2013 is set to be a bumper year for the tourism sector as it has already welcomed 6.8 million visitors in the first eleven months so far, which represents an increase of 10.2 percent over the same period last year, says Nhan Dan Online.

This sharp increase in growth could mean that the sector sees 42.4 million tourists, including 7.4 million foreigners; possibly reaching total revenue of 195 trillion VND in 2013.

After four-years of recovery from impacts felt within the sector due to the world’s economic recession in 2009, the number of foreign holiday-makers to Vietnam has doubled and the revenue earned from tourism is 2.2 times higher.

The figures show that the sector has reached 2015 targets set in the Strategy on Developing Vietnam’s tourism two years ahead. It is likely that the targets for 2014 of attracting 48 million visitors, including 8 million foreigners, and earning 220 trillion VND in total revenue, could be met.

These impressive achievements are the result of clear-sighted guidelines set by the Party, State and Government over the past years, as part of aims to build tourism up into a key industry. Favourable conditions, including a sharp increase in interest from foreign visitors in visiting Vietnam’s abundant tourist attractions; with which the country is naturally blessed, have contributed to the success.

Notably, at the beginning of this year, the number of visitors to Vietnam slumped slightly; leading those working in the field to investigate why. They found that some shortcomings in the sector’s operation, which can be dealt with, include weak management, poor sanitary conditions, increases in tourists being cheated during high season, unattractive and unoriginal tourist products, limitations in marketing and the lack of human resources working in the field.

However, throughout the entire sector efforts were made and, helped by effective co-ordination with relevant units, most of the weaknesses have begun to be addressed, ensuring the sector’s development stays on track. The infrastructure for the country’s tourism sector has been improved and the staff, directly and indirectly working in the field, are increasing and their training is improving.

For the upcoming peak tourist season of New Year 2014, the hospitality sector will focus on realising the Government Instruction on health and safety as well as ensuring security for visitors. One of the goals under this is to build hygienic toilets at all tourist sites.

It is expected that the hospitality sector will continue to create momentum for its robust development in a bid to achieving its 2014 target of attracting 48 million visitors, including 8 million foreigners, and earning 220 trillion VND in total revenue.-VNA