|New bookstore chain to cater to tourist market|
|15:20' 19/08/2009 (GMT+7)|
VietNamNet Bridge – The HCM City-based Vietbooks Corporation and its partners have launched a series of chain stores nationwide offering the latest Vietnamese guide-books, maps and postcards.
The stores opened in dozens of popular destinations, including Ha Noi, Ninh Binh province, HCM City and Phu Quoc island, providing visitors with information and images of local sights and people.
The Phu Quoc Info shop offers guidebooks, postcards, maps and souvenirs, which present information on accommodation, food services and sightseeing spots.
"Faced with a boom in visitor numbers and steadily rising revenues, Viet Nam's tourist industry is well-placed for a rosy future, but has a lack of quality, locally produced guidebooks, tourist maps and postcards," says Le Tran Truong An, general director of Vietbooks.
An says that several billion dong had been spent in recent years on tourism campaigns, covering local media, advertising and marketing and promotional activities at home and abroad.
"Tourist authorities, however, are still not paying ad-equate attention to producing their own guidebooks and related publications, a commodity in high demand among the hordes of tourists keen to explore the country," he adds.
An and his staff discovered that while foreign publications dominate the market, the number of tourist services publishing useful products remained low.
"Many foreign visitors heard about Viet Nam through relatives or friends, but complained they found it hard to find comprehensive information about the country's tourist attractions and quality service addresses," An says.
Vietbooks and its partners, including the Vietnam News Agency's Publishing House and the HCM City Books Distribution Fahasa, have worked together to change the situation.
They released 54 titles of guidebooks in Vietnamese, English and Chinese featuring detailing the country's leading tourist sites.
The small-sized guidebooks include the latest information and images serving the demands of visitors.
More than 1,500 postcards, portraying hundreds of famous landscapes and relics around the country, were also printed.
Nearly 200 collections of maps detailing 5,000 services in 63 cities and provinces are on sale in bookstores and tourist shops.
"We wanted all of our products to have specific information and events related to Viet Nam's history, culture and lifestyle," says An, adding that many poor publications by local producers were not to the visitors' taste.
An said Vietbooks planned to open chain stores in 63 cities and provinces, including remote areas like Dac Lac and Lam Dong that face a shortage of such services.
"When our customers cannot gain enough information about tourist sites, they will feel disappointed and shorten their trip," says Nguyen Huu Y Yen, marketing manager of one of the country's major agencies, Sai Gon Tourist.
Currently, foreign language books, magazines and guidebooks describing Viet Nam's tourist services and attractions are few in number, he says.
"Only some of those such as Viet Nam Tourist Guidebook and Viet Nam Travel Atlas provide a concise format, while many books lose out to the more interesting productions published abroad like Lonely Planet."
Chinese tourist Wenje Pang, in Viet Nam for a three-week visit, says local guidebooks in English and French could not compete with overseas publications.
"I visited my friend's homeland in the southern-most province of Ca Mau, and I found no postcards or guidebooks there."
"Your tourist services and companies are very professional in providing services, but they cannot give their customers a simple thing, a quality guidebook," she says.
An says creating tourist publications was not a difficult task for tourism authorities and businessmen, but problems arose when insufficient attention was given to detail.
"When we submit our business project, we received the support from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and local offices who are ready to join the job," he says.
Viet Nam attracted 3.8 million foreign visitors last year.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News
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