Representatives from 43 leading Japanese travel firms will survey the tourism opportunities in Vietnam from September 8-12, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

The Japanese companies plan to research a number of destinations that are popular with Japanese visitors, such as Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam and Ho Chi Minh City to kick start tourist packages to Vietnam after a period of decline due to the global economic crisis.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh and leaders of the VNAT will meet with representatives of the Japanese Travel Agents Association (JATA ) and the Japanese travel agents to inform them about promotional programmes in Vietnam in October to attract more visitors from this key market.

Nguyen Van Tran, General Director of APEX, a Japanese-Vietnamese joint venture company, the survey trips organiser, said that they were confident of luring more Japanese tourists to Vietnam . APEX has already 1,000 Japanese visitors booked for tours from now until December.

In 2008, the VNAT and the JATA signed an agreement to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries, aiming to raise the number of Japanese visitors coming to Vietnam from over 400,000 in 2007 to 600,000 by 2010.

However, the number of Japanese visitors visiting Vietnam has fallen since 2008 due to the global economic crisis, with only around 229,000 making the trips in the first eight months of this year, a decrease of 11.4 percent when compared to the same period last year.

JATA agreed to list Vietnam as one of the top ten destinations in its “Visit the World Campaign”, which aims to increase the number of Japanese tourists going abroad to 20 million by 2010. Other destinations on the list are Guam, Hawaii, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong and France./.