Saigon Tourism Corp. (Saigontourist) said it has set a target of becoming a leading tourism economic group in Vietnam and the region.

“[Our target is] becoming a leading tourism economic group in Vietnam and the region, especially in accommodation, travel, cuisine and tourism services, contributing to turning tourism into a spearhead industry of Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam at large”, said Saigontourist’s director general Tran Hung Viet when mentioning the corporation’s action plan in the 2012-2015 period.

Saigontourist is striving to post an average growth rate of over 11.4 percent this year and welcome 1.63 million tourists, up 3 percent, earning 12.6 trillion VND, up 11.2 percent, respectively.

To achieve these objectives, Saigontourist has outlined major tasks and mesures for 2012, including heightening the corporation’s brand name, improving the efficiency of advertisement and marketing, pouring more investment into financial sector and other areas of the corporation’s strengths, diversifying products, raising the quality of its services and paying more attention to human resources, Hung said.

Last year, Saigontourist received nearly 1.6 million visitors, a year-on-year increase of 2.6 percent. The corporation grossed more than 11 trillion VND, up 14.6 percent against 2010 and 8 percent compared with the set target.

In 2011, Vietnam welcomed some 6.1 million foreign tourists, a surge of 19.1 percent over 2010. Ho Chi Minh City alone served 3.5 million international holiday makers, up 12.9 percent./.