Vietnam Travel

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Advertising Vietnam’s tourism products to the world

VietNamNet Bridge - The International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced that the department has received a suggestion from the U.K.’s BBC TV channel to advertise Vietnam’s tourism products on the channel.

As suggested by BBC, the advertisement program would cost USD 204,000, with an eight-week broadcast schedule in the Asia-Pacific Region and a six-week broadcast schedule in the North African and European Regions, totaling 240 time slots on the channel.

Moreover, CNN has also suggested another advertisement contract with Vietnam, after the run of the clip “Vietnam – the Hidden Charm” ended.

At a cost of nearly VND 5 billion, the clip was broadcasted 221 times, and portrayed a peaceful and active Vietnam, as well as one that was culturally traditional and welcoming to foreign friends.

At present, the International Cooperation Department is intensifying its plans for the establishment an advertisement campaign of Vietnam’s tourism and culture on the KBS TV channel of the Republic of Korea and the VTV4 TV channel of Vietnam Television via the Internet.

As scheduled, the advertisement campaign will focus on introducing the country’s marine beauty, the cultural diversify of ethnic minorities and tangible cultural and natural heritage sites such as Halong Bay, Sapa, Mt. Fansipan, Phong Nha – Ke Bang Cave and Hoi An Old Town.

(Source: CPV)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vietnam Travel News - Handicraft villages in Centre fall on hard times

An unsteady market, limited sources of capital and rising material costs have led to many handicraft households in the central provinces of Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam to look for new jobs.

Despite Government efforts to preserve and expand the handicrafts sector across the country, as well as to help provide new jobs for the increasing ranks of landless farmers, concerns have been raised that some handicraft villages are in danger of extinction.

Only 12 out of 88 handicraft villages in Thua Thien Hue Province report good business, while the remainder have suffered from losses, according to local authorities.

Once-famous handicraft centres like Phuoc Tich pottery village in Phong Dien District, My Xuyen wood-carving and Hien Luong metalwork villages in Phong Dien District are all now in trouble.

"My family have never been in such misery like we are in now," said Le Thi Vong, 76, a pottery artisan from Phuoc Tich pottery village in Phong Dien District.

Vong, who continues her family’s long tradition of producing pottery, says she is now considering quitting the job.

"The price of material has increased more and more while we can not sell enough of our products," she says. "Maybe I’ll quit the job."

The ancient tradition of pottery in the village is in danger of being lost. There are now only 18 elderly people in the village who keep the handicraft alive, while most young people have left for regional centres to earn a living.

In Phuong Duc bronze-casting village in Hue City, around 60 per cent of enterprises have closed during recent times leading to the loss of dozens of labouring jobs.

Scaled down

Nguyen Tien Long, deputy chairman of Phuong Duc Ward’s People's Committee, says local enterprises have limited sources of capital, and have been forced to limit their business to small-scale production or close down.

"They have had to increase their products’ prices to make up for the increasing price of bronze," says Long. "That’s why they have found it harder to sell their products."

Nguyen Van Hy’s bronze-casting enterprise, which used to export products to various places in the world and train hundreds of bronze casters, has closed temporarily and Hy says he can’t pay back a bank loan.

"The price of bronze has doubled since last year to reach VND100,000 (US$5.9) per kg now," says Hy.

"Our enterprise has suffered serious losses because we have had to increase prices. As a consequence, fewer people want to buy our products."

Among 61 handicraft villages in Quang Nam Province, many have met financial difficulties and thousands of labourers have been left unemployed.

Lam Yen drum-making village in Dai Loc District, for example, is close to losing its traditional craft for good. Households in the village have been struggling with a serious lack of capital.

Phan Lam, who is part of a family renowned locally for making drums, says the biggest challenge for local handicraft workers is getting paid.

"When the buyers receive their products, they pay only for half of the products at first," he says.

"So producers have to borrow money at a high interest rate to ensure production. Many of them now can not borrow any more money.

"There’s nothing to ensure the next generation can continue the trade."

‘No solutions’

Deputy chairman of Phuong Duc bronze-casting village says the trade has not contributed much to the local budget.

"That’s why we have no solutions to save the trade," he says.

In Quang Nam Province, authorities have not helped villages with backward production facilities, a poorly-qualified labour force and high material prices.

However, many handicraft villages in Quang Nam Province have succeeded in combining traditional handicraft with tourism.

Viet Vision Travel is a leading Vietnam travel tour operator that provides customized tours to Indochina destinations.

Travel in Vietnam - Sapa deserted in tourist season

Sapa, a famous tourist site in northern Vietnam, has never been so quiet as these days, though it is the tourist season.

An employee of a local travel company said since the recent floods, few tourists have gone to Sapa. The Lao Cai Tourism Information Centre has had to cancel shows on Saturday evenings.

At Silver Waterfall, we saw few foreign tourists. Nguyen Van Duc, a sightseeing ticket seller, said he had sold only seven tickets from the morning to noon on August 16. Ham Rong, another tourist attraction in Sapa, welcomed only 30 tourists that day.

Nguyen Thanh Dat, a receptionist at the 3-star Victoria Sapa Hotel, said his hotel lost around 50-60% of guests compared to the period before the historic flood on August 9. However, Dat was very optimistic, saying that Sapa would be crowded again in late August.

Le Duc Luan, Deputy Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Lao Cai province, said the tourism sector didn’t timely inform the media of the resumption of tourism services in Lao Cai in general and Sapa in particular when transport was resumed on August 14.

Luan said foreign visitors are worried about personal security while local tourists are afraid of post-natural calamity consequences.

“Next week Sapa will surely be crowded again, especially at the weekend and National Day holiday,” Luan said.

Sapa is a favorite destination of European tourists for its beautiful landscapes and the unique cultural identities of ethnic minority groups living there.

Viet Vision Travel is a leading Vietnam travel tour operator that provides customized tours to Indochina destinations.

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