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Vietnam has great prospects for MICE tourism
Vietnam is becoming a prospective MICE tourism destination in Southeast Asia. MICE tourism means travelling in combination with attending meetings or conferences.

MICE stands for Meeting, Incentives, Conferences/Congress, Events/ Exhibition. Destinations in Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur have become familiar with MICE tourists; therefore they want to discover a new destination in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam.

This view was expressed by an expert from the World Tourism Organisation at a conference on MICE tourism in Asia last April.

MICE has appeared and developed well over a long period in the world but is a new kind of tourism in Vietnam, said Vu The Binh, head of the tourism department of Vietnam Tourism Confederation.

Henri Ceran, a MICE expert of the World Tourism Organisation, estimated that profits made from MICE tourism are about five times more than conventional tourism.

“MICE is new in Vietnam but the country is viewed as an emerging star and an attractive destination for tourists from all over the world,” said Do Quoc Thong from Ho Chi Minh City’s Tourism Service.

This view is substantial. The world situation is developing in a complicated and unstable way in many countries globally and in the region, leading to unsafe feelings to tourists, Vietnam is acknowledged as a friendly and safe destination in the region,” added Mr Thong.

The World Tourism Organisation will help Ho Chi Minh City’s Tourism Service to set up Convention & Visitor Bureau to offer all services involved in MICE, said Mr Thong.

Tom Hulton from the International Congress & Convention Association confirmed, “Vietnam becomes a new and attractive destination for international tourists in the current world situation. Moreover, Vietnam is emerging as an attractive option to organise MICE in the region.” Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have great potential to organise this sort of tourism.

Much investment needed for MICE

Despite a great deal of opportunities to develop MICE tourism, Vietnam is facing difficulties to make use of it. Vietnam has difficulties in infrastructure and organisation experience. In particular, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have yet to have any modern international conference centres that can compared to those in Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia.

To develop MICE, Vietnam should not rely on only 3 to 5 star hotels in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and some other provinces, particularly the number of international tourists to Vietnam is surging.

Vietnam also has yet to establish a professional institution to co-ordinate activities of MICE.

Mr Thong said the image of Vietnamese MICE tourism is partly promoted after the Vietnam Meeting and Incentive club has gathered major travel companies, five-star hotels and the Vietnam Airlines to be its members. However, shortcomings still remain because tourists lack information about Vietnam and has yet to develop a marketing strategy good enough to develop MICE.

It needs professional conference organisers (PCO) and the MICE market need managing separately with other conventional markets, stressed Mr Thong.

It is urgent to found a professional organisation for this new kind of tourism and call for investment in the construction of world-standard fair and exhibition centres and international conference centres. These are important measures to boost the development of the tourism industry of Vietnam in the coming years. (Thoi bao kinh te Viet Nam)

Nhândân Online - May 20, 2005

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