Many localities across the country hosted warm welcoming ceremonies for the first foreign tourists to arrive on New Year’s Day.
Many foreigners opted for Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Quang Nam, and Thua Thien – Hue as their first destinations to visit in 2017. Meanwhile, Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province, Thanh Thuy hot spring in Phu Tho Province and Dien Bien Phu Battlefield Relics Complex in Dien Bien Province also welcomed many domestic visitor groups on the same day.
Leaders of many localities were present at border gates and airports to welcome the first tourists. Thomas Bauche from Germany, the first foreign visitor to the capital city in 2017, was greeted at a ceremony held at Noi Bai International Airport by the Ha Noi Department of Tourism. Politburo member and President of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan delivered a welcoming greeting in German.
Thomas said that last year he had the pleasure to travel to Viet Nam for three weeks, adding that the land and people of Viet Nam were so wonderful that he decided to visit the country again with his wife.
Thomas’s words are an encouraging sign for Viet Nam’s tourism sector for the New Year 2017, as one of the most foreseeable shortcomings of the sector is the fact that many visitors visit the country once without returning again. This is a consequence of poor infrastructure, services and tourist products as well as the lack of professionalism among those working in the industry.
However, the situation has improved recently, which can be seen through the increasing number of visitors returning to Viet Nam after their initial trips, contributing a record number of 10 million foreign tourists in 2016 for the first time.
In addition to the all-round effort from the sector staff, the success of the sector last year was also contributed to by the special care and sound guidelines issued by the Party and State. The Politburo approved a Resolution on turning tourism into the country's spearhead economic sector. Many policies aiming to create breakthroughs for the tourism sector were revised at a national conference on tourism development held in August under the chair of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, with the first priorities identified as simplifying visa procedures, opening new direct air routes to major tourist markets, enhancing management at tourist sites, improving the quality of tourist services, and using the funds allocated for tourism development in a more effective way.
A number of conferences, seminars and forums have also been held to raise public awareness of sustainable tourism development, particularly those working in the field.
Welcoming ceremonies for first visitors on New Year’s Day showed the close watch of the hospitality sector’s leaders, who have held the important role played by the industry in the overall development of the country. To fulfil the assigned task of turning tourism into a spearhead economic sector, the staff should not be content only with the fruitful achievements they gained last year but look at existing shortcomings and seek ways to address them in order to attain sustainable development.
It is hoped that the encouraging sign on New Year’s Day will bring about good results for Viet Nam’s tourism in 2017.