Illustrative image. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a master plan on use of information technology in promoting tourism from 2018 – 2020, with a vision to 2025.

The plan aims to create a digital database of tour guides, travel agencies, hotels and lodging providers nationwide as well as of tourist complexes and destinations and tourists by 2020. A range of mobile applications will be developed to provide tourists with all they need to know about the tourist destinations and tourist services and products there while audio guides will also be available in popular languages.

Better connection will be established among central and local tourism authorities and tourism service providers.

By 2025, Vietnam will develop a smart eco-tourism environment in tandem with smart cities and foster the use of artificial intelligence, virtual assistant and other advanced technology to better serve tourists and support operation of tour operators and tourism authorities.

All are set to take the country to the Top 4 countries in Southeast Asia in terms of competitiveness in tourism.

According to the Vietnam Tourism Association (VNTA), the smart travel segment has plenty of room for growth.

Last year, the VNTA reported that online travel sales volume in Vietnam would maintain a yearly growth rate of 12 percent for the next three years, and  50 million Vietnamese people or 53 percent of the population, had Internet access and 78 percent of them had regular access to the Internet. All travel agents use the Internet to advertise their products and services.

Vietnam’s tourism industry is booming and is fast becoming the driving force behind economic growth. The “smoke-free” industry has witnessed spectacular success in the past few years with higher growth rate every year.

Last year, nearly 13 million foreign visitors came to Vietnam, earning the country more than 500 trillion VND (22 billion USD). That was up 30 percent and 20 percent year on year, respectively.

Vietnam’s tourism ranked sixth in the top 10 fastest growing tourism destinations globally and was crowned the best performer in Asia in 2017. The industry last year contributed 7.5 per cent to the nation’s GDP.

The nation hopes to welcome 17-20 million foreign arrivals and 82 million domestic tourists by 2020. Tourism revenue is expected to reach 35 billion USD, contributing 10 percent to the country’s GDP by then, and the industry may create four million jobs, including 1.6 million direct jobs. –VNA