31 July, 2010
HA NOI — The domestic tourism industry plans to focus on attracting holidaymakers from traditional markets in the world to meet its target of drawing 4.5 million foreign visitors to the country this year.
Figures from the General Statistics Office show that the number of Cambodian holidaymakers coming to Viet Nam has grown markedly in the first six months of this year, reaching 117,000 – a year-on-year rise of 36 per cent.
HCM City leads the nation in terms of attracting Cambodian visitors, who make up 60-70 per cent of the total number of visitors from the country to Viet Nam. The southern city is followed by the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang and the southern province of Binh Duong.
Industry insiders said visa exemptions, high-quality goods, attractive tourist destinations and convenient travel arrangements are the main draw for Cambodian holidaymakers.
Transport firms such as Mai Linh and the Sai Gon Passenger Transportation Company (Sapaco) are cashing in on regional demand for travel. Everyday, about 80 coach trips are made between Viet Nam and Cambodia.
In a recent interview, He So Somara, the secretary of state of the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, said Cambodians used to prefer travelling to Thailand but that Viet Nam had become more attractive because it was closer, there were numerous entry points, it was inexpensive and the food was similar.
He also said the country now offered a variety of attractions, from beach holidays to health tourism.
Phan Thanh Hai, director of the HCM City-based Medic centre, said about 100 Cambodians come for check-ups daily, accounting for about 10 per cent of the total number of the centre's patients. Other hospitals such as Cho Ray, Traditional Medicine and Vu Anh are also regular stops for Cambodian travellers.
However, tourist firms attributed the rise in the number of Cambodian visitors to tourism fairs showcasing Vietnamese products and visits to the country by Vietnamese medical staff. — VNS