Fri, 03 Apr 2015. Last updated Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:37
Few days ago, at Samrat Hotel, a program on Vietnam tourism promotion was held. At the program, representatives of eight Vietnam travel agents met representatives of dozens of Indian travel companies to exchange potential and seek cooperative opportunities. Representative of Vietnam Tourism Administration introduced the development of tourism in Vietnam, along with attractive Vietnam travel programs. At the same time, a documentary film about outstanding cultural features and tourist attractions in Vietnam was shown. Speaking at the tourism promotion program, General Director of Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan affirmed the governments and peoples of the two countries had friendly and traditional relation which had been confirmed for years, especially after the visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India with many activities to promote Vietnam India cooperations, including tourism.
Jet Airways has direct flights from India to Vietnam, and in the coming time, Vietnam Airlines plans to open direct flights to India, which will provide an opportunity to promote cooperation in the field of tourism. Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan said that currently there are favorable conditions to promote and specify plans on tourism cooperation between Vietnam and India. The visit of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism is to concretize commitments between leadership of the two governments. On tourism products, Vietnam and India have similarities. Relation of two countries' tourism industry has had significant changes, especially the positive cooperation of tourism enterprises in recent years. In addition, Embassy of Vietnam in India, and Indian Embassy in Vietnam are having activities and programs to promote bilateral tourism cooperation, with the hope that in the future the number of Vietnamese tourists to India and Indian tourists to Vietnam will increase.
General Director of India Tourism Administration, Mr. Suman Bila stated that India was large market with fast growth rate. India and China are two countries providing the largest number of tourists in the world; and, that Vietnam chose India as the destination is appropriate. The number of Indian travelers to Southeast Asia is huge and if Vietnam tourism is marketed well, it will attract a large number of visitors as the country has many attractive destinations and diverse cuisine. Vietnam and India have similarities in spiritual culture; therefore, spiritual destinations in India such as Bodh Gaya or Varanasi ... attract many tourists from Vietnam. Besides, India is planning to connect with the spiritual tourism destinations in Nepal to form the famous axis of spiritual tourism around the world.
Mr. Bila said that the important point to promote tourism cooperation between two countries is opening direct route. The agreement that India signed with Vietnam Ministry of Transportation will be an important legal framework to facilitate the development of the bilateral infrastructural connection. Now, responsibility of promote cooperation is belonging to the two countries. In his speaking, Minister Counsellor of Vietnam Embassy in India stressed the friendly and long-lasting Vietnam and India relation. India is a great and reliable friend of Vietnam, while Vietnam is a key "pillar" in the "Eastwards" policy or "Eastern Action" of India.
Two countries shared many similarities and huge untapped potential in tourism sector. India emerged as a major market with average of tourists to other countries of more than 13% / year, from 4.4 million in 2000 to about 17 million in 2013. The figure is expected to rise to 50 million by 2020. There are about 64% of Indian tourists to Asia, including 2.5 million to South East Asia in 2013. Vietnam is being an attractive destination, appealing 7.87 million of tourists in 2014, including about 5.3 million from Asia. However, Vietnam - India tourism cooperation is much lower than the potential. Although Indian tourists to Vietnam increased from 12,000 in 2007 to 55,000 in 2014, but just accounting for only 0.07% of the total number of foreign visitors to Vietnam and 0.03% of the total number of Indian tourists abroad.
Meanwhile, Vietnam has only about 12,000 tourists visiting India every year, mostly to visit sacred places like Gaya, Varanasi and Kushinagar. These figures demonstrate that the tourism cooperation is lagging far behind other sectors in strategic India - Vietnam partnership. Therefore, the two countries should promote activities to strengthen India and Vietnam tourism cooperation to open direct flights as soon as possible. Before opening programs, Ambassador of Vietnam in India - Ton Sinh Thanh and General Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism dad meetings with General Director of India Tourism Administration - Suman Bila, directors of a number of tourism businesses in India. According to the Ambassador, the two sides should promote more open direct flights. Two governments should support airlines in the deployment plans on opening direct flights as soon as possible.