The green and digital transition wings for the tourism industry

April 02, 2024 | 12:09
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The annual Vietnam International Travel Mart Hanoi will take place on April 11-14, covering the nation’s tourism industry and its green transition for sustainable development. Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, speaks with VIR’s Ho Ha about the role of the green and digital transition.

Can you tell us about some of the new features of this year’s event?

The green and digital transition wings for the tourism industry
Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association

It will will take place over four days at the ICE International Exhibition Centre - Hanoi Friendship Cultural Palace in Hoan Kiem district. Activities at the fair will be based on the green and digital transition to help the country’s tourism to take off.

The event takes place amid the tourism industry's determination to comprehensively be restored in 2024, with all targets being met and exceeding those in 2019. Therefore, many activities and events will occur with a concentration on solutions to foster the growth of travellers.

The green transition includes many activities to build green products, services, and models to make Vietnam's tourism products more attractive and innovative, and able to pull in society to pivot towards green tourism.

VITM Hanoi 2024 will bring new trends, one of which is responsible tourism associated with preserving the environment for sustainable development. This involves a range of actions, including supporting local businesses, conserving natural resources, protecting cultural heritage, and respecting the rights and dignity of local people.

In addition, visitors will have many interesting experiences with promotional tours, cheap airline tickets, preferential hotel rooms, and enjoying specialities throughout the country.

We will have a very large number of booths at the event. Over 50 provinces and cities across the country registered for booths at the fair, and 16 countries confirmed their participation this year.

At the event, travel companies will see a big change. Instead of only selling tours in the northern market, this year Saigontourist will sell all products from its 18 branches nationwide. From there, there is a variety of products for customers to choose from, especially from the central region to the south.

For example, due to rising airfare prices, visitors can buy a land tour from Thua Thien-Hue and Danang to the south combined with choosing the appropriate form of transportation, depending on demands and costs. The highest discount is up to 40 per cent, but the number of seats is limited and only applies to buyers at the fair.

What are the highlighted contents of the forum on the green and digital transition on April 12?

This large-scale forum will gather thousands of delegates and domestic and international tourism agencies, both offline and online, to discuss the concept of green transition in tourism and how each relevant agency must take responsibility for it.

Several hotels are now saying no to plastic waste. Even, some restaurants are joining this too. It means that there are outstanding case studies in green tourism development. Along with the forum, the fair will also include many other meetings and seminars to discuss these issues.

Tourism is a sensitive field to environmental issues. Thus, the tourism industry needs to be ahead in the green transition process. Launching Vietnam's green tourism products into the international market will contribute to enhancing the position of Vietnamese tourism on the international tourism map as it becomes a global trend.

To help the tourism industry join hands to reduce plastic waste, the Vietnam Tourism Association calls on units and travel agencies to come together to build green, sustainable tourism and promote cultural values, respect resources, and protect the ecological environment.

At VITM Hanoi 2024, the Vietnam Tourism Association recommends participating units not use plastic water bottles and plastic bags; encourage partners and customers to limit the use of disposable plastic products; and simultaneously carry out actions to maintain hygiene and protect the environment, aiming to implement zero plastic waste at the event.

The fair’s organising board will provide each booth with a large bottle of drinking water with a cubic of 20 litres and 20 free paper cups for use each day. In addition to calling on the tourism business community to reduce plastic waste from tourism activities, the Vietnam Tourism Association also calls on people participating to remove the usage of single-use plastic items.

The green and digital transition wings for the tourism industry

This year, the Vietnam Tourism Association aims to welcome 20 million international tourists. How can the association be confident in these goals?

The factor that makes us confident is that the enthusiasm of businesses in this industry has become more and more evident since 2022. In 2024, there are still many difficulties, but with the determination of businesses and several new advantages, we believe this goal is feasible

For example, our visa policy is very innovative. Maybe our number of visa-free countries is not as high as some countries in the region, but the number of days is long, up to 45 days of stay with bilateral visa-free countries, and up to 90 days if using an electronic visa.

Work is being carried out on simplifying immigration procedures, including extension of stay durations for foreigners in Vietnam. In addition to the 13 countries that Vietnam unilaterally waives visas for, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also negotiating with 15 countries for mutual exemption and 80 for waivers for official passports.

With such a strong open-door policy, we believe that the tourism industry has many opportunities. However, to achieve the Association's desired number, tourism businesses also must make great efforts and try to overcome any obstacles.

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By Ho Ha

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