Free entrance at many cultural sites for new year

Several vestiges and tourist areas in the capital will open for free during the Lunar New Year (February 18-20), according to the Ha Noi's People's Committee.

These destinations include Ngoc Son Temple (Hoan Kiem District), Quan Thanh Temple (Tay Ho District), Tay Phuong Pagoda (Thach That

District), Thay Pagoda (Quoc Oai District), Huong Pagoda Complex (My Duc District) and Duong Lam Ancient Village (Son Tay Town).

The People's Committee also announced that visitors over 60 and the disabled could buy tickets at a 50 per cent discount throughout the year.

The discount will also apply for students who visit Ngoc Son Temple, Quan Thanh Temple, Van Mieu (Temple of Literature), Co Loa Relics, Hoa

Lo Prison and Thang Long Royal Citadel.

Ca Mau looks to earn 13 million USD from tourism

The southernmost province of Ca Mau hopes to receive 970,000 tourists in 2015, including 21,000 international visitors, generating 280 billion VND (13 million USD).

In order to achieve the target, the province aims to establish connections with nearby localities to develop eco-tourism potential in the region, including the Dat Mui commune, Hon Da Bac, and national parks in U Minh Ha.

The province has worked with Ho Chi Minh City , Can Tho City and the provinces of Bac Lieu and Kien Giang to attract more visitors, said Duong Huynh Khai, Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

The department has submitted to the provincial People’s Committee for approval a 700 billion VND (33 million USD) project on tourism development until 2020.

Ca Mau has also focused on improving the quality and safety of its services, holding promotion events, building staff capacity, and encouraging community-based tourism.

Ca Mau boasts numerous attractive eco-tourism sites, including Hon Khoai Island , a cluster of five islets in Ngoc Hien district covered in undisturbed primeval forests and listed as one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the country in the Vietnam Book of Records.

Other leading tourism sites in the region include the Dat Mui commune in Ngoc Hien district, Hon Da Bac site in Tran Van Thoi district, the Ca Mau Cape which is the southernmost point of Vietnam and Vo Doi national parks in U Minh Ha area and wild bird gardens.

In 2014, the province welcomed 920,000 tourists, earning 230 billion VND (10.5 million USD), up 9.57 percent from 2013.

Ninh Binh to host activities honouring Trang An landscape complex

A wide variety of cultural, arts and tourism activities are going to be held from January 22-24 in the northern province of Ninh Binh to mark the province’s receipt of UNESCO’s certificate honouring Trang An landscape complex as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

The province will hold a grand ceremony on January 23 at the Bai Dinh Pagoda to receive the UNESCO’s certificate. The highlight of the ceremony will be a unique arts programme featuring the history and beauty of Trang An – a spectacular heritage renowned not only in Vietnam but also throughout Southeast Asia.

Visitors can join a ceremony praying for the peace of the world and the nation and the prosperity of the people at Bai Dinh Pagoda.

Trang An complex and world cultural and natural heritages in Vietnam will be featured at a fine arts and photography exhibition. In addition, a fair showcasing beautiful handicraft products by artisans from traditional trade villages in Ninh Binh, will take place.

A festival featuring numerous kinds of folk songs including Cheo (traditional opera) and Xam (an ancient folk art form performed by blind beggars) singing is expected to delight audiences.

An international science workshop will also be held to discuss the work of management, preservation and promotion of the world heritages’ values.

On the occasion, the province will launch a programme introducing and promoting its attractive destinations as well as tourism products and services.

The Trang An complex covers an area of 10,000 hectares in Hoa Lu, Gia Vien and Nho Quan districts in the province. It includes the Trang An ecological site, Tam Coc – Bich Dong site, Bai Dinh pagoda and Hoa Lu which was Vietnam’s former capital in the 10th and 11th centuries, as well as is home to various temples, pagodas and paddy-field landscapes.

Trang An was officially recognised as UNESCO World Heritage at a UNESCO Committee meeting in the Qatari capital of Doha on June 23, 2014.

Sapa ranked among world’s best destinations

Sa Pa tourist site in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai has been selected by the UK’s famous tourism website Roughguides as one of the nine most ideal tourist attractions around the world in 2014.

The website also suggested tourists reach the peak of Fansipan Mountain (3,143m) by using 20 minutes on cable car instead of hiking all day.

“This will be the world’s longest and highest cable car, no less, running up from sleepy Sa Pa town in Lao Cai province to Indochina ’s rooftop,” it said.

Also on Roughguides list are Shanghai Tower (China), Lincoln Castle and Dreamland (the UK), the Whitney Museum of American Art (the US), Ice Caves (Iceland), Lost and Found Festival (Malta), Treetop Crazy Rider ( Australia), and Musee des Confluences (France).

Earlier in 2014, the environmental news website Mother Nature Network also named Sa Pa in the top 30 most beautiful destinations on earth.

Vietnam promotes tourism at Norwegian fair

Vietnam has showcased traditional fine arts, photos, maps, brochures on tourism, air routes promotion programmes at the Reiselivmessen Tourism Fair in Oslo, Norway, with a view to promoting the country’s tourism potential.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Norway Le Thi Tuyet Mai and the Embassy’s staff presented the country’s cuisine, festivals and destinations while giving details on immigration procedures to individual visitors and tourism agencies to the Vietnamese booth.

According to some Norwegian travel agencies arranging tours to Vietnam, the number of holiday-makers to Vietnam has increased and the Southeast Asian nation has become an attractive destination to Norwegians.

Apart from the Vietnamese Embassy, the Norwegian SaigonTours Company and the representative office of Vietnam Airlines in Norway took part in the tourism promotion activities at the Vietnamese booth.

Reiselivmessen Tourism Fair, the biggest annual event in Norway, was held in Telenor Arena from January 9-11, drawing over 300 businesses and organisations operating in tourism and hotel services, mostly from the EU.

Tien Giang province targets 1.5 million tourists in 2015

The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang aims to attract 1.5 million tourists and generate 24 million USD in revenue in 2015, representing an annual increase of 6.5 percent and 14 percent respectively.

Local authorities have drafted measures to improve tourism services, diversify products and accelerate the implementation of key projects, particularly the eco-tourism areas of Dong Thap Muoi, Thoi Son islet, and the Tan Thanh-Hang Duong beach resort.

Additionally, the province will introduce incentives for trade villages and open vocational training to help rural workers increase their income from tourism and support sustainable development in the industry.

The province will also enhance collaboration with domestic and foreign provinces and cities to boost local and regional tourism.

Additionally, the province plans to cooperate with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to organise the second ancient village festival at Dong Hoa Hiep (Cai Be district) in 2015.

In 2014, the province received over 1.4 million tourists and earned 433 billion VND (21 million USD), a 8.15 percent and 24 percent increase, respectively, from 2013.

Vietnam, Italy boost tourism ties

A workshop on Vietnamese-Italian tourism cooperation was held at the Altare della Patria Museum in Rome, Italy, on January 13.

The event, part of the Vietnam Culture Week in Rome, was co-organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the Italian Tourism Federation.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese travel agency Vidotours gave participants an overview of the country’s featured tourism options, including national heritage sites such as the ancient capital of Hue , Thang Long imperial citadel, Hoi An ancient town, and My Son Sanctuary.

Also at the workshop, national carrier Vietnam Airlines introduced their Italian partners to preferential options when flying to Vietnam from the European country.

Event participants expressed strong appreciation for the tourism potential of Vietnam, highlighting the need to share experiences and promote tourism cooperation between the two countries.

In 2013, only 50,000 of 7 million foreign arrivals to Vietnam were Italian nationals.

Meanwhile, Italy, with 45 world cultural heritage sites, is one of the most attractive destinations for Vietnamese tourists.

Travel agency unveils stimulus package targeting domestic tourists

Viettravel, a well-known Ho Chi Minh-based tour operator, has announced a promotional programme targeting domestic travellers with the aim of increasing the number of local customers by 30-40 percent this year.

Under the programme, the travel agency will offer more high-end services for tours to familiar destinations such as Ha Long Bay, the beach cities of Da Nang and Nha Trang and Phu Quoc and Con Dao Islands. At the same time, new products will be offered for the discovery of fresher spots such as the northwestern and northeastern regions or Ly Son and Co To Islands.

Viettravel has committed to keeping stable prices and organising more promotion campaigns throughout the year as well as maintaining the policy of subsidying up to 50 percent of transportation cost for most of its tours.

The volume of domestic tourists served by Viettravel reached 270,000 in 2014.