dong Thap but mostly sub-standard."

Le Minh Hoang of the Kien Giang Province's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said the biggest difficulty the region faced in developing tourism was creating distinct products.

"The products tend to be similar because of their similarities due to the waterways," he explained.

The head of the Viet Nam National Tourism Administration Nguyen Van Tuan said the region needed a breakthrough in resolving four basic problems: infrastructure, tourism specialities, regional co-operation and human resources.

"The localities themselves have to find the money to develop infrastructure. The Government can only help with strategies."

Nguyen Thi Hong, deputy chairwoman of the HCM City People's Committee, warned: "There will be no attractive tourism products without co-operation between provinces in the region."


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