Following the success of the first edition of the Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM), the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) in collaboration with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will host the second VITM from April 3-6 in Hanoi.

Vice Chairman of VITA and head of VITM 2014 Organisation Board Vu The Binh spoke with the Vietnam Business Forum - a weekly magazine of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry about the stimulus programme for tourism.

*What is the theme of the VITM 2014?

The second edition of VITM emphasises two topics: The first is the tourism stimulus and the second is the responsibility to natural and social environments.

Previously, each year had one peak reason and one slack season. During the slack season, travel companies cut prices to attract tourists. Now, instead of stimulating demand in one point of time or a location with few tourists, we launch a wide-ranging stimulus programme over consecutive years to create strong nationwide movements.

VITM 2013 launched a stimulus programme and sold over 6,000 tours. This year, to promote the results of the previous year, the fair will focus on stimulus. And all attendants build and introduce stimulated products for tourists and enterprises.

VITM 2014 highlights responsibility to natural and social environment as tourism has developed and become an important economic sector of the country with 1.8 million workers. Hence, tourism activities have many impacts on natural and social environments. If tourism workers have no sense of responsibility and no products friendly to the social and natural environments, tourism will cause adverse consequences for the nation. This topic will be highlighted throughout the fair.

*What are new features of VITM 2014?

This mart has three new points. Firstly, stimulus is the overarching theme, thus all exhibitors are required to join the stimulus programme and a series of clubs.

Secondly, the deep professionalism of the fair is expressed by environmentally responsible products introduced by attending companies and exchanges for product development, tourism promotion and personnel training. And

Thirdly, the cooperation of tourism companies will be a highlighted activity of the fair. Some tourism clubs will debut during the event.

This year, Japan is chosen as the guest of honour; hence, a series of Japan’s activities will link Vietnamese companies with partners in Japan and other markets.

*Why does VITM 2014 focus on outbound markets?

Outbound travel is very important, but we lack attention for its development for long. Thus, this mart hopes to lift this market to be on par with the two other forms of tourism.

More and more Vietnamese people travel abroad. According to unofficial statistics, four million Vietnamese people travelled abroad last year. So, this fair will give emphasis to outbound tourism to gather businesses and improve their capacity to serve Vietnamese travellers when they go abroad.

When travel companies form a force, they will enhance their service capabilities and establish international service standards for Vietnamese tourists. These are necessary to elevate the position of Vietnamese people and tourists on the international scene.

*Could you tell us about new products and destinations that the organisers will introduce to international visitors?

Introducing new products is always a highlight of tourist events. VITM 2014 will give top priority to new products, especially those from traditional cultures of ethnic minorities, and the majestic scenery of the northwestern and northeastern mountainous regions.

In addition, the fair will feature the Mekong Delta – a unique lowland which is completely different from many other countries in the region, and the Central Highlands - the land of wilderness, the place of appealing tourism products to both domestic and foreign tourists.-VNA