A gala night to promote Vietnam’s tourism was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Dec. 20 as part of Vietnam’s campaign to develop this non-smoke industry in 2011.

The tourism promotion programme aims to introduce Vietnam’s land and people, culture and its incentives for tourists.

The gala night, co-held by the Vietnam Tourism Administration (VTA), the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia and Malaysia’s Tourism Administration, was attended by officials as well as representatives from tourist agents and the media of the two countries.

Pham Quang Hung, Head of the VTA’s International Cooperation Department, said Malaysia is Vietnam’s top market among ASEAN. Next year, the tourism industry will focus on Malaysia and Indonesia as these two regional markets are close to Vietnam both in terms of geographical location and culture.

In 2010, Vietnam expects to welcome some 5 million foreign visitors. The country set a higher target for 2011, prioritising near markets while exploring distant others.

However, according to Hung, tourist services should be improved and tourist guides should be trained professionally in order to draw foreign visitors to return.

The tourism promotion programme provided Vietnamese tourist businesses an opportunity to directly meet and work with Malaysian tourist companies and agents to exchange information and discuss contracts./.