VIETNAM must launch a fund to support sustainable Vietnamese tourism growth, Vu The Bnh, vice president of Vietnam Tourism Association said.
Bnh and other tourism agencies’ representatives joined the discussion on Friday on a draft of the revised tourism law.
According to Bnh, the revised law is based on the basic content of Tourism Law 2005 and has updated regulations relevant to current affairs and targets to develop Vietnamese tourism into a spearhead economic sector.
The Vietnamese tourism sector in the first five months of this year has witnessed strong growth, with more than 5.2 million international tourists visiting the country, a surge of nearly 30 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“We can achieve 30-per-cent growth, even 50 per cent if we have strong resources,” Bnh said.
However, he said that the Vietnamese tourism sector has yet to gather strong resources and needs a fresh “bounding force”, which he suggested would come in the form of a tourism development support fund.
Nguyen Hong Hai, president of the capital city’s tourism club, said that sources of the fund – from the State, voluntary donors and other legal sources – must be clarified.
A representative of Viet Nam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA) highlighted that the fund was necessary to boost Vietnamese tourism promotion around the world. In Vietnam, the budget for tourism promotion activities is only US$2 million (Bt68 million) on average, equivalent to only 2.9 per cent of Thailand’s, 2.5 per cent of Singapore’s and 1.9 per cent of Malaysia’s budgets.
He suggested learning from other countries’ experience in calling for investment.
Pham Manh Cuong, VISTA deputy general secretary, recommended funding the proposal with an accommodation tax paid by tourists staying overnight.
Controversy broke out among participants on whether accommodation rankings should be made mandatory.
Dinh Manh Thang, president of Tourism Association of central Thua Thin-Hue province, said that a ranking system should not be made compulsory, as tourists determine the accommodation quality, not the State or accommodation owners.
Many participants agreed that holiday visitors are lured by high-quality accommodation at reasonable prices, not by star rankings.
However, others argued that accommodation rankings are necessary to protect rights of tourists and avoid cheating.
At the discussion, the participants also agreed on compulsory licences for three types of tours: domestic, inbound and outbound.