UNWTO welcomed a high-level delegation from Vietnam to its headquarters in Madrid last week which included the Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr. Ho Anh Tuan. The Vice Minister´s inaugural visit marked a ´landmark´ occasion in the strong relationship between UNWTO and Vietnam as they discussed plans for future collaboration.
¨UNWTO is proud to have Vietnam as a Member State,¨ noted UNWTO Executive Director Márcio Favilla, emphasizing that the country is recognized around the world for being one of tourism´s ¨rising stars.¨
Indeed, tourism arrivals in Vietnam have risen from under 3.5 million in 2005 to 5 million in 2010 and 6 million in 2011, with an estimated 6.5 million to arrive in the country by the end of 2012.
¨Tourism is one of the pillars of the Vietnamese economy,¨ said Vice Minister Tuan. ¨In recent years we have seen fast tourism development in our country, and we must thank UWNTO for its strong support, which has strongly contributed to the success of tourism in Vietnam.¨
Xu Jing, the Director of UNWTO´s Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific, noted that UNWTO and Vietnam have always enjoyed very good relations: ¨We assisted Vietnam in the formation of its Tourism Development Plan as well as the tourism law for the country. Since then, we have provided technical support in developing the Ho Chi Minh Convention Centre, we held the Regional Commission Meeting in Hanoi two years ago, and Vietnamese officials have attended many recent UNWTO events including the Tourism Satellite Account Capacity Building Programme, the Asia Pacific Executive Training Programme and the UNWTO/HTC High-Level Asia Pacific MICE Symposium,¨ he said.
The coming months of collaboration are already being planned: An event on spiritual tourism in Vietnam´s Nin Binh Province in the first half of 2013, a Vietnamese gastronomy week in Spain and the development of a multicultural village showcasing Vietnam´s extensive ethnic diversity.
Vietnam is also being showcased as an example of successful tourism in a new study commissioned by the European Union.
The importance of domestic tourism, opportunities for regional collaboration and the possibility of rural community tourism development were also discussed during the meeting.