By Miquel Angel
I read carefully the article with data from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCTS) in Vietnam and its targets for the upcoming years…let’s analyse.
Minister wishes to transform tourism into a key industry contributing 10-12% GDP in 2010. To achieve that is mentioning “brand building”, “service quality”, “sustainable development”, “cultural values preservation”, “environment” and “tourist safety”.
One does not need to be a tourism expert to observe the points missing since many years, not to mention the “tourism-damage” the visa issues continues creating (burden, delay, pocket money and overcharge, long queing…), the lack of infrastucture, lack of education linked to professional tourism experts and the last one, the marketing & promotion wrongly address since before year 2000.
Minister Phuc mentioning the international arrivals, targeting 15 million in 2020, problem is all actual data is not reliable, no-one is counting arrivals or separating business trips, from leisure, from family, from many others…the lack of data usage is another clear handicap since long years too.
The urge to ministries to prepare a “green industry” strategy should be a dream: seeing Formosa incident, the “low success” of the river tours in HCMC due to the dirty channels, the proliferation of resorts and projects without any environmental policy – Phu Quoc, Mui Ne, Hoi An among many others -. As there is not any coordination between MCST and other ministries, very little progress done.
E-visa is coming with a VND 200 million investment in early 2017, meanwhile late extension of “two weeks visa free policy” is not producing, whatever fake numbers are provided to the media, late decisions place Vietnam behind the competitors like Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia at all times.
From private sector, we had been recommending and assisting public sector on marketing and guidelines: now Minister suggest a $13,3 million (VND 300 billion) to create a Tourism Development Fund to help the smooth development of tourism… Time to open the eyes of the advisors to the Minister, honestly.
More issues: arrival of Chinese tourists to Vietnam despite island conflict in East Sea, tourism offices abroad (until today equals to zero). The article finishes “In comparison to ASEAN countries, Vietnam has fared poorly in terms of prioritising tourism, visas, open-door policies and sustainable environmental development”. This last part of VNS article is true.
My few cents, we will keep supporting and improving Vietnam, whatever wrong or right decisions are being taken.
Miquel Angel is a Catalan tourism professional based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam