Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Can Tho (VNA) – Experts and travel operators gathered at a workshop in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on June 9 to seek ways to promote the region’s tourism potential.

Dr. Ho Thanh Tam, from the Can Tho College, underlined the need to develop infrastructure, create a favourable investment environment for tourism, enhance connections among localities, build special tourism products and promote personnel training for the sector.

The regional provinces and cities should call for more domestic and foreign investment in local infrastructure facilities by offering open mechanisms and simplifying administrative procedures, Tam said.

Dr. Nguyen Quang Trung, from the Ho Chi Minh City Technology University, said the ASEAN Community has implemented the Mutual Recognition Agreement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP). Therefore, it is necessary to accelerate the application of the ASEAN Common Competency Standards for Tourism Professionals (ACCSTP) and the Common ASEAN Training Curricula (CATC), he elaborated.

Enterprises should be encouraged to join the training process while promoting international cooperation in the field to ensure skilful and qualified human resources for the sector, Trung noted.

He cited the data from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) as saying that only 30 percent of tour guides in the region are granted professional certificates. There is no educational institution in the region offering post-graduate training programmes on tourism.

Trung suggested that the focus should be placed on labour demand forecasting to make a database to develop more relevant training programmes. Educational institutions should connect closely with tourism companies to offer tailor-made training and hands-on training services, he said, adding that Can Tho University should take a leading role in training human resources for tourism in the region.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi My Duyen, from An Giang University, said each locality in the region should offer their typical tourism products. For example, Can Tho City is renowned for its river tours, orchards and home-stay services. An Giang province has huge potential for spiritual tourism while Kien Giang develops its sea tourism in Phu Quoc island.

They should also connect with each other to offer joint tours, featuring their respective potential, such as “community – spirituality – sea and island” tours, Duyen said.

In 2016, the Mekong Delta region earned 11.3 trillion VND (497.2 million USD) from tourism, up 24 percent from 2015. 

In the first three months of this year, Can Tho city – a centre of the region, welcomed over 1.86 million visitors, up 10 percent year on year. The city’s tourism sector earned 496 billion VND (21.8 million USD) in the period, up 2 percent year on year.-VNA