Vietnam-Russia Tourism Cooperation: Huge Potential

10:36:03 AM | 5/5/2016

Speaking at the Vietnam - Russia Tourism Cooperation Forum organised recently by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Mr Nguyen Van Tuan, General Director of the Administration reaffirmed the importance of the Russian Federation market to Vietnam’s tourism. Russian tourists who chose Vietnam as the destination wished to discover a country with a rich history, a safe and attractive vacation spot with unique culture.
In the period 2011-2015, the number of Russian tourists travelling to Vietnam increased 35.6 percent on average, from 100,000 to 339,000 visits. Russia had become one of the seven markets that held the highest number of tourists coming to Vietnam. This was a group of tourists who stayed for long duration and possessed strong spending power.
However, from the second half of 2014, the number of Russian travellers overall plummeted and the Vietnam market was no exception. Part of the reason was the suffering economy, as a devaluated ruble and inflation drove Russians to cut spending. According to statistics, in 2015 the number of Russian tourists coming to Vietnam fell by about seven percent. In early 2016, sign of a rebound started to emerge, in the first three months, Russian tourists travelling to Vietnam reached 110,000 visits, up 13.5 percent year-on-year. Therefore, it was crucial to analyse the issue and find a solution for outstanding shortcomings so as to increase the volume of Russian tourists.
Deputy Head of the Russian Federal Tourism Agency Sergey Korneev said that the trend of travelling to destinations such as Egypt, Turkey of Russians was changing due to various political and economic reasons. He encouraged the tourism sector of Vietnam to take advantage of this opportunity to attract Russian travellers. “Vietnam has rich tourism resources, beautiful natural scenery, especially many attractive beaches that are popular among Russians. An important hurdle that Vietnam needs to clear is to demonstrate to visitors that the country is a safe and friendly destination, Vietnamese tourism enterprises should further study the needs and characteristics of Russian tourists to improve services and appeal,” said Mr Sergey Korneev.
Vice Chairman of Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) Vu The Binh said that in order to boost visits from Russia, Vietnam tourism had selected the two provinces of Phu Yen and Binh Dinh as key attractions for Russian tourists, providing tours at 20 percent discounts. Other services also offered substantial discounts for Russian. Tours designed for Russian tourists were being complemented; instead of featuring beach resorts only, the Vietnam - Russian Tourism Club established by VITA would add activities to give visitors a chance to experience culture, heritage, culinary and traditional artistry of Hanoi as well as other unique destinations of Vietnam.
Difficulties in visa procedures as well as in entering Russia of Vietnamese tourists were also mentioned by Mr Vu The Binh. However, according to the Vietnam Ambassador to Russia Nguyen Thanh Son, “This is a complicated issue which is being gradually resolved”. This task required great responsibility from Vietnamese tour operators while taking visitors to Russia to ensure the laws on residence and travelling of the host country in order to avoid unwelcome situations. Businesses also raised issue of the 15-day visa-free time frame at the conference. Accordingly, the time limit was not suitable for a market offering long-term stay like Russia.
In terms of entertainment, Mr Ho Van Loi, Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Ba Ria -Vung Tau, one of the most popular tourism attractions in the South, suggested the opening of casinos and services that satisfy human psychological and physiological needs. Some ASEAN countries such as Thailand or Cambodia had been exploiting well those services, increasing tax revenue for the state and keeping visitors.
According to General Director Nguyen Van Tuan, the tourism sector would submit the visa issue to competent authorities so that appropriate policies for the new situation could soon be introduced. The tourism would hold further working sessions with representatives from the aviation sectors, localities which received Russian tourists and tour operators to reach agreement on measures to attract Russian tourists. “In May 2016, Vietnamese tourism will cooperate with the BIDV bank and Russian tourism to hold a tourism forum in Russia to promote Vietnam’s image as an attractive destination, drawing more Russian tourists to Vietnam as well as from Vietnam to Russia,” informed Mr Tuan.
Le Hien