The Vietnam Visa authority, buoyed by the rapid growth in Russian tourist arrivals in the last two years, has drawn up an ambitious plan to treble the number of Russian visitors to the country to 300,000 in 2014 from the 2011 figure.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, deputy director of the markets department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said that to translate this plan into reality, VNAT would be participating in a series of fairs in Russia and organizing road shows and publicity campaigns there. The national tourism authority will also arrange familiarization trips to Vietnam for Russian media organizations so that they can gain insights into the country’s places of interest and what the tourism sector can offer for Russian travelers.
Human resources will be developed and services upgraded in the favorite destinations for Russian visitors such as Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Danang and Quang Nam. Currently there are a few tourism-related activities in Russia, such as the Vietnamese Cultural Week and participating in fairs in the Russian market.
“We have just attended a fair in Russia and found that this market holds strong growth potential. The target of 300,000 tourists in 2014 is quite ambitious but achievable if the said measures are taken,” said Huong.
VNAT last month joined the Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition 2012, together with 13 Vietnamese tour operators and hotels, as well as representatives of key tourist provinces like Binh Thuan. At the event, many partners suggested extending the visa-free stay to 30 days from the current 15 days because Russian tourists usually have long holidays. Moreover, the foreign partners recommended Vietnam operate scheduled flights between its local tourist destinations and Russia so that visitors will not have to travel an additional distance after arriving in Hanoi and HCMC.
Vietnam-Russia air services, Huong said, connect Vietnam’s major cities and Moscow, which is far from Russia’s Far East region where most Russian tourists to Vietnam come from. Therefore, Russian tourists often choose to fly to Vietnam on chartered flights. However, under a market development strategy, VNAT focuses on luring visitors on scheduled flights.
“The daily flights from Hanoi or HCMC to Moscow are now fully occupied by Russians, but we still lack air links to other cities,” said Huong.
After becoming one of Vietnam’s top ten visitor-generating markets, Russian tourist arrivals picked up 27.1% in March, the second highest monthly growth rate after South Korea. In the first two months of the year, there were more than 56,000 Russians coming to Vietnam, versus the 100,000 in all of last year.
Russian tourists prefer the country’s coastal resort towns in Binh Thuan and Khanh Hoa. In late April this year, Russians will start arriving on daily chartered flights in Danang and from there they can travel to the World Heritage-listed ancient town of Hoi An in neighboring Quang Nam Province. Vietnam Visa is required to obtain before coming into Vietnam if Russian stay more than 15 days as permited.
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