Vietnam, buoyed by the success of Kong: Skull Island (which was filmed in Vietnam) is willing to host more foreign film productions, lays down strategy to showcase its gorgeous, otherworldly natural and cultural heritage sites.
Talk about Vietnam, and most Indians are likely to know a little about the country, barring the fact that the US & Vietnam have fought a long war (courtesy the few Hollywood films which have been made on the subject). And even lesser number of people would know what the capital city of Vietnam is (its Hanoi).
The fact that currently, Indians (mostly living overseas) comprise less than one percent of the total number of tourists that visit Vietnam, proves that point.
Obviously, Vietnam tourism board is keen to improve its relationship with India, and they’re taking concrete efforts to make some progress in that front.
Vietnam’s Strategy to Attract Indian Filmmakers & Tourists
A big part of Vietnam’s plan is to tap Bollywood, to attract their filmmakers to shoot films and to host few awards functions so that buzz is created about the country back home in India.
Officials from Vietnam are already discussing with prominent people from the Indian film industry. If the initial negotiations with Bollywood show promise, Vietnamese government may even offer tax concessions to the Indian film industry.
At a recent International seminar on ‘Indo-Vietnam Cultural Relations: Retrospect and Prospect’, Vietnam wished to push itself as a favorable destination for filmmakers in India. The Ambassador of Vietnam to India expressed his country’s desire to partner with India in the cultural sector and mutually promote shooting of films in the two countries.
“We would like Indian filmmakers to come to our country and explore the place as a shooting destination. We would also like our filmmakers to visit India and shoot movies there… Because, if culture diplomacy works, rest automatically falls into place,” Ambassador of Vietnam to India Ton Sinh Thanh.
Good Locations in Vietnam
Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in South East Asia, and is endowed with natural beauty and several world heritage sites. Scenic locations like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An have already featured in several domestic and international film productions.
Ha Long Bay (a World Heritage Site), Ho Chi Minh City and few other places that were parts of ancient Chinese civilisation in Vietnam, among others, had appealed to the delegation from India that had visited Vietname some time back.
Vietnam’s Tourism Ministry acknowledged the need to have direct flights between the two countries on a priority. Currently most flights to Hanoi have to go via Hong Kong, with a waiting period of several hours, and that would be a real put-off for any traveler from India.
Vietnam is also keen to consider visa exemption for Indians, to make the destination more attractive to Indians. Its up to the two governments to work out the detailed modalities of that process.
The main religion in Vietnam is Buddhism, you can find several Buddhist pagodas across the country. That is another thing Vietnam is keen to leverage and is planning on a Buddhist Tourism circuit.
Direct flights from New Delhi and Mumbai to cities in Vietnam, such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, are expected to take off in the coming months (tentatively from November 2014), and Vietnamese officials are hoping that it would have a substantial impact on tourism related figures.
Jet Airways (India) Ltd. and Vietnam Airlines recently inked a code-share agreement for direct flights, which will include a two-hour stopover at Bangkok.