Vietnam is using Bollywood to market its tourism destinations to the growing number of tourists from India.
“We are inviting Bollywood filmmakers to come to Vietnam and check out our locations for shooting and make films here. Bollywood is the most effective tool to market Vietnam as a tourist destination to Indians,” Vietnam international administration of tourism chairman Nguyen Van Tuan told HT.
“In July, a Bollywood delegation is to come here followed by another one in September. We are also organising Indian film festivals here,” he said, adding Vietnam tourism is also organising road shows in major Indian cities to attract outbound Indians.
According to India’s tourism ministry statistics, 985,883 tourists visited Thailand while 894,993 went to Singapore and 691,271 landed in Malaysia in 2012.
Tuan said: “We have everything that Thailand offers to Indian tourists. Beautiful beaches, cheap hotels and safety of tourists. Besides, there is tremendous goodwill for India and Indians among our people. Relations between Vietnam and India have been progressing well both at the government to government level and business level. Why can’t Indian tourists come to us?”
Asked about the number of Indians visiting Vietnam, he said only 54,000 came to Vietnam in 2014.
Tuan said there should be direct flights to Vietnam’s major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from New Delhi and Mumbai. Currently, only Jet Airways operates flights to Ho Chi Minh City from New Delhi and Mumbai via Bangkok.
Alex, a software professional from Bangalore, who was visiting Vietnam for the first time with his family, said: “People out here are very friendly and security is not an issue. It’s also a very cheap place.”
Diageo director general Shivam Misra, who has shifted to Ho Chi Minh City from Mumbai only six weeks ago, narrated a similar experience. “Companies are coming to Vietnam in big numbers because it’s cheap to manufacture over here,” Misra told HT.
Tuan said Vietnam was emerging as a major international tourist destination and the number of tourist arrivals doubled from four million in 2008 to eight million in 2014 accounting for $9 billion in foreign exchange earnings.
Tuan said the number of Vietnamese visiting India has been growing and 217,000 Vietnamese – mostly Buddhist religious tourists - went to India in 2014. Half of them were overseas Vietnamese, he added.
The correspondent was in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City at the invitation of the Vietnamese govt.