Friday, October 24, 2008

Vietnam drops plan to organize tourism year 2009

VietNamNet Bridge – The annual tourism year will not take place in 2009 following a decision from the Government, citing the lack of tourism facilities and the running-out time required for preparation following the refusal of Daklak Province to serve as host for the program.

The current national tourism year Mekong Can Tho 2008 is taking place in the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho.

Under the new decision issued by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan, the year-long tourism program has been canceled, said Nguyen Manh Cuong, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism.

Earlier this year, the country’s tourism body chose the Central Highlands province of Dalak as host to the national tourism year in 2009 with an aim to develop the hospitality industry in the high-terrain province and neighboring localities. Main events such as the opening and closing ceremonies were scheduled to take place in Daklak while other neighborly provinces Dak Nong, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Lam Dong would join forces by organizing a series of festivities throughout the year.

However, only months after it was chosen, Daklak backed off from the position, citing the lack of tourism facilities and money.

“After Daklak withdrew itself from the position, its neighboring province of Gia Lai has sought the national tourism authority’s approval to become host to the events, but now comes the final answer to shelve the tourism year plan,” Cuong told the Daily.

Cuong blamed Daklak for the hiccup in this case, saying the province had abruptly changed the plan although the national tourism authority had asked the province to organize the tourism year much earlier on. Daklak Province’s withdrawal has left the tourism body little time to look for a replacement.

“There is not any similar program to replace the national event but other festivals and events earlier planned to take place in the region during the tourism year will still take place,” Cuong said.

Vietnam’s tourism industry has been making efforts in organizing the national tourism year as a way to attract more tourists, especially international travelers. However, after six years since the first event was launched, such a big name has drawn little attention and proved not attractive.

“We need to think more about the way activities are organized. There seems to have been some wrong approach in choosing main subjects for the national program. We’re just making festivities for locals while the main purpose is to attract foreign tourist,” he said.

To deal with the situation, Cuong said that the country’s tourism body should redress its inappropriate activities, especially the choice of main topics for the program so as to bring out right products and marketing plans to ensure high efficiency for the tourism year.

“We will rethink activities soon, especially after the ministry has asked the tourism authority to make a long-term plan in organizing the tourism years until 2020,” Cuong said.

The national tourism authority has proposed a plan to choose the capital city of Hanoi as host to the tourism year 2010. However, the central Government has not given its final say.

Early this month, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has agreed to choose the central province of Phu Yen as home to the national tourism year 2011.

The current national tourism year Mekong Can Tho 2008 is taking place in the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho.