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NA Q&A session: Deputies scrutinize national tourism competitiveness

Competitiveness of Vietnam's tourism industry and solutions to make it a key economic sector of the country was the main focus of the question-and-answer (Q&A) session with the minister of culture, sports and tourism on June 5 during the 14 National Assembly’s ongoing 7th session.

NA deputy Nguyen Quoc Hung from Hanoi asked Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien to take breakthrough solutions to improve the competitive rankings of Vietnam’s tourism, which is now only 67 among the 136 economies worldwide.

On his reply, Minister Thien attributed this to limited indicators of tourism infrastructure, priority for tourism, international integration and visa competitiveness of Vietnam compared to other ASEAN countries.

Explaining the slow tourism growth of only 8.8 percent in the first five months of 2019, Thien said one of the main causes is that the number of Chinese visitors to Vietnam decreased in the period, while the figure increased by about 30 percent in the same period of the previous years.

He stressed the need to enhance tourism promotion in key markets.

Deputy Nguyen Van Quyen from Can Tho asked about radical and breakthrough measures to turn tourism into one of the spearhead economic sectors of Vietnam, in the context that the sector makes up only nearly 10 percent of the national GDP; and those to resolve conflicts and the conflicts between the goal of developing tourism into a spearhead economic sector and the need to preserve national identities.

Thien said Vietnam strives to make tourism a key economic sector and the country aims to   receive between 17 and 20 million international visitors and serve 85 million domestic tourists by 2020, making up about 10 percent of the national GDP.

The minister underlined the necessity to promote sustainable tourism development without harming the ecological environment or cultural heritage, and affirmed that this is a major problem in the relationship between conservation and development for all countries in the world.

He pointed out a number of shortcomings in this work over the past time, such as neglecting conservation planning and heritage preservation as well as experts’ voice.