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Oct 17 2011

Big hotel chains snub Tourism Awards

big hotel chains snub tourism awards
Famous hotel brands such as Sheraton, Sofitel and Hilton snubbed the Vietnam Tourism Awards 2010 which announced its winners last week.

Any hotels keen to win awards have to register and then be examined by Vietnam Tourism Association or local tourism management agencies.

However, several five-star international hotels did not apply, according to Vietnam Tourism Association.

Saigontourist Holding Co. has up to 12 hotels earning awards with New World, Caravelle, Rex, Majestic, Palace, Grand, Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang, De Nhat, Continental, Saigon-Halong, Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort and Bong Sen.

The top 10 five-star hotels were New World, Caravelle, Rex, Renaissance Riverside, Hanoi Daewoo, Majestic, Ana Mandara, Vinpearl Resort and Spa, Windsor Plaza and Six Senses Ninh Van Bay.

The top 10 four-star hotels were Palace, Grand, Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang, De Nhat, Continental, Hoi An Beach Resort, Saigon-Halong, Palace, Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort and Lang Tre Mui Ne Tourist Site.

The top 10 three-star hotels were Bong Sen, Victory, Vien Dong, Vung Tau Intourco Resort, Hoa Binh, Petro Song Tra, Rex, Festival, Cuu Long and Cong Doan Vietnam.

The annual tourism awards are granted based on criteria of room occupancy rate, business result, food hygiene and safety and environment hygiene.

Together with granting Vietnam’s leading hotels in 2010, the association has also announced leading tour operator awards.

Winners received their awards at the Hanoi Opera House on October 17.


May 05 2011

Vietnam remains unprofessional in promoting tourism

vietnam remains unprofessional in promoting tourism

VietNamNet Bridge – Old reasons have been cited to explain why “Vietnam – a different Orient” was not accepted as the new slogan for Vietnam’s tourism in the next period: the lack of money, the unprofessional way of promoting tourism and the low capability of the officers who implement tourism promotion programs.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, Deputy Director of the Market Department under the Vietnam Tourism Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said VNAT is joining forces with Cowan, the company which won the first prize in the competition to create logo and slogan for Vietnam’s tourism in the period of 2011-2015, to adjust the logo and slogan “Vietnam – a different Orient” as per order by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh.

VNAT also plans to hire the company to build up the strategy for the brand development program in the next period. As such, for the first time, a professional marketing company will help Vietnam’s tourism carry out the activities to promote tourism and advertise images in a more professional and effective way.

However, Mark Winterton, the head of the Cowan’s team which designed the new logo and slogan for Vietnam’s tourism, admitted that he did not have the information that the advantage of Vietnam’s tourism is sea tourism and that Vietnam will focus to develop sea tourism, when they joined the competition to create slogan and logo. He also said that Cowan has never joined any project relating to the national tourism promotion.

Of course, in order to persuade VNAT to give it such a big project, Cowan has to present convincing solutions. However, doubts still have been raised that if VNAT has thought carefully before putting faith on the company?

Analysts have pointed out that lacking money is always the biggest problem that hinders tourism promotion programs.

Five years ago, VNAT only had 300 million dong to organize a competition to create logo and slogan. Dat Viet Company won the first prize with the slogan “Vietnam – the hidden charm” which later became the official slogan of Vietnam’s tourism.

It was also very difficult to attract individuals and institutions to join the 2010’s competition, which aims to seek a new slogan for the new period of 2011-2015. The budget for the competition was just a little bigger than that of five years ago.

Though the Prime Minister allows VNAT to hire foreign companies to advertise and promote tourism, VNAT can only appoint bidders in the bidding packages worth less than 500 million dong, or 30,000 dollar, a very low level if compared with the current exchange rate (20,000 dong per dollar).

It is always very difficult to get the permission to carry out advertisement and promotion campaigns, but it is even more difficult to disburse money because of the too complicated procedures. Not only the project appraisal by VNAT, but the involvement of the Planning and Finance Department of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is also required as a compulsory formality for the disbursement.

Meanwhile, the agencies and companies which carry out promotion activities, only get 70 percent of total expenses in advance, while they have to wait to get the other 30 percent later.

Analysts say that with the complicated formalities, tourism promotion officers have to spend 1/3 of time on solving financial issues for every event. That explained why VNAT once could not spend 25 billion dong budgeted for the tourism promotion, and the tourism sector many times missed the golden opportunities to attract tourists to Vietnam.

According to Nguyen Tuan Quyen, Director of VYC, a travel firm based in HCM City; neighboring countries all spend much money on their tourism promotions. For example, Malaysia and Thailand spent millions of dollars to popularize their slogans “Malaysia – Truly Asia” and “Amazing Thailand” through all of their tourism offices worldwide.

Former Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Tourism Association, Luong Hoai Nam also said that Vietnam needs at least 5-7 million dollars a year, or 100-150 billion dong to promote tourism every year.

Ngoc Ha

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