Foreign tourists on the The Huc bridge by Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi's downtown (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Representatives from ministries, sectors, and firms gathered at a conference in Hanoi on October 17 to seek ways to promote tourism and attract international visitors.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huynh Vinh Ai urged ministries and sectors to continue the momentum in the third quarter of this year and ensure tourism grows despite the impacts of floods.

To realise the targeted growth of 13 percent, the sector needs to see an increase of 30 percent in the number of foreign visitors in 2017, or 13 million people.

Deputy Director of the Da Nang City Tourism Department Tran Chi Cuong said the number of international tourists to the central city so far this year has doubled that from the same period last year, with most arrivals from China and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

The city’s targets of a 38 percent year-on-year increase in number of tourists, with the surge in international arrivals at 26 percent, are in reach, Cuong said.

Da Nang served more than 680,000 Korean visitors in the first nine months of the year, largely thanks to the three direct air routes connecting the city and the two countries. About 80 flights from seven airlines are offered between Da Nang and the RoK, Cuong said, adding that the city also welcomed 90,000 tourists from cruise ships, up 65 percent year on year.

Some 28,000 Japanese visitors came to Da Nang in the January - September period, driven by the launch of Japan – Da Nang direct flights.

Da Nang has focused on developing new tourism products, such as walking streets and festivals and forming connections among Da Nang and Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces.

A representative from Ben Thanh Tourism Ageny suggested more direct international flights be opened and visa procedures be simplified to enhance the sector’s competitiveness.

The tourism sector should also improve its human resources, particularly the quality of tour guides, he said.

According to a representative from the Vietnam Aviation Administration (VAA), big investment has been made to upgrade infrastructure at Vietnam’s tourism destinations, including several new airports.

VAA has made efforts to support the tourism sector and will continue working with tourist agencies if necessary.

Participants agreed priority should also be given to raising the awareness of the importance of tourism in socio-economic development.

Supervision should be strengthened while local administrations enhance their management of tourism sites, products and local tourism associations.

Up to September, Vietnam welcomed 9.45 million foreign visitors, up 28.4 percent year on year, and served 57.9 million domestic ones. The sector earned 376 trillion VND (16.54 million USD), up 26.5 percent from the same period last year.-VNA