(VEN) - Despite the difficult economic situation, the tourism sector has still maintained an increase in number of tourists with 2.5 million international tourists visiting the country in the first four months of this year, an increase of 22.9 percent from the same months last year. The number of tourists from major markets continues to increase. A range of tourism promotion programs have been organized. These are considered optimistic signs for the Vietnamese tourism sector, contributing to fulfilling the 2012 target.
Russia is considered as an important tourist market of Vietnam and ranks first in the Eastern Europe. On May 12, 2012, a flight brought 74 Russian tourists from the cities of Novosibirsk, Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk to Vietnam. This was the first time Russian tourists arriving Da Nang by air in such a large number. With direct flight routes from Da Nang to large cities in Russia, 54 flights will take 12,000 Russian tourists to Da Nang, Quang Nam and other cities in the countries.
The first flight already landed in the city on May 12. Among tourists were Famtrip (familiarization trip) groups from 20 travel agents and press agencies in Russia who went to Vietnam to do survey of tourism potential in Da Nang and some provinces in the central region.
In May 2012, about 60 representatives from travel agents in Barnaul, Uzno Sakhalinsk, Ulan Ude (Russia) will go to Nha Trang and Phan Thiet to do survey. This is the first time a range of Russian travel agents have come to Vietnam to do survey and prepare for the tourism season at the end of this year. These activities have been taken by Anh Duong Company Limited in conjunction with Russia based Pegas Touristik Company (Turkey). This cooperation promises to create good opportunities for the Vietnamese tourism sector.
Russian has maintained a rapid increase in number of tourists. With an increase of 27.1 percent in March 2012, Russia was the market which saw the second increase in number of tourists to Vietnam in that month (after the Republic of Korea). In the first two months of this year, Vietnam welcomed more than 56,000 Russian tourists. This figure just stayed at 100,000 in 2011. With a range of marketing programs, Vietnam hopes to welcome 300,000 Russian tourists by 2014, a three time increase compared to in 2011. The Anh Duong Company chairman Hoang Thi Phong Thu said that since October 31, 2011, the company had welcomed nearly 46,000 Russian tourists going to Vietnam by chartered flights. This market promises to obtain a good growth because this was the first time the company has had tourists visiting Vietnam in summer, the period that sees low number of tourists
According to the General Statistics Office, in the first four months of this year, almost all tourist markets grew such as Russian (50.9 percent), RoK (49.3 percent), Chinese Taipei (30.2 percent), Malaysia (28.3 percent), Japan (25.3 percent), China (23.3 percent), France (13.3 percent) and the US (4.9 percent).
Apart from Russian, Japan is an important tourists market of Vietnam with number of tourists visiting Vietnam continuing to increase annually. In 2011, Vietnam welcomed nearly 500,000 Japanese tourists, ranking third among tourist markets of Vietnam. In the first four months of this year, Vietnam welcomed 211,864 Japanese, an increase of 25.3 percent from the same months of last year. The tourism sector is preparing many tourism promotion programs to fulfill the target of welcoming one million of Japanese tourists by 2015. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has signed a memorandum with the Japan National Tourism Organization to promote bilateral tourism cooperation and establish the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism representative office in Japan.
At the beginning of May, 2012, the Vietravel Company representatives met with a tourism promotion delegation of Keihan Corporation (Japan). At the meeting, a Keihan representative emphasized that Vietnam is a potential market and they want to enhance cooperation with Vietnamese travel agents to exchange tourists.
In addition, RoK has also sent optimistic signals. According to the Vietnam National Administration, with an increase of 71 percent in number of tourists to Vietnam in April 2012, RoK passed Japan to rank first in number of tourists to Vietnam. This is an encouraging result, boosting bilateral tourism relation between the two countries./.
By Phuong Mai