Non-professional services, poor tours and weak co-operation among provinces are the main reasons that tourism has not developed well in the Mekong Delta region, heard a recent conference organised in Can Tho city.

At the conference, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan said the number of foreign visitors was limited and those who did visit did not stay long.

Tourism products are unattractive and often overlap in purpose, he said, adding that tours in Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Vinh Long are similar.

The region is defined as one of the country’s seven key tourism areas.

In 2013, it welcomed 1.6 million foreign visitors, accounting for only 8.3 percent of the total foreign visitors coming to Vietnam.

Regional turnover from tourism in the year was 5.1 billion VND (250,000 USD), or 2.7 percent of the national figure.

Pham Trung Luong, an expert from the Institute for Tourism Development Research, said a tourism model for the entire region remains absent and the role of the tourism associations is not strong enough.
Therefore, the regional provinces need to work together to improve competitiveness, he said, adding that they need a leader to help connect regional members with other countries to open tours on the Mekong River and tours to Cambodia and Thailand.

Deputy Minister Tuan spoke about the setting up of a coordinating board that would act as a leader and coordinator for regional tourism activities.

In the next three months, the institute would set up a plan to develop typical tourism products for the region, he said.

Other participants suggested developing homestays and luxury accommodations and improving the quality of infrastructure and tourism staff.

By 2015, the region expects to need more than 37,000 rooms for 2.7 million foreign visitors and 5.7 million domestic visitors.-VNA
By 2020, the total would be 3.9 million foreign tourists and 6.5 domestic tourists. To meet the demand, the area would need 50,000 rooms./.