Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Tourism officials from northwestern provinces gathered at a workshop in Hanoi on April 15 to seek solutions to draw tourists to a region full of untapped tourism potential.

The event was organised by the Steering Committee for the Northwestern Region (SCNR), the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the Vietnam Tourism Association in the framework of the Vietnam International Tourism Mart (VITM) that is taking place in Hanoi from April 14-17.

Speaking at the conference, Hau A Lenh, Deputy Head of the SCNR, said with a rich and diverse cultural space, spectacular landscape and diverse ecology, the northwestern region has great potential and many advantages to develop tourism.

However, great distance, difficult terrains, poor infrastructure and limited resources have been factors preventing the region’s tourism development.

Lenh considered cooperation between provinces as a way to overcome challenges and help each province take advantages of each locality’s strong points, adding that some linkage and cooperation models have produced results.

According to participants, the region lacks high-class tourism services to keep tourists staying longer. Promotion has not been good as well, with the number of travel firms operating in the region being limited.

They said that the region needs to call for investment in tourism and road infrastructure.

Localities are also advised to develop distinctive and green products based on the unique cultural values, landscape, and diverse biological environment of the region.

According to data from provinces in the region and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the number of tourists visiting the region grows 10 percent on average each year, reaching 8.9 million in 2015. Of which, 1.6 million are international visitors.

The region hopes to welcome 2.3 million international visitors and 14 million local tourists by 2020.

On the occasion, the SCNR, the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and the Vietnam Tourism Association signed an agreement on cooperation to bring more tourists to the northwest.-VNA