The budget and programme were approved by the Prime Minister last month in a move to create “modern and developed infrastructure” that will turn the country into the preferred destination in mainland ASEAN.

The plan calls for tourism to double visits from 10 million in 2016 to 20 million in 2020.

The plan identifies sites and projects that will be turned into tourism destinations to give the country competitive edge in the region. Tourism is viewed as vital to lift country’s economy and provide jobs.

Tourism officials say the plan calls for quality tourism rather than competing head-on with mass tourism destinations such as Thailand.

By 2020, the Government plans to develop a comprehensive and modern infrastructure system and upgrade 30 national tourist sites.

The programme will focus on constructing roads to resorts, heritage sites and airports, while adding support services at tourist sites and improving waste treatment systems. It will also finance the construction of lake embankments and put in place infrastructure that will enhance the appeal of natural resources.

In the first 10 months of this year, international tourist arrivals to Vietnam reached just over 10 million, representing a rise of 28.1% over the same period last year.

Vietnam forecasts 13 million tourist arrivals this year, up from 10 million in 2016.

Meanwhile, a joint conference on Vietnam–Taiwan tourism cooperation was hosted in Halong city, Quang Ninh province, late November.

The meetings concluded with a decision to promote Vietnam in the Taiwan market focusing on marine and food tourism.

Halong bay and Quang Ninh rely heavily on tourists from China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Halong bay is one of the areas that will gain from infrastructure improvements in the government plan for 2020.

By Don Ross - TTR Weekly - December 4, 2017