Attracting Overseas Vietnamese Resources To Develop Tourism
A hybrid workshop was held in Hanoi on August 8 to discuss how to attract resources from overseas Vietnamese (OV) to support tourism development, VNA reported.
The event had the presence of nearly 70 delegates from ministries, branches, local departments of Culture, Sports and Tourism and 15 overseas Vietnamese representative agencies, leaders of major overseas Vietnamese associations and unions; representative of a number of travel companies of overseas Vietnamese at home and abroad.
Overseas Overseas Tourism Year
Ambassador Ngo Huong Nam, Vice Chairman of the State Committee for OV Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said OVs have become an important resource contributing to tourism development over the past years.
Since 2009, about 700,000 - 1 million OVs have returned to the homeland each year, equivalent to the number of visitors from Japan – the third largest source of foreign tourists to Vietnam. Therefore, the more than 5.3 million OVs form a highly potential market for the domestic tourism sector, he noted.
|Ambassador Ngo Huong Nam, Vice Chairman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs speaks at the event. Photo: TG&VN
According to Nam, the demand for overseas Vietnamese to visit relatives and travel is increasing. The older generation of overseas Vietnamese have mostly settled down, have accumulated assets, have time, and the demand for travel and resort is increasing.
In addition, the younger generation who is born, grows up, is trained in a foreign cultural and educational environment, is the next generation, will take the leading role in economic and social activities of the community; the trend of going back to Vietnam to do business, visit relatives, travel, get to know more about the origin, will increase more and more.
The official cited the Vietnam Summer Camp, which has been held for young OVs for 20 years, as an example, suggesting similar programmes be organised to draw OV visitors.
Noting the great demand and potential of the OV tourist market, the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism said OVs can contribute to the domestic tourism sector by returning to visit their relatives, learn about traditions, and explore investment opportunities.
Domestic businesses are also implementing many creative ideas to attract OV travellers, it added.
At the workshop, OV representatives talked about how to bring into play Vietnamese expatriates’ role in drawing tourists to the country, the demand of OVs in the US and Europe to go back to the homeland to spend their holidays, and some countries’ experience in this regard.
|Shurani Hong, an Israeli expatriate shared at the workshop. Photo: Le An)
A Vietnames-American expatriate, Erin Phuong, president of Vietnam Society, shared about the needs of expatriates, especially young Vietnamese in the US, for back-to-origin tourism.
Erin Phuong said that there is a simple question of identity being asked by many Vietnamese-American youths: "Am I Vietnamese or American?" and back-to-origin tourism will answer their concerns.
“A person’s attachment to a place, a geographic location, a sense of nostalgia or an emotional connection, mean a lot to them,” she said. "Simply eating a bowl of pho in Vietnam evokes a different emotion than eating a bowl of Pho in Washington DC.”
In order for tourism to develop, Phuong suggested a number of solutions such as developing a team of volunteers, supporting English interpreters, among others.
In addition, the selection of tourist destinations is necessary for the young generation of Vietnamese in the US to understand their origin and place of birth as well as to open their exploration of cultural heritage from cuisine, literature, music to festivals, art, and architecture.
In order to attract more expatriates in the Czech Republic to Vietnam for tourism, Nguyen Dieu Linh, Counselor and Ambassador of the Vietnamese Embassy in the Czech Republic proposed some solutions such as early promotion of direct flights between Vietnam and Czech; create favorable conditions and shorten the processing time in the consideration of visa exemption for foreigners of Vietnamese origin; develop more tourism programs combined with the discovery of Vietnamese culture, traditions and people.
Some travel companies highlighted the prospect of tourism combined with family visit and investment chance exploration, as well as medical tourism for OVs.
Meanwhile, officials of Dien Bien and Phu Tho provinces presented their localities’ tourism potential and incentives for OV visitors.
On this occasion, the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism and the State Committee for OV Affairs signed a cooperation deal to attract OV resources for tourism development.
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