US, Vietnamese travel agents ink cooperation deal

11:21 | 15/05/2017 Culture & Tourism

(VEN) - After four years of research, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) signed a cooperation agreement in early April with the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA), providing an opportunity for Vietnamese travel agents to get their foot in the door of the promising US market.  

Good signals

According to VISTA chairman Vu The Binh, the cooperation agreement is expected to attract more visitors from the US, a prize target of many countries, including Vietnam. ASTA deputy chairman, Robert Duglin, said the agreement will promote tourism cooperation between Vietnam and the US to new heights.

The two sides agreed to exchange information on tourism events such as travel expos, road shows and other activities and to cooperate on organizing tours for travel and media agencies of both countries to learn about tourism products, services and destinations.

Vietnamese travel agents are excited and optimistic about the agreement. According to deputy general director of the Hanoi Redtours Company, Nguyen Cong Hoan, the US is a very large market, the number of Americans travelling abroad has increased considerably, and American visitors are generally well off.

Some 552,000 Americans visited Vietnam last year, up 12.5 percent compared to 2015, spending an estimated US$145 billion, he said. The agreement is also expected to draw companies from other countries to the Vietnamese tourism market in the wake of the Americans.

Deputy director of the TransViet Company, Nguyen Tien Dat, said Vietnam should adjust its tourism development strategy to pursue quality in tourism development and target such upscale markets as Japan and the US.

Taking the initiative

A number of domestic travel companies have already moved to take the opportunity offered by the US market. Hoan said Hanoi Redtours used to sell tours to a small number of American, Canadian and Mexican visitors. He added that the company worked with representatives of US companies and received positive feedback from them, and will soon carry out surveys in the US.
Vietnamese travel agents in general say the US market is opening its doors to them, despite the distance to Vietnam and the limited supply of five-star accommodations.

Nguyen Tien Dat said Vietnam should increase intensive, systematic cooperation with ASTA and build a specific tourism promotion strategy for the US market. Hoan said VISTA and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) should put together a program of tourist offerings geared to American visitors, and that Vietnamese localities should improve infrastructure and products to meet US visitors’ needs.

Domestic travel agents say that apart from improving infrastructure and tourist offerings, in order to boost its positive image in

American eyes, the quality of tourist services must be improved.

Hoa Quynh