Japanese restaurants mushroom in Viet Nam

Nguyen Quoc Ky, CEO of local tour organizer Vietravel, believes Vietnam’s current visa-free travel policy is insufficient and should be expanded to more countries. He explained his view in this piece sent to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. Vietnam’s international tourist arrivals have been growing steadily in recent years, averaging 11 percent growth per year. In 2016 alone, Vietnam received more than 10 million foreign visitors. This growth is positive only when considered in the context of Vietnam, but when compared to South Korea or Japan for instance, our growth is much slower. Where’s the bottleneck? Giving gifts to those who don’t really want it Many tourists complain that the visa rigmarole is one of the biggest drivers of not visiting a country. At present, Vietnam exempts visa for 22 countries and territories. However, many of these are countries that many Vietnamese have not heard of, and struggle to pronounce their names correctly. Additionally, not all ten countries with the biggest number of arrivals to Vietnam are eligible for visa-free travel. This means Vietnam is not exempting the markets that need the exemption the most. It’s understandable that visa policy has a signification connection with diplomatic issues and any exemption must ensure national security and safety. And of course, revenue from visa fees collection must also be guaranteed. However, in order to boost tourism, we should be willing to offer a one-sided visa-free policy. Many countries have done the same. …... [read more]

Prospects for tighter monetary policy in Europe and other countries could pose a fresh problem for the Federal Reserve when it meets next week to ponder its plan to reduce its $4.2 trillion bond portfolio purchased after the 2008 financial crisis. FILE PHOTO - Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference after the Fed releases its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S. on June 14, 2017. The Fed bought U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) for about six years in a program known as "quantitative easing" which kept interest rates at record lows to spur borrowing and economic recovery. But at its June meeting this year, as well as raising interest rates for the third time in six months, the Fed also announced a plan to begin by letting $6 billion a month in Treasuries mature without reinvestment and to increase that amount at three month intervals up to $30 billion. Similarly, the Fed said it would run down its agency debt and mortgage backed securities by $4 billion a month until it reaches $20 billion. Now, the European Central Bank (ECB) also appears likely to decide later this year on when to scale back its monthly bond purchases. When ECB President Mario Draghi first hinted at the prospect last month, world bond yields rose sharply for a while. Moreover, Canada's central bank raised interest rates for the first time in seven years this month, and the Bank of England is expected to raise rates next…... [read more]

Vietnam’s hotel segment continues to attract a great deal of capital to serve the booming tourism sector. General manager of Pullman Saigon Central Tony Chisholm said that Accor Hotels has plans to increase its current footprint of 26 hotels to 40-45 hotels by the end of 2019, half of which will be situated in resort locations. “We are changing our strategy to attract middle-income Vietnamese into our hotels. With rising disposable incomes, Vietnamese are increasingly choosing upscale hotels to experience international service and quality. Local tourists are now our third-ranking market segment, something we never thought would be possible 10 years ago,” Chisholm said. Tao Quang Nghe, chairman of Odyssea Hospitality, said that there is a growing trend among domestic guests to stay at upscale local and international hotels. For example, Muong Thanh Group has attracted many Vietnamese guests to their premium hotels. In addition, Vietnam is striving to turn the tourism sector into an economic spearhead by attracting an estimated 20 million international tourists by 2020. More international hotel operators are expanding their presence in Vietnam, which is a positive sign for the development of tourism in the country. Last year, the Vietnamese tourism industry rode an all-time high wave, with a 26% year-on-year increase in total foreign visitor arrivals and an 18.4% rise in total revenue.  Localities nationwide welcomed 72 million domestic and international visitors, higher than the target of 68.5 million visitors set by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. To accommodate the increasing number of arrivals,…... [read more]

NDO/VNA – Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue held working sessions with a number of Australian officials, on July 24, to seek measures to further foster the partnership between the two countries. At a meeting with Treasurer Scott Morrison, Deputy PM Hue, who is on a visit to Australia from July 23-25, highly valued Australia’s commitment to continue providing development assistance to Vietnam, in various fields such as environment, the improvement of livelihoods in mountainous and rural areas, climate change response and gender equality. Morrison lauded Vietnam’s role as the host of the APEC 2017 with many important meetings. Vietnam has also devised the agenda for the event, which received high approval from the member economies, he said. He affirmed Australia’s policy of giving top priority to cooperation with the ASEAN and the country’s wish to help promote ASEAN’s solidarity, self-reliance, prosperity and central role within the region. The two sides agreed that their bilateral partnership is experiencing a solid period, with strong collaboration in economy, trade and investment. They lauded the close ties between the Ministry of Finance of Vietnam and Australia’s Treasury, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in 2012. The two sides are also discussing the signing of another deal for the new period until 2020, aiming to share experience in finance-budget, state budget allocation and the management of bad debt and public debt of joint stock commercial banks, and maintaining the stability of the macro economy. Both…... [read more]

NDO/VNA - Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury left Hanoi on July 24, successfully concluding her five-day official visit to Vietnam, made at the invitation of National Assembly Chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. During her stay, she held talks with NA Chairwoman Ngan, and paid courtesy visits to Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Tran Dai Quang. She also paid tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum and laid wreaths at the Monument to War Heroes and Martyrs. During her discussions, both sides agreed that the two countries’ traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation have developed continuously since they first established their diplomatic ties 44 years ago. The political relations between the two countries have been tightened through regular visits and meetings. The two countries have always supported each other in their national building and safeguarding and economic development, as well as closely coordinating at regional and international forums. Both sides also reached a consensus that Vietnam and Bangladesh should intensify experience sharing, to help each other in gender equality and poverty reduction, and to cooperate in the fields of defence, aquaculture, education-training, culture and tourism. To achieve the goal of US$1 billion in two-way trade, the two countries will intensify trade and investment promotion, whilst creating favourable conditions for businesses to take part in fairs and exhibitions held in each country. Regarding the two legislatures’ relations, they agreed to maintain high-level delegation exchanges to share…... [read more]

NDO – Formosa should regard the environmental issue as crucial to its survival, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, during his July 24 working session with leaders of the Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co. Ltd. (FHS), which was responsible for the severe sea environmental incident in four provinces across central Vietnam last year. Addressing the event in Ha Tinh province, the PM noted that despite being the largest foreign investment project in Vietnam, with capital of over US$11 billion, Formosa Ha Tinh also caused the largest environmental disaster the country has ever witnessed. He recognised the efforts exerted by the relevant ministries, sectors and localities in overcoming the consequences of the Formosa-related incident, as well as in ensuring social security and order and the normal socio-economic development activities in the four affected provinces, in the central region. Evaluating the outcomes of Formosa’s incident recovery work, the Government leader said that the company has taken full responsibility and has seriously dealt with the aftermath, with 52 of its 53 basic environmental violations being addressed and a modern environmental treatment system installed. These moves have demonstrated the investor’s determination in their recovery work, whilst affirming the Vietnamese government’s stance of providing favourable conditions for investors to conduct business successfully in the country, he added. The PM asked FHS to apply advanced technologies and modern equipment in its production line, in order to fully address its violations in terms of both machinery and social responsibilities, whilst expressing his belief that the…... [read more]

NDO – The 46th meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) opened in the northern province of Vinh Phuc on July 24, gathering over 100 delegates, leaders and officials from ASEAN tourism authorities, the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Tourism Association. Speaking at the opening, head of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Nguyen Van Tuan, affirmed that ASEAN holds great potential for tourism development. In 2016, the region recorded a record high of 113 million visitors, an increase of 7% compared to 2015. In 2016 Vietnam welcomed 10 million international visitors, an increase of 26%; in the first six months of 2017, the country has received 6.2 million arrivals, up 30% - an unprecedented growth in the number of international visitors to Vietnam. The ASEAN cooperation is especially important for tourism in Vietnam. Over the past few years, the ASEAN tourism markets have contributed approximately 15% of the total number of international tourists visiting Vietnam. Various ASEAN countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, are among the top ten source markets, as well as important gateways for international visitors to Vietnam. However, regional tourism is facing a range of difficulties and challenges related to global climate change and policy-related barriers to tourism development, Tuan said, adding that to maintain the momentum in growth, as well as to further attract tourists to the region, ASEAN national tourism authorities should focus on tourism promotion, improving service quality, further investing in tourism infrastructure and diversifying products, including the introduction of new products…... [read more]

In the face of the strong development of technical companies in the transportation business, Mai Linh Group is confident in taking the competition to Grab and Uber.  Grab and Uber litigation secondary According to Ho Huy, chairman of Mai Linh, in reality, blaming technical companies like Uber and Grab only shows how traditional taxi brands are unable to renew themselves. If these traditional taxi brands cannot find a solution, they will lose their brand’s value and will be slowly drifting towards bankruptcy. “Instead of harassing Grab and Uber, it is important for Mai Linh to review the company’s operation mechanism as well as to learn from the advantages of Grab and Uber. Mai Linh agrees with Vinasun’s taking Uber and Grab to the court, however, it is not our major target. The group will focus on investing in technology as well as changing the management system,” said Huy. However, Mai Linh will still join the lawsuit as Grab has committed copyright infringement at their expense. Notably, Grab violated Decree No.86/2014/ND-CP on the paint colour of cars, confusing passengers about their brands. Besides, Grab used Mai Linh’s cars in some of its advertisements. Huy asked Grab to stop these violations, however, they have yet to receive a response. Regarding business culture, Huy said that with a fleet of 50,000 cars, Uber and Grab have caused a loss of trillions of VND of tax each year. All enterprises operating in Vietnam must…... [read more]

While the economy is shifting towards market trends, completing the legal framework will be the foundation to drives that development into the right orbit and reduces operating risks. In the Vietnamese property market, this matter is considered a bottleneck of the market as referred by many experts. Mr Su Ngoc Khuong, Director of Investment Division at Savills Vietnam, said, if the market develops strongly and the legal corridor is not complete, it will be risky not only for investors but also for customers. Important role of bank funding He said, in essence, bank loans and mortgages are not bad loans but rather a financial tool for project development. Investors must ensure the financial health and stable cash flow to pay interests and loan. Especially, for unimplemented or initially implemented projects, a loan is essential to clear construction grounds and pay land-use fees after investors fulfil other financial obligations. If they are financially incapable to proceed with their projects after having fulfilled these obligations, they may transfer a part or the whole of their projects to one or more investors with better financial conditions to continue the projects. “This is critical to the success or failure of many projects as investors poorly manage their finances and ineffectively carry out their projects, leading to a capital shortage,” he said. Many projects have been frozen for a long time because they cannot find capable investors to forge cooperation or they are too late to seek new funds.…... [read more]

NDO/VNA – Since Vietnam and Laos first established diplomatic relations in 1962, the relationship between the two countries has flourished thanks to the efforts of both sides to make the ties stronger and more effective, especially in economy, trade and investment. According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, since a bilateral trade agreement was signed on March 3, 2015, and a border trade agreement which was signed on June 26, 2015, trade ties between the two countries have developed. Launching the Vietnam-Lao trade website at www.vietlaotrade.com has also help to improve connections and trade exchange between business communities of both sides. Deputy Minister Khanh said the website aims to provide the business community timely and comprehensive information on economics, trade, industry regulations, mechanisms and policies, as well as trade promotion activities, aiming to serve enterprises of both countries more effectively whilst making information cheaper to access. Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) showed that, as of March 2017, trade between the two countries reached US$236 million, up 4.3% annually, with Vietnamese exports at US$135 million, a rise of 22.6%. Meanwhile, Vietnam imported US$101 million worth of goods from Laos, down 13.1% over the same period last year, resulting in a trade surplus of US$34 million for Vietnam. Vietnam’s main exports were fuel, steel, iron, transportation vehicles and spare parts to Laos, while importing rubber, fertiliser, ore and minerals. To celebrate the 55th anniversary of Vietnam-Laos diplomatic relations and 40 years of the Vietnam-Laos…... [read more]

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