The unstable situation in the Philippines and Thailand have caught the headlines and scared off dozens of travelers.
The violent ending of the kidnap drama in Manila has seriously damaged the country’s image, with protests in Hong Kong after Chinese tourists’ lives were taken in the drama.
Thailand’s political unrest has had immediate effect on the country’s important tourism sector, which accounts for 6 per cent of its gross domestic product and 15 per cent of the Thai workforce.
“This is a really good time for Vietnam to promote the country’s image as a safe destination and take the opportunity to develop its tourism industry. Foreigners don’t need to worry about their safety in Vietnam,” said Doan Thanh Tra, marketing manager of Saigon Tourist.
Mai Tien Dung, deputy director of Hanoi’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said as safety played a vital role in steady tourism development, Vietnam could benefit from international travellers’ concerns over safety conditions in the country’s neigbouring destinations.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, vice head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT)’s Marketing Department, said increased foreign visitor numbers would result from effective tourism promotion campaigns, the global economic recovery and foreign visitors’ concerns over insecurity in some neighbouring countries.
For coaxing more tourists this year, the government has increased budget spending on 2010’s tourism promotion activities to $3.64 million, from $2.56 million in 2009.
“Besides, the VNAT will launch a series of tourism promotion programmes this month, including tourism fairs, exhibitions and road-shows in China, Spain, Brunei, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Singapore,” Huong said.
Vietnam’s tourism is on the rebound with increasing foreign and domestic visitors.
According to the VNAT, in the first eight months of this year, Vietnam received 4.2 million foreign visitors, up 33 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year.
Most of the markets increased against the same period last year, in which the greatest number of tourists came from China with 598,248 visitors, increasing 98.4 per cent, followed by Cambodia, Thailand and South Korea increasing nearly 104, 36 and 29 per cent, respectively.