Tourism promotion: Vietnam yet to tap Internet potential

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The Internet is surely a powerful tool, if not the most powerful, in marketing and promoting a product.

But not many sectors in Vietnam have used it effectively, and the tourism industry stands out as one of them.

For several years now, many provinces and cities have spent billions of dong on campaigns and events to promote their tourism potential every year. Very often, these have not been very effective.

Meanwhile, it does not take that much money to invest in a website introducing local tourist sites and related information to tourists, but no locality has made a proper website so far. And this despite the fact that most foreign tourists search for and collect information on the Internet before visiting Vietnam or any other country.

In other words, a way has already been in place for Vietnam to bring its tourism resources close to tourists, but for many years, local officials have yet to realize it, or rather, learn how to make better use of it.

As someone with expertise in marketing and good knowledge of the Internet, I suggest authorities make a plan to systematize tourism domains in Vietnam.

Start with building a portal named, for instance, "vietnamtravelgate.com," which will lead to a series of websites about tourism in each city or province, like "traveltohanoi.com."

Then, on each website, tourists can find detailed information not only about local landscapes, culture and customs, but also on places to eat and stay, and transportation facilities available.

However, building the websites is just the first step. What more important is improving and updating them with new information, photographs and technologies that make them more attractive and user friendly.

The Internet is a borderless world that offers opportunities to everyone. The question is, can we take full advantage of it? It is a totally feasible project to systematize tourism domains in Vietnam to promote the country's attractions.

The bottom line, though, is that we have to work together, do it well and make a long-term commitment to it.

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