A recently concluded conference in Danang to promote tourism in the northern province, co-organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the People’s committees of Quang Ninh province and Ho Chi Minh city, agreed that the need of the hour was for Quang Ninh localities to focus on building up their tourism products.
While Mr Nguyen Van Tuan, General Director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, said that the localities should make their tours and sites more unique in order to attract a greater number of tourists, Mr Ha Quang Long, Director of the Quang Ninh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, emphasised on the role of tourism agencies and suggested Ho Chin Minh city’s tourism department work closely with them in building effective co-operation.
In turn, Ho Chi Minh City’s Association of Tourism suggested that Quang Ninh, which is home to the UNESCO site of Ha Long Bay, should be the bridge linking the city with the rest of the northern region. Although Quang Ninh attracts seven million tourists a year – five million of whom are domestic visitors – only about seven per cent are from Ho Chi Minh.
The forum was well attended by almost 300 representatives from eight provinces, as well as international organisations and tourism agencies.
Representatives from Hai Phong city cautioned that localities need to develop a specific plan that would tap the potential while avoiding overlaps between cities. Between them, the eight localities signed five co-operation agreements to develop tourism products and conduct promotion campaigns. Along with Bai Tu Long Bay, the eight cover a tourism radius of thousands of islands, including the historic Yen Tu with 600 relic sites.
During the forum, representatives from the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) including the media, tourism experts and development organisations, also discussed steps toward promoting sustainable tourism in the region, as well as cuisine tourism, transnational culture tourism and community tourism, among others. The participants stressed on the importance of increasing connectivity and partnership among travel and tourism agencies to tap the potential in the GMS, which comprises of countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and Yunnan and Guangxi provinces of the People’s Republic of China.
About 52- million tourists visited the GMS in 2013, up 17% from 2012. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) works tirelessly in the region because it sees the tourism management as also economic growth there. Stephen Schipani, an expert from the ADB based in Laos, said the region needed to benefit the community as well as protect the environment.