Saturday, November 21, 2009

Border provinces urged to boost tourism development


VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam’s border provinces need to pay more attention to developing their tourism sector and bring in more tourists to the country, industry insiders say.

Ly Mon, general director of Ha Long Tourism Joint Stock Company, told Thanh Nien many people often think that cross-border tourism is only for low-income tourists and thus not worth much attention.

However, six travel agencies in Quang Ninh Province just proved them wrong by having a successful program that brought in 296,000 tourists from China and total revenues of VND300 billion over the past three years.

Vietnam shares more than 4,550 kilometers of its land border with China, Laos and Cambodia. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, cross-border tourists have accounted for more than 30 percent of total foreign arrivals to the country in the past few years, with arrivals from the Southeast Asian region growing rapidly.

Vu The Binh, head of the travel department at the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said the natural resources and cultures of the country’s 25 border provinces offer great tourism potential.

“It’s the fault of the industry that the potential has not been fully tapped,” Binh said.

Luu Duc Ke, director of the Hanoitourist Company, said that during a recent trip to Lang Son, he found that the northern border province did not pay attention to developing tourism even though the sector contributed nearly 40 percent of its gross domestic product.

For example, many foreign tourists wanted to come and visit the villages where the ethnic minorities live, but the province didn’t consider such places as tourist sites, he said.

Analysts said although border provinces have tried to improve their infrastructure for tourism, the efforts have not been enough. The facilities at many border gates have deteriorated while customs procedures have not been modernized, they said.

Meanwhile, the quality of hotel, restaurant and entertainment services in many provinces has failed to cater to wealthy visitors who tend to spend a lot of money when travelling, they added.

VietNamNet/Thanh Nien

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