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Sunday, 14 December 2008

Strange tourists of another age

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hFlWXtk5svM7oNkAB9Vce5hLQyJA

Tourist arrivals plummet in Vietnam as global downturn bites
4 hours ago
HANOI (AFP) —

Vietnam is set to miss its target of attracting five million international tourists this year as arrivals have dropped off sharply amid the global economic downturn, industry officials say.
Hotels and tour operators are struggling and dropping their rates amid the steepest fall in arrivals since the 2003 SARS crisis and then bird flu outbreaks scared tourists away from Vietnam and other Asian destinations.
Next year the tourism sector -- which employs more than 10 percent of Vietnam's workforce -- faces zero growth or worse, the minister for culture, sports and tourism, Hoang Tuan Anh, warned at a Hanoi conference last week.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has asked the communist government to spend 20 million to 30 million dollars on a global marketing campaign to draw back visitors next year and after.

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When I went to South Vietnam in July 1975 I travelled on a tourist visa.
As I was working under contract to the United States Defense Department as part of the war effort I found this rather strange.
This situation was not to change all the years I was there.
The one consolation was that there were no real tourists at all.

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