Ho Chi Minh City: Tagged as the largest travel trade event in the Mekong sub-region for both inbound and outbound markets, the 14th edition of ITE HCMC (International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City) 2018, had a strong entourage of more than 300 companies and brands from Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan and Thailand besides Vietnam.
This year’s event was aimed at expanding the market share of Vietnam’s international visitors in four key areas – Northeast Asia, North America, Europe and Southeast Asia
Held from September 6 to 8, this year’s edition was aimed at expanding the market share of Vietnam’s international visitors in four key areas – Northeast Asia, North America, Europe and Southeast Asia – and to creating a breakthrough in the country’s tourism promotion from 2018 to 2020. Over 36 Departments of Tourism (DoTs) from Vietnamese provinces and cities also participated.
Nguyen Ngoc Thien, Minister, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vietnam; Tran Vinh Tuyen, Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee; Bui Ta Hoang Vu, Director, Ho Chi Minh City, Department of Tourism; Jack Wei, General Manager, Informa Exhibitions Asia; Pham Dang Khanh, VINEXAD Saigon; Bui Duy Quang, Deputy Director, Investment Trade & Tourism Promotion Agency Hanoi; Ho An Phong, Director, Department of Tourism, Quang Binh; Nguyen Quy Phuong, Head of the Travel Division, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and La Quoc Khanh, Deputy Director, Department of Tourism, Ho Chi Minh City were among the dignitaries who attended the show.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in Vietnam, with more than 9 million international visitors arriving on its shores in the first seven months of 2018, an increase of 25.4 per cent over the same period last year. In addition, the outbound tourism market is also growing each year with a robust 7.5 million Vietnamese travelling abroad in 2017.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vietnam, on the sidelines of ITE HCMC 2018, organised a conference on Vietnam-China Tourism Cooperation in association with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam in a bid to strengthen tourism-related activities between the two countries. Of late, China has emerged as one of the biggest tourism markets for Vietnam. Chinese travellers constitute more than 30 per cent of total FTAs to Vietnam. In 2017, Vietnam welcomed over 4 million Chinese tourists, registering an increase of 48.6 per cent compared to 2016. The total FTAs to Vietnam in 2017 was almost 13 million.
However, the share of Indian travellers in Vietnam’s international tourist arrivals remains low. The absence of direct flight from India to Vietnam is cited as the primary reason for the lesser interest shown by Indian tourists, who largely flock to Thailand and Malaysia. At the Vietnam – India Business Forum held in March 2018, Vietjet announced its plan to operate direct route connecting Vietnam and India in order to serve the travel demands of the two peoples and to contribute to the region’s integration and trade exchange.
The low cost carrier is looking to connect Ho Chi Minh City with New Delhi with four flights per week. However, the exact dates of the commencement of operations is yet to be announced. “Hopefully, there will be a larger inflow of tourists from India once there is direct connectivity,” said Nguyen Quy Phuong, Head of the Travel Division, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT). Sudeshna Ramkumar, Assistant Director, India Tourism Singapore led the Incredible India pavilion at ITE HCMC 2018. Jeevan Kandpal, Consul & Head of Chancery, Consulate General of India, Ho Chi Minh City visited the pavilion on the opening day.
ITE HCMC is jointly organised by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Department of Tourism Ho Chi Minh City, VINEXAD Trade Fair & Advertising and Informa Exhibitions. It is the only travel event endorsed by the Tourism Alliance of all five countries in the Mekong sub-region. This includes support from Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia; Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Laos; Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, Myanmar; and Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand.
“Next year would be even more exciting with the Vietnam Tourism Year 2019,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Tourism said. “Many special festivals, events, and activities will be organised country-wide, and visitors will get an authentic taste of the different Vietnamese cultures, traditions and of course, sights and scenery. We have also recently turned our attention to driving luxury MICE tourism and dental tourism, so there are ever more reasons to visit Vietnam.”