VN to develop tourism brand
Foreign tourists visit the Gao Giong ecological tourism site in Cao Lanh District in the southern province of Dong Thap. The country wants to strengthen the tourism sector to attract more visitors. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam aims to strengthen the brand of its tourism sector in order to attract more foreign tourists.
The National Action Plan on Tourism approved by the Government on Monday makes branding a top priority for the tourism sector.
Tourism experts say that the lack of strong branding is one of the major impediments holding the tourism sector back from capitalising on its vast potential and carving out a niche in the international market.
As of now, the sector has been not able to represent Viet Nam in an unique way. This failing is widely attributed to a lack of professionalism.
According to Pham Trung Luong, deputy director of the Institute of Tourism Research and Development, building a tourism brand for a country involves extensive public relations and marketing campaigns. Coming up with a strong brand that would help Viet Nam stand out would require extensive preparation over a long time, he said.
Experts have proposed several branding ideas,such as hiring tourism representatives to work abroad, especially in major markets, and offering more tourist information at popular destinations in Viet Nam.
According to the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), a campaign to promote tourism started in May 2012. However, budget cuts left no funding for this campaign.
“Although the tourism sector started using a new logo and slogan (‘Timeless Charm’), we did not have many opportunities to promote them,” VNAT’s deputy director Nguyen Manh Cuong said.
Since funding was the main challenge facing the industry, he added, the Government should support VNAT when it came to branding.
Chairman of Thua Thien Hue Tourism Association Nguyen Quoc Thanh said that while building a national tourism brand was certainly necessary, the country should start building brands for major tourism companies first. Once these companies had firmly established themselves, the tourism sector as a whole would have an easier time carving out an identity.
Thanh also said brands should focus on regions instead of single localities. That way, once tourists set foot in a place, they would tour the whole region rather than only one province.
The action plan includes goals to develop core areas such as sea and island tourism, cultural tourism and eco-tourism. According to the plan, localities and enterprises will receive support to develop their own brands and a number of communications campaigns will promote tourism in Viet Nam.
The plan also seeks to reduce the environmental impact of tourism activities and improve available human resources.
Under the plan, the nation aims to attract 7.5 million foreign tourists and 37 million domestic tourists in 2015. This will draw revenue of US$10-11 billion for the tourism industry.
Last year, Viet Nam received 6.85 million foreign tourists. — VNS