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Vietnam in Kingdom tourism push

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A man-made mountain at a resort managed by Dai Nam Resorts Area, in Binh Duong province, Vietnam. The company is looking to attract more Cambodian visitors to its attractions. A company official said 5 million people visited the site last year. Photo by: Soeun Say

VIETNAMESE tourism companies are linking up with Kingdom firms in order to attract Cambodian tourists to the country’s resorts and health care facilities, whilst boosting cross-border visitors.

During 2010, while the numbers of Vietnamese tourists arriving in Cambodia surged by 48 percent to 466,695 compared to 2009, some businesses within Vietnam also spotted an opportunity for growth by forging new alliances.

One such company was state-run Vietravel Co, valued at US$76 million last year, which now holds 49 percent in a joint venture called Indochina Heritage Travel (Cambodia) with Cambodian and Vietnamese partners.

While its capital investment in the new company has not been detailed, after opening two months ago it plans to lead 100,000 Vietnamese tourists to the Kingdom during 2011 and to promote cross-border tourism.

Nguyen Quoc Ky, general director of Vietravel Co, said: “I feel confident about tourism sector growth in Cambodia, that’s why I decided to put capital forward.”

While Tran Duc Hai, director of Indochina Heritage Travel (Cambodia), added: We try to promote tourism for both countries and will bring tourists to both sides.”

Monthly package tours are on the venture’s agenda, with trips tailored to the health tourism market also planned.

Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism, Thong Khon, acknowledged yesterday that Cambodian citizens visit Vietnam for health consultations and treatment and that at the moment “Vietnam is trying a lot to promote tourism in Cambodia”.

While the ministry did not have specific visitor data for Vietnam, he stated: “We have a strong relationship and cooperate together on tourism for both sides benefit.”

In Vietnam, health care providers are hoping to tap into a potential market of Cambodian nationals. Chief operation officer of Victoria Healthcare VietNam, Binh Pham Cobb, said that her private clinic in Ho Chi Minh City received 200 patients a day, some of whom came from Cambodia.

“We saw that Cambodian patients came to check their health a lot at the state hospital in Vietnam.”

Through cooperation with   firms such as Indochina Heritage she hope to “get more and more Cambodian clients to come here”.

While 25-year-old Cambodian tourist, Sout Vanny, a visitor to Dam Sen theme park in Vietnam, said that while on holiday she had a health consultation as “services in Vietnam are cheaper that Cambodia and they also make me confident.”

But along with health care demand, vacationing tourists are also boosting trade for Vietnam’s holiday resorts according to businessmen.

Hoafng Van Ba, deputy general director of Saigontourist, the parent company of Dam Sen Resort in Ho Chi Minh City, said that 5 percent of visitors to his resort – which includes a theme park – were now Cambodian.

It has incorporated Cambodia into its future, as the company has plans to build a similar complex in the Kingdom with negotiations with its Cambodian partner underway.

Dai Nam Resorts Areas, the biggest resort in Vietnam which lies on 450 hectares of land in Binh Duong province, is also looking for Cambodian visitors. Tran Thanh Hai, director of its parent company Dai Nam Joint Stock Corp, said: “Last year, 5 million tourists came to our resort, most of them were local tourists. Now, we are promoting ourselves to neighbouring countries, especially Cambodia.”

According to the Ministry of Tourism, outbound Cambodian tourists increased by around 49 percent in 2010.

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