Promoting domestic tourism has been defined a key contributor to the sector’s growth this year, heard a conference held by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) on April 5.

This was also part of the Government’s Resolution 92/NQ-CP issued on December 2014, which aims to seek measures to address shortcomings and weaknesses facing the Vietnamese tourism for sustainable growth.

As looking to cater for 37.5 million domestic tourists this year, the sector has encouraged localities with high tourism potential to introduce more new tourism products and commit to building a friendly and safe environment for tourists.

Local people have been called to get involved in providing “home stay” services while travel agencies were asked to adopt promotion campaigns and collaborate with airlines to offer discounted flight fares and tours.

Ministries were required to roll out more support policies for tourism companies, which are considered the decisive force for the sector’s development.

According to VNAT Director Nguyen Van Tuan, the tourism sector has yet to fully tap the country’s rich and diverse natural resources and landscapes, especially maritime and island potential.

Regarding the declining number of foreign tourists in recent months, he pointed to the poor competitiveness of the sector compared to regional peers, in terms of visa conditions, air services, and information access.

Currently, Vietnam granted visa exemption only to visitors from the 10 ASEAN countries, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Denmark, Northway and Finland.

A few number of direct air routes was set up between Vietnam and its tourism markets and investments poured into tourism promotion remain inadequate, noted Tuan.

Vietnam welcomed 7.87 million foreign tourists and 38.5 domestic tourists in 2014.-VNA