Visitors stroll down a street in Hoi An city. (Photo: VNA)

Quang Nam (VNA) – Preserving intrinsic values of local cultural heritages and accelerating tourism promotion should be included in Hoi An city’s mechanisms to support sustainable tourism development, according to a local official.

Speaking at a meeting held in the ancient city on November 1, which drew the participation of many travel agencies, Vice Chairman of the city People’s Committee Nguyen Van Son said that last year, the locality welcomed more than 3.3 million visitors, and earned over 3.57 trillion VND (153 million USD) from tourism revenue.

Meanwhile, over 4.5 million travellers chose Hoi An to spend their holidays during January-October this year, up nearly 77 percent from the same time last year. Among the visitors, 3.4 million were foreigners, he said.

However, the local tourism sector is facing tough challenges as rapid urbanisation and integration have exerted pressure on local transport infrastructure and environment. Meanwhile, the so-called “zero VND” tours have catered to an increasing number of tourists to the city who caused huge losses to local tourism revenue, though.

Shortage of new tourism packages and quality human resources in the sector also impacts the city’s tourism development, he pointed out.

Vo Van Van, Chairman of the Quang Nam Tourism Association, described loose connection among travel companies as another challenge to form alluring tourism products.

Hoi An city would magnatise more vacationers if the city can stop street vendors from cheating tourists or soliciting them to buy their wares, and ensure order in the tourist hub, he underlined.

Van suggested developing high-quality tourism products by enhancing cooperation among travel firms and improving capacity of staff as a significant measure to attract visitors from traditional markets and those with big pockets.

Participants at the event recommended the city consider accelerating electronic entrance ticket selling, and providing tourists with necessary information about the city, including maps and introduction of cultural relic sites.

Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam has been ranked the 14th best place in the world for expatriates to live by The Travel website, thanks to the ancient town’s “cheap cost of living”.

According to the Canadian travel site, Hoi An is the best destination for budget-conscious foreigners who want to settle down in Vietnam, and monthly living costs can be managed within 1,000 USD.

British newspaper The Telegraph in September named Hoi An among the world’s cheapest global destinations, citing the Post Office’s annual Long Haul Holiday Report.

Meanwhile, in June, Hoi An gained the second place in a list of the safest and most exciting places on this Earth for solo travellers compiled by travel editors at UK travel site Momondo.

Two years ago, the town was hailed as the cheapest travel destination by budget tourism site Price of Travel, with daily expenses for a backpacker estimated at 22.29 USD.-VNA