On average, Vietnam has $1.5 million every year for the tourism promotion activities, a very modest figure if compared with Thailand or Malaysia which budgets over $100 million on the campaigns.
“$1.5 million is not deserving a country which attracts 6 million foreign tourists a year,” said Luu Duc Ke, Director of Hanoitourist.
Therefore, the VNAT keeps complaining over the last many years that it — which acts as the watchdog agency in the field, has not been given sufficient power to carry out tourism promotion programs in the most possible effective way.
In other words, VNAT does not have enough money and does not have enough power to decide where and how much to spend money.
Since January 2013, the visa fee has been raised from $25 to $45, which means that the state budget would have $70-80 million more ever year. Therefore, VNAT believes that the budget is big enough to increase the investments on the tourism promotion activities.
According to Ke, of every $45 worth of visa fee from every traveler, $5 should be spent to promote tourism. And if noting that about six million travelers come to Vietnam every year, Vietnam would have $20-30 million a year for its tourism promotion activities.
However, even if this comes realistic, the figure would still be much lower than that spent by Thailand and Malaysia which budget five times more on tourism promotion.
The problems of Vietnam’s tourism not only lie in the lack of money to be spent on tourism promotion, but also in the lack of a reasonable mechanism on spending money.
It seems that Vietnam is still fumbling about what to do and how to spend money to improve the efficiency of tourism promotion campaigns.
La Quoc Khanh, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said tourism promotion activities are not simply organizing trade fairs, exhibitions or attending events overseas. More importantly, the central agencies need to figure out the reasonable strategies to develop markets.