Vietnam joins ASEAN to promote regional tourism hinh anh 1Trang An Complex is one of the many famous destinations in Vietnam. (
Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam has many strong points to help its tourism industry grow and compete with other countries in the region, said tourism expert Pham Truong Hoang from the National University of Economics.

“Vietnam possesses beautiful nature and many tourist destinations, and the service prices are cheap,” Hoang said. “That’s our advantage to make national tourism industry grow steadily and rapidly.”

He analysed Vietnam’s potential for promoting tourism and the challenges it may face at a conference on ASEAN’s tourism strategic plan for 2016-25 and Vietnam’s integration into the regional tourism industry.

The conference was held on March 30 in Hanoi and was attended by travel agents and experts.

The Vietnam Administration of Tourism (VNAT) organised the conference with an aim of devising a strategy to develop tourism in ASEAN, defining Vietnam’s role in developing regional tourism, and outlining ways that the country can better integrate into the ASEAN tourism market.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, the number of international tourists who travelled to Southeast Asia was 96.7 million in 2014. The region has seen annual growth of 7.9 percent, which is the highest after South Asia (8.6 percent).

“By 2025, ASEAN will be a quality tourism destination offering a unique, diverse ASEAN experience, and will be committed to responsible, sustainable, inclusive and balanced tourism development, so as to contribute significantly to the socio-economic well-being of ASEAN people,” said Tran Phu Cuong, Deputy Director of VNAT’s International Cooperation Department.

“To work towards the vision for ASEAN tourism over the next decade, it will be necessary to complete and continue existing initiatives, such as the marketing of ASEAN as a single destination and the implementation of ASEAN tourism standards,” said Cuong.

“Global competitiveness reports and surveys reveal that ASEAN’s natural and cultural heritage is one of its key competitive strengths. The main weaknesses are in the areas of infrastructure, the business environment, regulatory framework and human resources.”

Deputy Director Cuong said this year, Vietnam will continue the implementation of the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP); adopt new and innovative approaches to destination and product development and marketing; work with other agencies to influence connectivity, investment, safety and security, as well as natural and cultural heritage conservation.-VNA