|Visitor numbers up 21% in Feb|
Viet Nam welcomed nearly 543,000 foreign tourists in February, a year-on-year increase of 21.6 per cent, reported the General Statistics Office (GSO). This pushed up the total number of foreign tourists in the first two months of the year to more than 1 million, up by 19.5 per cent in comparison with the same period last year.
Around 191,000 were from China, a year-on-year increase of 39 per cent. With a growth rate of 17.4 per cent, around 102,000 tourists were from South Korea, followed by the US and Japan, with 96,600 and 92,800, respectively
Deputy head of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Manh Cuong said that festivals in the first two months of the year attracted a large number of foreign tourists.
Vu The Binh, head of the administration's Travelling Department, said the dong devaluation had only impacted on domestic travellers who made outbound tours.
"Foreign customers are benefiting from the dong devaluation," Binh said adding that it was correct that the tourism sector was affected by inflation, but it didn't have an adverse effect on foreign tourists.
International media campaigns had also boosted tourism, he added.
The tourism sector has been running campaigns in Japan, South Korea and China, and is considering plans to approach the European market.
A strong brand name would be established for tourism in Viet Nam over the next four years to promote its attractions, director of the Viet Nam Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Van Tuan said yesterday.
The administration planned to hire a consultancy firm to carry out the strategy. "This is the first time promotion will be conducted by a professional agency," Tuan said.
Leading Vietnamese brand expert Vo Van Quang said the brand-based method was being utilised to promote tourism because in the end, it was just a special type of commodity.
The VNAT has unveiled one prospective brand logo. This identities Viet Nam tourism as "A Different Orient", which it believes will convey the nation's uniqueness. However, it is soliciting opinions from travel agents, media and interested agencies just to make sure.
Quang said defining the brand logo was just the start. "What is important is the strategy to deliver a consistent brand message," he said. "HCM City is one of the few localities in Viet Nam pushing for a tourist brand."
Nguyen Bao Anh from the city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said the project to develop a HCM City tourism brand strategy was already underway.
He said a research team and brand experts had gone into the field to identify the core values of the city. "Only when this is done can the campaign start," Anh said.