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|Smart travel is being promoted to improve tourism throughout Viet Nam.- Photo sgotravel.vn|
Pham Dai Duong, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology and Director of the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, said smart travel was the term related to use of information technology (IT) and hi-tech applications to make bookings for flights and accommodations and taking part in events from a distance.
“With a smartphone, a tourist can book a hotel room and flight tickets and search for information about the place he is about to visit,” Duong told a forum on Friday.
He said this enabled travellers to make bookings anywhere, anytime, making it more convenient for travel agents and local service suppliers to meet customers’ demands, he said.
“In the old days, travellers depended on manual bookings for hotel rooms and flights - and were often unprepared on arrival."
The Ministry of Science and Technology will push research and use of hi-tech applications in all sectors and industries, including tourism, to improve socio-economic development, and assist "app" developers transfer their achievements to users, Duong said.
By using hi-tech applications, Viet Nam’s tourism sector could fulfill its targets for 2017, according to Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the Viet Nam Administration of Tourism.
In 2017, the Government hopes to generate VND500 trillion (US$22.2 billion) from welcoming 13 million foreign visitors and 66 million domestic travellers, an increase of 10 million over the 62 million in 2016.
In the past nine-months, the tourism sector has received 9.5 million foreign travellers and 58 million domestic visitors.
The smart travel segment has plenty of room for growth, according to the Vietnam Tourism Association (VNTA).
VNTA reported at the forum that online travel sales volume in Viet Nam would maintain a yearly growth rate of 12 per cent for the next three years, 50 million Vietnamese people or 53 per cent of the population, had Internet access and 78 per cent of them had regular access to the Internet.
All travel agents use the Internet to advertise their products and services, VNTA said.
Vu Tuan Phong, senior project manager at Pioneer Youth Solutions (PYS) Travel, a local company, told Viet Nam News that “tourists should be smart consumers by using smart devices to make smart choices to receive the best-quality travel products and services”.
By using smart devices, they could look for different information sources about the places they want to go and favour travel agents with good images and reputations, he said.
In return, local travel companies should improve their working systems, websites and administrations to meet hi-tech standards and provide customers with tips and experiences about potential destinations as well as protect clients in disputes with service providers, Phong added.
According to Phong, hi-tech applications will help consumers get access to new products and services more quickly and conveniently, costing them less time and money.
Phong said companies that had performed in a cloudy and unfair manner would be wiped from the market.