Travel fair helps to kick-start Việt Nam’s tourism sector

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Lê Hương & Hồng Vân

HÀ NỘI — The annual Việt Nam International Travel Mart (VITM) 2022 opened in downtown Hà Nội on Thursday, attracting thousands of travel lovers seeking promotions.

This year, as the borders have reopened for international tourism, the theme of the fair is: “New Normal – New Chance for Việt Nam’s Tourism”.

The event is a continuation of a series of events hosted by the Việt Nam Tourism Association, such as the National Travel Forum on January 21; the National Domestic Travel Tourism Forum on April 15, 2021; and the Sustainable Recovery for Việt Nam’s Tourism Forum on November 30, 2021.

Visitors take photos in traditional hanbok costume at the South Korean booth. — VNS Photo Le Huong

Addressing the opening ceremony yesterday, Cao Thị Ngọc Lan, deputy director and general secretary of the Việt Nam Tourism Association (VITA), noted that while VITM Hà Nội has been an annual event, this year, it has extra significance.

“The fair marks a new period of the tourism sector – a period for recovery and development in the ‘new normal context’, a period that the sector starts to change into a ‘green’ and ‘digital’ economy,” she stressed.

Despite various hardships after two years of the pandemic, more than 500 enterprises from 52 provinces and cities around Việt Nam, as well as from six other countries and territories, have joined the event. More than 2,000 enterprises and over 40,000 people are expected to visit before the event closes on April 3.

“During the four-day event, VITA and the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism will host various activities, especially the national forum titled ‘Việt Nam Tourism Recovery – New Orientation, New Actions’, where experts will discuss urgent solutions for domestic enterprises to change their actions in a safer direction to secure an environmental and digital transition,” she said.

A series of workshops and press conferences on tourism human resources, new products, new destinations and promotion activities will take place.

Deputy culture and tourism minister Đoàn Văn Việt suggested the concerned agencies should pay more attention to improving technical facilities for the sector, investing in new products, new destinations and new air routes to meet the new demands and trends after the pandemic, especially enhancing the quality of human resources and encouraging start-ups in the field.

The official also suggested tourism enterprises review customer markets after the pandemic, especially international customers; promote PR activities in targeted markets using digital technology in this task.

“Enterprises and localities will further co-ordinate to actively join in the global value chain, fairly competing in order to enhance the competitiveness of Vietnamese tourism in the world’s tourism map,” he said.

New hopes

The event has attracted many visitors with different purposes.

Wandering around the fair, elderly Phí Thị Liên Châu and her two friends sometimes stopped at the booth of companies and localities that caught their eye.

Phí Thị Liên Châu (right) seeks a suitable tour at a booth. — VNS Photo Lê Hương

“I am seeking an affordable tour to Phú Quốc for me and my former high school classmates,” she told Việt Nam News.

“The pandemic is over and we would like to gather to relax and reminisce on our old days. Last time we bought a good voucher for hotels, which cut the price by half.

“We are retired and not many of us can afford high prices. So such a fair is helpful to us.”

Unlike Châu, Dr Bùi Văn Vương is visiting the fair for the first time.

“I heard about the event a few days ago and I’m curious to see what’s here,” he said. “I’m planning for a holiday with my family to refresh after COVID lockdown. I hope to find some new tours and new destinations, though I have been travelling throughout the country a lot.”

Nguyễn Hoài Thu, deputy director of Saigontourist’s Hà Nội branch, said the company offers over 60 package products in coordination with 18 other transport partners.

“This is a chance for the company to confirm the strength of our inbound and outbound products,” she said.

“Our tours will depart from April to September this year and we will receive foreign guesses from September to December.

“Our products are diversified in forms throughout the country at different price ranges especially tours with Vietnam Airlines. Many people come here to ask about our tours to Dubai in mid-April. We offer prestigious tour service with thorough tourism insurance policies for customers travelling overseas.”

Uchida Shusuke, deputy head representative of the Japan Tourism Promotion Agency, said: “It has been almost two years since the latest event, where we can introduce our hospitality, culture and destinations to Vietnamese people.

“Though Japan has not opened to tourists yet, we hope to welcome Vietnamese people soon.”

The fair will attract thousands of people and enterprises over four days. — VNS Photo Lê Hương

Shusuke said the booth introduces national activities and local delicacies, such as seafood.

Lee Jae Hoon, director of the Korea Tourism Organisation in Việt Nam, appreciated the annual fair as it gives tourists a chance to travel and advertise international destinations to Vietnamese people when the pandemic is under control.

He said in 2019 the number of Vietnamese people visiting South Korea increased significantly to 550,000 people, while some 4.3 million visitors from South Korea came to Việt Nam.

In 2022, it is hoped that 20-40 per cent of the number of Vietnamese people recorded in 2019 will visit South Korea.

The agency offers various activities at this fair, like the chance to wear a traditional hanbok, play folk games featured in the popular Squid Game series and make traditional handmade products.

Lee said in this year marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The organisation will host many more events throughout the year like South Korean Days in Hà Nội and other tourism-themed events.

The organisation will assists companies to offer special promotions to Vietnamese tourists and will try to ease visa and quarantine policies for visitors from Việt Nam.

The fair will close on April 3. VNS

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