Currently, Vietnam's tourism industry is rushing to complete its works set for the year and prepare development plans for the next year. General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Van Tuan spoke with Vietnam Business Forum about existing issues of this year and preparations for 2015.

*Thanh Hoa province will host the National Tourism Year 2015 with the theme of “Connecting world heritages.” Could you please tell us what needs to be done to develop the tourism industry and connect world heritages?

Thanh Hoa is endowed with rich resources for culture and marine tourism. The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty was recognised as the World Cultural Heritage Site. Lam Kinh relic was recognised as the specially national relic. Sam Son is a well-known beach destination. Now, the province only needs to build these places into truly attractive destinations that bring joy and trust to tourists. Thanh Hoa also needs to cooperate with Ninh Binh and other provinces taking part in the National Tourism Year 2015.

*Trang An-Ninh Binh, a famous site near Thanh Hoa, was recognised by UNESCO as the World Heritage Site. How important is the connection of heritages inside and outside the region?

The recognition of Trang An - Ninh Binh as a world natural heritage by UNESCO - the first mixed heritage in Vietnam and Southeast Asia - affirms the extraordinary value of this destination and proves the tireless efforts of Ninh Binh and the enormous contributions of Xuan Truong Company in creating a new image and a new destination. Now, Ninh Binh province must continue to enhance the quality of tourism products and services and boost marketing and promotion activities. It also needs to link with attractions in other provinces in the region, especially with Ha Long (Quang Ninh province), Cat Ba (Hai Phong city) and Hanoi to define a key destination in the northern region. It also needs to train human resources and invest in facilities to upgrade what Ninh Binh province has done in the past time.

*Tourism agencies have experienced a tough time. Could you talk about solutions that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has taken to support them to deal with short-term and long-term difficulties?

Clearly, tensions on the East Sea caused substantial impacts on the tourism industry. The Government and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism actively directed localities and businesses to respond this hard time and focus for the phase from now till 2015-2016.

Accordingly, the tourism sector will focus on five issues: Maintaining tourism operations in a normal way, control service quality, ensure security and safety for tourists to build up the tourist confidence; expanding markets to offset the drop in Chinese tourists and other nationalities; expanding tourism marketing and promotion; proposing policies to support and facilitate tourists in Vietnam. Particularly, the tourism sector also launched a tourism stimulus programme to increase the domestic demand with the message “Vietnamese people travel Vietnam, every trip enriches patriotism”.-VNA