10:21 | 14/12/2017 Travel
(VEN) - A leading American tourism official told an event hosted by the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA) on November 11 that Vietnam is considered a unique and different destination. Jay Ellenby, chairman of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), was the guest of honor at the event designed to help foster US–Vietnam tourism development.
The US, the largest economy in the world, has huge potential in tourism development, both in inbound, outbound and domestic travel. American travelers spend more than any other tourists.
In 2016, the total number of outbound American tourists reached over 80 million (56 percent went to Canada and Mexico, 6.6 percent to Asia, and 4.37 percent to Southeast Asia), with total expenditure of US$246 billion.
Vietnam welcomed 552,644 US visitors. In the first 10 months of this year, 506,354 US visitor arrivals were recorded, up 10.6 percent over the same period in 2016. In recent years, the US has been one of Vietnam’s five leading tourism origin markets.
Vu The Binh, deputy chairman of the VISTA, said the number of US visitors to Vietnam in 2016 accounted for 15.6 percent of American tourists to Southeast Asia and 10.26 percent of tourists to Asia. In April 2017, the ASTA, in conjunction with US businesses, met with Vietnamese tour operators and visited famed tourist destinations such as Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City. In addition, the ASTA and the VISTA signed a cooperation agreement on tourism development. This is considered a breakthrough to promote two-way tourism growth between the US and Vietnam.
The ASTA is the biggest travel association in the world, with outbound American tourism one of its three major business segments. Establishing a relationship with the ASTA is seen as an important step, Vu The Binh said.
Promoting market research
Ellenby urged Vietnamese businesses to join the ASTA, where they can obtain useful information, conduct market research, and win the trust of American businesses and US travelers. In addition, Vietnam must provide tourism products at very competitive prices to promote US traveler spending.
The ASTA is committed to support the VISTA’s events. In particular, the ASTA will send a US delegation to attend the Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM 2018) in Hanoi from March 28 to April 1, 2018.