By VIET NAM NEWS
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Vietnam and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Tuesday to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries.
The two sides were represented by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO).
Under the MoU, both nations will work together to promote tourism initiatives, introducing attractive destinations, encouraging visitor exchanges, and sharing experience and information in areas of mutual concern.
On the same day, the JNTO officially opened its representative office in Viet Nam.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, VNAT general director Nguyen Van Tuan said the results of bilateral tourism co-operation had already been positive. In the 2010-16 period, the number of Japanese tourists coming to Vietnam increased at an average of 9 per cent per year.
In 2016, Vietnam saw 740,000 visitors from Japan, up 10 per cent from a year earlier. Around 233,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Japan, a year-on-year increase of 26 per cent, Tuan said.
He added that the opening of the JNTO office in Vietnam would further increase the number of outbound and inbound tourists between the two countries.
The two sides have set a target of one million Japanese visitors to Vietnam and 500,000 Vietnamese tourists to Japan by 2018.
JNTO President Ryoichi Matsuyama said his organisation planned to launch dozens of tours to Japan so that Vietnamese travellers could experience the different cultural aspects of Japan, such as cuisine, cherry blossoms and the various festivals.
Takahashi Ayumi, chief representative of JNTO office in Vietnam, said that by opening the office, the JNTO would be able to improve tourist information on website camnhannhatban.vn and other channels, stimulate the tourism demand of people living in Viet Nam’s big cities as well as support Vietnamese tour operators in selling tours to Japan.
The JNTO is scheduled to participate in the 2017 Viet Nam International Travel Mart, to be held from April 6 to 9. Vietnam welcomed 3.2 million foreign tourists in the first three months of the year, up by 29 per cent against the same period last year.
This was announced by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) on Tuesday.
In term of markets, the highest number of people visiting Vietnam was from Asia from January to March with 2.3 million people, followed by Europe with nearly 560,000 people.
The American region ranked third with 247,000 visitors.
The number of Asian visitors in the three months was 34 per cent higher than the figure in the corresponding period last year.
If categorised by means of transport, people travelling by air to Vietnam accounted for 82 per cent. Although the percentage of visitors coming to the country by sea was the least (making up merely 3.5 per cent), the absolute number saw the highest surge of 66 per cent year-on-year.
In March alone, more than one million foreign visitors came to the country, representing a month-on-month decrease of 16 per cent but a year-on-year rise of 21 per cent.
These were good results and were largely thanks to the efforts made by the tourism sector, according to the VNAT.
They will lay a foundation for the tourism sector to realise its target of receiving 11.5 million foreign tourists and serving 66 million domestic visitors, earning total revenue of 460 trillion dongs ($20.4 billion) this year.