While in many countries tourism contributes remarkably to the economy, it makes up less than seven percent of Vietnam’s GDP. The figure is modest compared to the country’s potential.

Vietnam is home to eight world natural heritage sites and 11 intangible cultural heritage sites recognised by UNESCO, a vivid manifestation of a beautiful and diversified culture country.

The country also boasts more than 3,000km of coastline and thousands of islands and islets together with pristine beaches.

However, the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP is below seven percent. What are the reasons behind this?

According to Nguyen Anh Duong, economic expert at the Central Institute for Economic Management, the first reason is infrastructure, including supporting services which fail to meet tourists’ demand.

“As a result, visitors to Vietnam enjoy sightseeing but not during a long stay”, he said, adding that some travel organisations do not apply the same service prices for foreign tourists and domestic ones, which gives a bad impression to foreign visitors.

Service quality, product prices are also issues of visitors’ concern when they visit Vietnam.

Nguyen Linh, Executive Manager from A Travelmate Company suggested traffic signs be in both Vietnamese and English.

Added to this, visas should be granted at border gates to simplify administrative procedures and save tourists and travel agents’ time, he said.

The tourism sector plays an important role in boosting other economic sectors, such as transport, entertainment, trade and several supporting services, such as communications and banking.

“To implement the Politburo’s resolution to turn tourism into an economic spearhead, we have proposed strengthening the development of infrastructure, including road, aviation, railway, and sea links,” said Pham Phuong Thao, deputy head of Travel Department under the Vietnam Administration of Tourism.

The tourism sector is aiming to make breakthroughs. The sector needs to follow the market’s demand and adapt to socio-economic and political changes at home and abroad.-VNA