Tourism Highlighted as Key Industry in Global Integration

4:22:05 PM | 11/23/2015

Intensive international integration has made many provisions in the Law on Tourism in 2005 no longer appropriate, leading to difficulties during implementation. The meeting to review the implementation of the Tourism Law 2005 and to draft a content for amendment of the Tourism Law General was recently held by Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) in Hanoi.
Speaking at the ceremony, VNAT General Director Nguyen Van Tuan confirmed, in recent years, the rapid development of the tourism industry has made an important contribution to the process of socio- economic development, making Vietnam a more and more attractive destination to tourists. The tourism development strategy has been noticed in the resolutions of the Party and the socio-economic development strategy of the country in the period of 2011-2020, strategies for tourism development Vietnam to 2020 and vision to 2030 and many other documents. These guidelines are to boost tourism development to become a key economic sector, contributing positively to the development of the country.
Reviewing Tourism Law 2005, Mr Tuan emphasised that the regulations on business travel and travel services, rights and obligations of organizations and individuals working in the tourism sector. Tourism Law 2005 has facilitated the management, creating a healthy competitive environment and enhancing professionalism in the tourism sector. However, due to changes in the international context and the situation of the country, these regulations lack compatibilities and consistency, there is a need for new regulations more consistent with current conditions and future trends to meet the needs of development and create a favourable legal framework for the development of the sector.
A number of shortcomings during the enforcement of the Tourism Law 2005 still exist, such as lack of written regulations and guidelines regulating the tourism development planning, unclear policies on development of the resorts, and spontaneous management of the tourist districts. Those areas with the tourist districts attached to the resorts have customer services while other smaller ones do not. There are not high-quality stations in the transport system. Many vehicles imported are not authorized by law, such as boats, water motor, and other means used for entertainment at the resort, amusement parks, and beaches.
Besides, in the context of intensive international integration, Vietnam has been involved in many major economic institutions such as FTAs, and TPP. If compared to other countries like Thailand with 27 overseas representative offices, Malaysia with 35 offices, and Singapore with 23 offices, Vietnam has not had any offices established abroad, which becomes a major constraint in the competition to attract international tourists.
Although the Tourism Law 2005 has regulated that the central tourism management agencies are authorized to establish the overseas offices, it lacks the guidelines, rising challenges related to legal status, geography, organizational structure, and operational funds. These shortcomings require an improvement of the Tourism Law that will create a favourable legal framework to help the "smokeless industry" develop and become a key economic sector in the context of the current integration.
At the workshop, the participants proposed an amendment for the Tourism Law that specifies criteria for human resources; controlling the quality of the accommodation facilities; roles and responsibilities of the tourism association of provinces and cities; management role of local tourism authorities; relationships among sectors; sustainable tourism development; the role of the Vietnam Hotel Association and local associations in ranking the hotels; tourism planning; and tourism products.
Representing the Vietnam Hotel Association, Ms Le Mai Khanh proposed that the draft Tourism Law (amendment) should have clear rules on naming types of accommodation, particularly additional new forms like cruise. Besides, there should be more decentralized mechanisms with coordination with local authorities in the evaluation of the standard accommodation facilities.
Regarding the travel agents and tour guide, Mr Le Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of Education and Training Department, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed that an international guide card may be issued to qualified college degree holders who meet foreign language requirements.
Besides, some other provisions related to transportation standards; strict management of tourists; restrictions on the tourists who illegally work; a mechanism to ensure safety of travellers; and long-term training of human resources are mentioned.
Mr Nguyen Van Tuan appreciated the comments. VNAT will collect all comments as a basis for amending the Law on Tourism to promote tourism sector commensurate with the role of a spearhead economic sector of the country . "Tourism Law (Amendment) will be based on the comments, scientific basis and practical experience on tourism development, along with references of the Law on Tourism of other countries to apply consistently with practices and international commitments which Vietnam has signed or acceded to," Mr Nguyen Van Tuan said.
Ha Vu