09:04 | 23/03/2019 Cooperation
(VEN) - Vietnam has spent millions of US dollars abroad to promote its global image. However, the effectiveness of these investments may not be as great as the impact of the two-day meeting in Hanoi between US President Donald Trump and leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Kim Jong Un at the end of February.
Is Vietnam really safe?
After his trip to the US in January to promote Quang Binh Province’s tourism, Nguyen Chau A, the CEO of Oxalis Adventure Tour, recalled the surprise of an American cab driver upon hearing his passengers were from Vietnam.
“That driver was about 55 years old. He took us from the Los Angeles International Airport to the hotel. He asked us how we lived, thinking that Vietnam still faced difficulties and was unsafe,” Nguyen Chau A said. Overall, he found that many Americans do not want to go to Vietnam because they think it is still a poor country at war.
They are obviously unaware of the fact that the World Economic Forum (WEF) listed Vietnam as having the lowest risk of terrorism among 136 countries surveyed in its Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017. Norway, Poland, Portugal and Singapore achieved the same ranking.
Hanoi is known as the City of Peace, a title conferred on the Vietnamese capital by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999. Hanoi is one of only five world capitals to be given the title. Hanoi attracted 28 million tourists in 2018, including 5.5 million international tourists. The February 27 and 28 DPRK-US summit is expected to provide further impetus for the capital’s constant growth in the number of foreign tourists. Nguyen Chau A said the successful organization of the Trump-Kim meeting made a good impression on viewers worldwide, showing even the most hesitant of travelers that Vietnam is a safe, welcoming destination.
In the opinion of Ha Van Sieu, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the Trump-Kim meeting attracted the attention of global media and therefore offered the Vietnamese tourism sector a historical opportunity to promote its image as a peaceful, beautiful, and friendly destination. “The interest of billions of people worldwide will contribute to changing the world’s awareness and thinking about Vietnam,” Sieu said.
Hoang Nhan Chinh, Secretary General of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), said Hanoi’s choice as the venue of the second DPRK-USA Summit reflected Vietnam’s proven ability to host international events. Its adequate infrastructure and service facilities, including four and five-star hotels, enable Vietnam to receive major delegations. In his opinion, the hosting of the summit would convince the world that Vietnam is a suitable destination for leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as high-spending and discerning tourists. It would pave the way for Vietnam to promote MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism.
According to VNAT Deputy General Director Ha Van Sieu, about 3,000 foreign reporters, including representatives of hundreds of television outlets, news agencies and journalism organizations, came to Hanoi to report on the event. Vu The Binh, Vice President of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said the DPRK-USA Hanoi Summit enabled Vietnam to promote its tourism image through two channels: summit attendants and reporters.
Before, during and after the summit, global media kept focusing attention on Vietnam by introducing interesting stories about the country and providing a unique opportunity to promote the global image of Vietnam’s tourism. Vu The Binh expected the Trump-Kim summit could help Vietnam attract more visitors from the US.
“Vietnam has spent millions of US dollars abroad to promote its global image. However, the effectiveness of these investments, perhaps, is not as high as the impact of the Trump-Kim summit. And what Vietnam benefited from this significant event is immeasurable,” Hoang Nhan Chinh said.
VNAT Deputy General Director Ha Van Sieu said VNAT coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide information for reporters at the Foreign Press Center based at the Cultural Friendship Palace. A space at the center was set aside to display unique features of Vietnam’s tourism. VNAT also organized tours for foreign journalists to show them Hanoi and neighboring cities and provinces, based on their demands.
“However, opportunities always come together with challenges. The number of visitors to Vietnam will surely increase after the summit, requiring the country to use new flight routes, create new products and ensure the quality of tourism products and services to meet the expectations of global partners,” Sieu said.
In his opinion, the Vietnamese tourism sector should implement programs to promote Vietnam’s tourism image in target markets through various channels, such as television, press and social networks. This requires the participation of both state authorities and tourism businesses.
According to Hoang Nhan Chinh, Vietnam will participate in the world’s largest tourism trade fair, Internationale Tourismus-Borse Berlin (ITB Berlin) in Germany this March. At its 500sq.m pavilion, Vietnam will show visitors how it hosted the DPRK-USA Summit.
Tourism will be one of the five major topics of discussion at the Vietnam Economic Forum (ViEF) to take place from
March 19-20. ViEF will propose to the government solutions to enhance the Vietnamese economy’s competitiveness.