Promoting tourism, Vietnam lacks both money and talents

The question was raised by Nguyen Manh Cuong, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), who also gave the answer that because Vietnam doesn’t have money to create high quality products.

Cuong complained that the budget for tourism promotion is always very limited. “We had to ask travel firms many times to advance money to join the overseas tourism promotion programs,” Cuong said. “I remember that we once had to borrow from travel firms nearly VND1 billion dong to run the tourism promotion program in France.”

Some years ago, VNAT once hired the Beijing Television build up a clip introducing the tourism of a province in China to attract domestic travelers to the market. Though the work was partially supported by the Chinese side, Vietnam still had to pay VND1 billion dong. Since VNAT did not have money, it asked Kim Liem travel firm to advance money for the clip, and it only could disburse money to pay back to Kim Liem 1.5 years later.

Also according to Cuong, VNAT many times thought of hiring foreign experts to build up high quality clips to promote Vietnam’s tourism. However, since the estimates were too big, roughly $1 million, VNAT then gave up the idea, because this was really an impossible mission.

“Our total budget was $2.5 million, and it would be some $1.7 billion after the budget is allocated to departments and agencies,” Cuong explained, meaning that if VNAT spent $1 million on the clips, it would not have had any money left to run other necessary programs.

A question has been raised that why VNAT does not hire Vietnamese experts to design the clips, which proves to be a good solution to help save money.

On the issue, Vu The Binh, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said frankly: “We tried many times, but we failed”.

Binh recalled some years ago, when VNAT got a big sum of money and it planned to build up a video clip to advertise Vietnam’s tourism. The watchdog agency then put a high hope on Vietnamese producers. However, though they were famous producers, they could not create a high quality product as expected.

As a result, the clips never could hit the screen.

“I don’t mean that Vietnamese film producers are not talented enough. But they should understand that there exists a big difference in the cinema and tourism mentalities,” Binh said.

“A video clip just lasts several minutes, but it needs to be a product that aims to serve humans,” Binh said.

A lot of Vietnamese people, who remain unsatisfactory about the way of promoting tourism, have contacted VNAT and the tourism association, affirming that it would not be costly and difficult to make video clips. However, Binh does not think this way.

“Vietnamese always believe in their capability. We also have many excellent cameramen. But I am not sure that they can create the video clips which are suitable to foreign markets and to foreign travelers,” Binh noted.

“When you watch a video clip made by foreigners, you may feel that it’s very simple to create such a product. However, it is really a very difficult job. This is a creation technology,” he added. He believes that in the immediate time, Vietnam should hire foreign experts to fulfill the ideas of VNAT, and Vietnamese producers would learn something from them before they can create the products of their own.