Vietnam looks set to spend a hefty US$42.5 billion over the next 10 years developing tourism infrastructure and products to prop up the industry.

This ambitious plan is envisaged bringing up domestic tourists from the 28 million last year to 47-48 million by 2020 and foreign visitors from 5.05 million to 10 to 10.5 million.

Hoang Thi Diep, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said around one-fifth of the capital for the plan would come from the State budget and the rest from local and foreign investors.

According to VNAT, the country had had 625 tourism projects by November last year, included tourism property projects with total pledged capital of US$12.3 billion.

The tourism industry has attracted big capital in recent years. As for the foreign investment sector, the number of tourism projects from 2007 to 2010 increased by four to five times from the 1998-2006 period. Many of them were concentrated on hotels and resorts, instead of entertainment areas and tourism-related services.

Diep said the tourism industry would focus on developing sea tourism, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions), eco-tourism and medical tourism. “We will give priority to building products,” she said.

Entrepreneurs told the Daily that product development had emerged as a pressing issue for the tourism industry as it had long been heavily dependent on what the nation is endowed with, such as beaches, islands and historical sites.

The director of a major travel firm said Vietnam’s tourism had yet to make any major progress as compared to regional countries. “Singapore has limited natural resources but many Vietnamese still choose to travel there,” he said. “The Singapore tourism authority is very active in developing and renewing tourism products and services.”

Source: SGT

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