Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visits a souvernir shop in Hoi An (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has affirmed the Government’s determination to turn tourism into the country’s spearhead economic sector during a national conference on tourism development in Hoi An city, central Quang Nam province, on August 9.

He called for the stronger engagement of the whole political system as well as the close coordination of ministries and localities to be combined with creativity and dynamism of enterprises, investors and the whole community in boosting tourism.

He asked the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to issue a code of conduct in tourism, while urging the sector to deal with a current lack of tour guides, especially those who can speak unpopular foreign languages.

Underscoring the need to build a trademark for the sector, the PM suggested that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism coordinate closely with other ministries and localities during tourism promotion programmes abroad, while re-evaluating the efficiency of tourism fairs, especially international ones.

He also called for the engagement of media agencies in boosting tourism growth.

Meanwhile, the PM pledged that the Government will design policies to support the sector, noting that 200 billion VND has been invested in the launching of electronic visa granting procedure that will commence from January 1, 2017.

He also approved the establishment of a fund for tourism development to support promotion activities, developing products and human resources, and enhance the sector’s institutional capacity.

The industry served 5.5 million foreign visitors in the first half of this year, a rise of 24 percent year on year, together with 38.2 million domestic tourists.

Last year, the sector’s contributions made up 6.6 percent of the country’s GDP, while creating 750,000 direct jobs in a total of 2.25 million related jobs.

Currently, Vietnam has 1,555 international travel companies, nearly 1.7 times higher than that in 2010, with average growth hitting 11 percent per year. As of May this year, the country had 101 five-star hotels, 299 four-star and 463 three-star hotels.

Participants at the event also proposed increasing the number of countries enjoying exemption of visa to Vietnam. Vietnam has exempted visa for tourists from 22 countries and territories, the number that is modest as regional countries have offered that favourable treatment to 60 to 160 countries and territories.

They also stressed the need for closer connections among sectors in bolstering tourism development.-VNA