Vietnam: A rising star of global tourism  

In an exclusive interview with TnH, H.E. Pham Sanh Chau, Ambassador of Vietnam to India highlighted Vietnam as a most favoured destination for international tourists as this country could offer visitors’ demand for everything they need from natural exploitation to cultural discovery. Excerpts: 

Q. How long have you been in India as the ambassador of your country? How are you working to deepen the bilateral relations between the two countries?  

My tour of duty in India has been nearly 7 months. I am very happy and proud to be the Vietnamese Ambassador to India and my tenure is significant as Vietnam and India are enjoying a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The India-Vietnam relationship has a very solid foundation, deeply rooted in history, maintained by mutual political trust between the two countries on the basis of convergence of strategic interests and cooperative potentials. My mission is to deepen this strategic relationship and to bring our bond to a new level.

Q. What are the key tourist attractions in your country? How unique is Vietnam as a tourist destination?

Vietnam is becoming a major favourite tourist destination in the world. With over 3000 kilometres of coastline, tranquil beaches, dynamic growing cities, mountainous highlands, and diverse cultural and historic sites, Vietnam’s tourism industry continues to rank amongst the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world.

Destinations like Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Mui Ne, Phu Quoc, and Ho Chi Minh City is popular with numerous places of interest which are appealing to tourists around the world. Notably, Vietnam is known as a safe destination with friendly, hospitable people. In addition, the tourism industry could satisfy any visitors’ demand for shopping, entertainment, cuisine exploration, wedding, honeymoon and conference participation.

Q. Also, share some interesting facts about tourism in your country?

Vietnam recently named the “Asia’s Leading Destination” for the first time at 2018 World Travel Awards. Since 2010, the number of international tourists has grown three-fold from 5 million to more than 15 million in 2018. In 2019, the tourism industry targets to welcome 18 million international visitors. Tourism is expected to contribute 10 per cent to its GDP by 2020 when Vietnam hopes to get 20 million foreign visitors and earn $35 billion in tourism revenues.

 


 “Our country is traveller’s paradise and this paradise offers an array of options for Indians to do in Vietnam. Vietnam has many things to offer Indian tourists like the world’s best sandy beaches, an abundance of Indian culture reflected in their numerous temples and many Indian restaurants.”


 

 

Q. How important is India as a tourist market for Vietnam? Currently how many Indians are visiting Vietnam per year?

Around one lakh of Indian tourists travelled to Vietnam in 2018. The number is estimated to increase in the coming years. However, the figure remained modest compared to the potential of tourism between Vietnam and India, as the two nations have enjoyed friendship, cultural and civilizational linkage for thousands of years, with various ancient Champa towers and temples in Quang Nam province. Meanwhile, India welcomes approximately 30,000 Vietnamese tourists every year, most of whom make pilgrimages to the Buddhist holy land and visit cultural and heritage sites of India.

Promoting tourism is a focus of the Embassy’s economic diplomatic activities. India’s large population with 400-500 million people in the middle class, the country’s increasing number of holiday-makers choosing overseas destinations is one of advantage for our tourism promotion activities. Vietnam should be listed as a not-to-miss destination since it is home to an array of world heritages, relic sites, and natural beauty. Besides, we also aim to promote Vietnam as a destination for golfers and wedding organizers.

Q. What would be your advice for Indians planning to visit Vietnam? What are the attractions in your country you think Indians should visit? 

As I mentioned, our country is traveller’s paradise and this paradise offers an array of options for Indians to do in Vietnam. Vietnam has many things to offer Indian tourists like the world’s best sandy beaches, an abundance of Indian culture reflected in their numerous temples and many Indian restaurants. Many must-see destinations should not be missed when travelling to Vietnam as Ha Long Bay, Trang An Site, Mekong Delta. And importantly, do not forget to shop in our huge shopping malls in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi Capital and try the delicious Pho and the steaming hot Vietnamese Coffee which we also serve at our canteen of the Embassy every Friday at lunchtime. Before going to Vietnam you can explore Vietnamese authentic cuisine at Viet Nom Restaurant in Gurgaon.

Q. How is the visa process for Indians?

It is simple. For Indians to apply for our tourist visa, they simply need a passport and one photocopy of passport, one application form with a photograph attached the itinerary of flight and booking of the hotel. They could submit for visa application at our Embassy at 20 Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi or through Embassy’ s Website. For the normal process, the visa is granted after three working days.

Q. How is air-connectivity between the two countries?

Both Vietnamese and Indian people would like to see non-stop flights between the two countries. It would be a pillar in ‘Act East Policy’ of India. Since I took my duty here, I have tried my best to actualise the air connectivity and our efforts seem to pay off. In the next few months, Indigo plans to open direct flight Kolkata – Hanoi and New Delhi – Hanoi. I am also working for a good flight time slot for Vietjet so she can fly very soon too. Once we have direct air connectivity, tourism will explode.

Q. Finally, what do you like the most about India?

India is treating me very well beyond my expectations. I like the Indian hospitality and friendliness most. I am also enjoying Indian cultural diversity and landscape beauty. I have been to 15 States and Territories and will hopefully be able to travel to all 29 States and most of Territories of India. For me, this is truly the land of miracles!

 

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