International tourists at One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnamese and Russian tourism businesses signed cooperation agreements to increase the exchange of tourists between the two countries and support each other in implementing tourism development plans, at a conference in Hanoi on April 15, as part of the ongoing Vietnam International Tourism Mart.

Director General of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Van Tuan raised the fact that the number of Russian tourists to Vietnam increased by an average of 35.6 percent, from over 100,000 to nearly 339,000 in the 2011-2015 period.

In the first three months of 2016, the number of Russian tourists to Vietnam bounced back at 13.5 percent to reach 110,000 after a reduction of over 7 percent in 2015, he said, adding that Russia now ranks sixth among countries having the biggest volume of tourists to Vietnam.

The VNAT along with localities and businesses has worked to popularise Vietnam as a safe, attractive, and hi-end destination to draw more Russian tourists, he added.

Participants proposed the two countries’ tourism management agencies as well as localities and businesses facilitate the travel of holidaymakers from Russia to Vietnam and vice versa.

Vietnamese representatives introduced the Southeast Asian country’s tourism policies and services, and asked Russia to support Vietnam to study the tourism market and seek Russian partners.

Russia is urged to coordinate with Vietnam to encourage Russian citizens to travel to Vietnam, while facilitating the entrance of Vietnamese tourists to the host country.

Deputy head of Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency Sergei Korneev said Vietnam should popularise itself as a safe destination to attract Russian tourists.

It is also important to study the tastes of Russian customers to create proper tourism products and programmes, he said, adding that Vietnam should invest in large-scale hotels and full-package services.

He noted that Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency has opened a representative office in Hanoi to introduce Russian tourism products.

On the occasion, the Vietnam Tourism Association launched the Hanoi-Phu Yen-Binh Dinh tourism package designed specially for Russian tourists with 20-30 percent discounts.

Vietnam and Russia will move to jointly set up a business club to welcome tourists between the two countries.

Russia will continue to propose to the Vietnamese Government to extend the visa exemption for Russian tourists to 30 days, instead of 15 days at present, and suggest Vietnam Airlines re-open direct flights to some attractive destinations in Vietnam.-VNA