Vietnam to launch first big tourism campaign

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MANILA--Vietnam is planning a $20 million tourism campaign in 2000 on the back of new airline services to the country. Target markets are primarily the U.K. and mainland Europe.

Propelling Vietnam's initiatives are new flights by Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines and Vietnam Airlines, according to Paul Stoll, general manager of the Furama Resort in Danang, a coastal city in the center of the country. "Vietnam is set to become the new Thailand," says Mr. Stoll, although he admits that first the country needs to shake off its negative image.

Thai Airways began a thrice-weekly direct service from Bangkok to Danang at the start of November. Early next year, thrice-weekly flights are to be launched between Danang and Hong Kong operated by Vietnam Airlines.

Direct flights from Singapore to Danang by Singapore Airlines, meanwhile, are expected to begin in late 2000 or early 2001.

The campaign has the backing of the Vietnamese government, which set up a national steering committee early this year under the leadership of Deputy Premier Nguyen Manh Cam. The campaign marks the first time that a government body has been formed to specifically promote the tourism industry.

A government representative says an advertising agency has not for now been appointed. Initially, government tourism officials will create the ads in-house. Eventually, the department will look for a foreign agency to handle both the creative and media-buying accounts.

Copyright December 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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