US-DPRK summit: a golden opportunity for Vietnam’s tourism

This unique event will open a new door for Vietnam’s tourism sector to welcome in a flood of international visitors from many potential markets.
US-DPRK summit: a golden opportunity for Vietnam’s tourism ảnh 1A bicycle parade for peace along Hanoi streets on the occasion (Photo: Lam Khanh/VNA)

This unique event will open a new door for Vietnam’s tourism sector to welcome in a flood of international visitors from many potential markets.

The upcoming second US-DPRK summit will soon be taking place in the capital city of Hanoi. It is considered a good opportunity for the tourism sector to promote the image of the country, people, and culture of Vietnam, especially towards advertising Vietnam as a safe, friendly, and hospitable destination and a country that stands for peace. This unique event contributes to opening a new door for the Vietnamese tourism sector to greet flows of international visitors from many potential markets.

Effective promotion opportunities

Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism) Ha Van Sieu affirmed that the second US-DPRK Summit taking place in Hanoi is going to be a major event of global influence.

As such, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has defined that it is a great chance for the tourism industry to promote the image of Vietnam, its people, and attractive destinations through international media. This event will help paint a picture of Vietnam, not only as a beautiful, safe, and friendly destination, but also as a destination of peace to international onlookers. The image and position of the Southeast Asian country will be broadcast around the world, contributing to attracting more foreign visitors in the time ahead.

The summit provides an effective on-site promotion activity, drawing thousands of reporters from international media and press agencies. As such, the local tourism industry is looking to spread scenic visuals, information, and stories of local tourism products and services across the leading global media sources, popular social media sites, and e-newspapers, with their readerships reaching billions of people.

US-DPRK summit: a golden opportunity for Vietnam’s tourism ảnh 2 Photo of US President Barack Obama eating bun cha in Hanoi was posted on Twitter by the famous American host Anthony Bourdain on May 23, 2016. (Source: Twitter)

Photographs featuring former Australian Prime Minister John Howard jogging in the morning around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi when he was here for the 14th APEC Summit, and former US President Barack Obama eating bun cha (charcoal grilled pork) at a popular restaurant on Le Van Huu street in Hanoi and having a conversation with a tea vendor at Me Tri market have helped to lure in more international visitors. They vividly promote the image of a safe and hospitable Vietnam.

Hoang Nhan Chinh, head of the Secretariat of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Council, said that before, during, and after the two-day summit, the name “Vietnam” and the country’s reputation is likely to be discussed with great frequency in international media, with footage televised live around the world. This is clearly a valuable opportunity to promote the image of Vietnam, Chinh said, adding that the tourism industry should take advantage of this occasion to promote Vietnamese tourism abroad.

Normally, countries have to spend a large amount of money to invite international journalists, especially big, prestigious media companies, to take part in survey trips to write news and articles about their tourism. As the historic summit is being held in Vietnam, thousands of international journalists have proactively applied to come to cover the event. In addition, billions of people will be watching the event through the media and the country will no doubt be advertised in powerful and effective manner.

Building a portrait of a peaceful, hospitable destination

Hoang Nhan Chinh said that the journalists who cover the event will be the target of the tourism industry and approached in an appropriate manner. For example, the tourism industry can organise free-of-charge tours and suggest sightseeing places, such as Van Mieu (Vietnam’s first university), Tran Quoc Pagoda, Ho Tay (West Lake), Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, or other places where heads of state have previously visited or eaten at. This can help visiting media professionals to proactively collect materials about these destinations so if they want to write something about them, they will have useful information and photos to add into their stories.

US-DPRK summit: a golden opportunity for Vietnam’s tourism ảnh 3 A big board on the US-DPRK summit on a Hanoi street. (Photo: Trong Dat/VNA)

Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu stated that to make good use of this historic opportunity, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in proactively providing information and data (digital data and images) to introduce Vietnam’s tourism, as well as connecting the website promoting and introducing Vietnam’s tourism with the international press registration page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has prepared promotional clips about Vietnam’s tourism, such as a five and a half minute video featuring “Vietnam – endless beauty” and three new clips advertising Vietnamese cuisine, heritages, and seas to international journalists.

In addition to that, the designated press building will also feature a space with tourist information, top destinations, and photographs exclusively depicting the beauty of different regions and peoples in the country.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has developed attractive tours around Hanoi, as well as those to Ninh Binh, Ha Long Bay, and Sa Pa to meet the needs of international journalists, thereby promoting Vietnam’s tourism destinations and products.

The agency has worked with Hanoi to strengthen the beautification of urban areas. Many streets have had recent makeover, while accommodation facilities and hotels have been well prepared to provide new services.

According to Ha Van Sieu, the state management agency for tourism have pinned high hopes on international visitors bringing home impressions of a safe, hospitable Vietnam and a warm, welcoming population following the second US-DPRK summit.

Open the door for the future

Phi Thi Thu Khuyen, deputy head of marketing and communications for Vietrantour, said that this event is a good opportunity for travel companies to highlight Vietnam as a destination of peace, safety, and prosperity.

The state management agencies for tourism and Hanoi authorities should speed up communications campaigns to advertise the tourism, food, people, and historical and cultural relics of Hanoi. At the same time, travel agencies need to be supported to launch Hanoi tours which include places associated with the historical summit after the event ends.

Hoang Nhan Chinh said he believes that after the summit, there is likely to be a stronger current of US tourists flowing through Vietnam. He cited previous cases whereby the release of French films “L’Amant” and “Indochine” featuring Vietnam led to a rise in French visitors to the country.

The US is a key source of tourism for all countries around the world as North American holidaymakers often stay for long durations and spend more. Countries in the ASEAN region, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia, have all adopted special policies to attract US visitors, such as opening direct flight routes and offering visa exemptions. In addition to US tourists, travel companies are suggested to attract more tourists from the Republic of Korea after the second US-DPRK summit.

In anticipation of this opportunity, besides preparing tourism products related to the summit and connecting with domestic attractions and destinations, experts advised that Vietnam also develop some other priority policies.

The first is to open a direct route to the US, which will not only attract more visitors from the US market, but also those from Canada and other North American countries – altogether a huge market with year-round visitors. The Tourism Advisory Council sent a letter to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, proposing the expansion of international airports like Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat as they are currently operating beyond their capacity.

Vietnam currently has good infrastructure, with many US hotel management groups having made their presence in the country and set up service standards for the market. However, the tourism industry’s mission is to upgrade the quality of services offered at destinations, and continue maintaining and applying sound policies, including those regarding visas.

As hosts of many international conferences and events that brought together the heads of state from many countries worldwide, Hanoi and the central city of Da Nang should focus on exploiting their capacity in developing the meeting, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) sector. This type of tourism attracts businesspeople and firms, opening up many opportunities for economic investment and generating long-term benefits applicable to a range of sectors. –VNA


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