Vietnam: Marine Tourism and National Defense

 By: Kevin Nguyen
Marine tourism development should be linked closely to national defense and security, said Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan - Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism yesterday.

It should also be put in the context of national socio-economic development, Tuan told a workshop on the tourism development master plan held in Hanoi.

According to the plan of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam would have five key marine tourism regions having high comparative advantages: Ha Long-Cat Ba; Lang Co-Son Tra-Hoi An; Nha Trang-Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet-Mui Ne and Phu Quoc Island by 2020

In addition to these regions, Tuan said his department would continue to invest in high potential marine tourism sites like Van Don-Co To islands and Truong Sa and Hoang Sa (Spratly and Paracel) archipelagos.

Institute of Tourism Development Research vice director Dr. Pham Trung Luong said the south central coastal provinces from Da Nang City to Binh Thuan Province would be the best regions for tourism to develop.

He said an important factor in the future of the region was the high commitment of the local authorities.

Though the Central Highlands region had a potential for tourism development, it would remain at the bottom of Vietnam's tourism development list, he said.

Luong also pointed to the impact of climate change as an important barrier to tourism development in the country, particularly in the Mekong Delta region.

By 2020 Vietnam set the target to welcome 10.3 million foreign visitors and 47.5 Vietnamese visitors and earn revenue of US$19 billion from the sector.

By 2030, the number of foreign visitors coming to the country is expected to climb to 18 million and 58 million for domestic visitors. As a result, the revenue will be $36 billion.

In its 10-year plan, Vietnam would continue to give top priority to Northeast Asia and ASEAN countries; maintain the same rate of visitors from Western Europe, Northern Europe, North America, Eastern Europe; develop a plan to expand the tourism markets in the Middle East and India.

According to the administration, in the first five months of 2011, Vietnam welcomed 2.5 million foreign visitors and 14 Vietnamese visitors - an increase of 18 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year.

On Wednesday, a workshop on marine culture was organised in the central province of Khanh Hoa.

All reports presented at the workshop reiterated the idea that marine culture is part and parcel of the Vietnamese national culture.

Vietnam has more than 3,000km of coastline.

In his report, Tran Ngoc Them from HCM City National University said that in Khanh Hoa Province's strategic development plan, it should consider the development of marine culture as an important component, including the Truong Sa marine culture.

Them proposed that a Museum on Marine Culture and an Institute of Marine Culture Research should be established in Khanh Hoa.

Participants agreed on the need to promote a communication campaign on marine knowledge and culture through the mass media, particularly in schools and universities.

They concluded that it was an effective way to raise awareness among students on their responsibility toward national sovereignty
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