Vietnam launched a national tourism promotion campaign at a press conference in Hanoi on July 9 with a commitment of ensuring safety and service quality for foreign tourists.

The campaign “Exciting Vietnam: Vietnam – A safe, friendly and attractive destination” aims to further tourism development while affirming the country always welcome international tourists around the world, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan said.

It focuses on 14 activities, including a fact-finding tour for domestic and foreign reporters to some key destinations from July 9-15 so that they can see with their own eyes tourism activities in the country.

The sector also welcomes delegations of foreign travel agencies from the country’s key and promising markets such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, France and the US. The scale of promotional activities in major markets will be expanded while linkages with regional countries will be strengthened under the campaign.

Although facing difficulties and challenges, the tourism sector has maintained a stable growth, raking in 200 trillion VND (9.5 billion USD) from welcoming 7.57 million foreign visitors and 32.5 million local holiday-makers in 2013, Tuan said.

In the first six months of this year, the sector served 4.28 million foreigners, up 21 percent, and 23.4 million local tourists, earning 125 trillion VND (5.87 billion VND).

However, tensions in the East Sea caused by China’s illegal deployment of its drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelfs since early May have affected Vietnam tourism through a reduction in the number of Chinese visitors in May and June, according to Nguyen Manh Cuong, Deputy Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. He added that however, the aggregate number of Chinese tourists in the first six months still showed a year-on-year rise of 34 percent.

Cuong affirmed that the sector still maintains normal operations to welcome foreign travellers, adding promotion activities are being carried out in foreign markets, including China, as planned.

Regarding sea and island tourism development plan, Deputy Minister Tuan said the country has great potential in the area with long coastline and beautiful beaches, and the tourism sector has developed many sea and island tours.

Besides, sea liner tourism is thriving, but it faces some difficulties such as ports for large ships, he said.

The Chan May port in central Thua Thien-Hue province has been selected for upgrading with the aim to welcome 6,000-passenger-capacity ships, he revealed.-VNA