Hanoi ranks 5th in Asia’s must-see sights

Long Bien Market receives Asian acclaim

Long Bien Market in Vietnam’s Hanoi capital city has been named by travel website gobackpacking.com among the top five most exciting markets in Southeast Asia.

This biggest central food distribution market in Hanoi is described by the website as “alive and booming with customers, transportation and delivery vehicles everyday in the early morning hours”.

According to the website, the market, which is located to the north of the capital’s Old Quarter, impresses with the huge quantity of fresh produce, including giant piles of herbs, tonnes of vegetables and tropical fruit that cover the market and sprawl out onto the adjacent streets.

The Chatuchak Market in Bangkok tops the list and is described as one of the city’s biggest attractions for both locals and tourists.

Gobackpacking.com was founded in 1998 by David Lee, a well-known travel blogger, and is a popular online guide to independent travel and one of the top 100,000 sites in the world.

Hanoi ranks 5th in Asia’s must-see sights

Vietnam’s Hanoi capital has risen to fifth place among the top ten destinations in Asia 2013, according to a recent report by Hong Kong-based travel and trade journal, Smart Travel Asia.

Ratings are based on such criteria as holiday suitability and quality of shopping, services, hotels, restaurants, and transportation.

For many consecutive years, Hanoi has managed to retain its position as one of the ten most attractive cities in Asia, reflecting the city’s constant efforts in creating a safe and friendly environment for tourists.

As of September, the number of international visitors travelling to the city is estimated at 1.9 million, up 20% compared to the same period last year.

Hanoi officials hope this figure will continue to rise and more and more foreigners will be enticed to visit the vibrant city.

Thua Thien-Hue expands int’l tourism links

A famtrip delegation comprised of 30 international travel agencies conducted a fact-finding tour of the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on September 20.

The delegation, with its 47 members representing countries such as France, Italy, Russia, and the Republic of Korea, were invited by travel agencies like Saigontourist, Hanoitourist, Vietravel, and Ben Thanh Tourist.

They surveyed tourism routes and joined a Gala Dinner organized by Thua Thien-Hue’s provincial People’s Committee.

During their two-day stay, they will visit historical and natural relics, sample Hue’s cuisine, and participate in tourism fairs.

Tour operators in Thua Thien-Hue welcomed local businesses to a seminar intended to encourage cooperation and explore partnership opportunities.

Provincial authorities introduced the Hue Festival 2014, the 2014 Golden Tourism Week, and the Hue Relics Preservation Centre’s attractions for foreigners.

Thua Thien-Hue is commemorating 20 years of its Hue imperial relic complex recognised as a UNESCO world cultural heritage site, and 10 years of the Hue Royal Court music’s inclusion as intangible cultural heritage of humankind.

The reopening of the upgraded Phu Bai International Airport on September 20 is expected to attract more tourists to the province.

Vietnam Airlines increases flights to RoK

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) has announced its plan to increase the number of flights between Vietnamese and Republic of Korean destinations as of October 28.

The airline will add four more flights to the Ho Chi Minh City-Incheon route, coded VN406 and VN407 and operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Five flights will be added to the Hanoi-Pusan route, designated VN429 and operating on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Seven flights a week currently serve these two routes.

VNA is offering 29% discounts on Ho Chi Minh City-Seoul route for tickets purchased two weeks in advance and 22% discounts for tickets booked one week before departure.

It is also offering discounts to Korean passengers travelling from Ho Chi Minh City to Seoul from now until March 2014. Tickets will cost 36% less if purchased at least two weeks before departure.

VNA is the only Vietnamese airline to fly directly from Vietnam to Seoul and Pusan.

Vietnam ranks 4th best ASEAN tourism attraction

Vietnam is ranked fourth best ASEAN tourism attraction in 2012, according to an ASEAN report released on September 17.

The 2012 Community Progress Monitoring System (ACPMS) report revealed that tourists from outside ASEAN coming to Vietnam made up the largest proportion, with 88 percent of the total number of foreign tourists to the country.

It also specified that tourist spending in Vietnam in 2011 made up 4.5 percent of the national GDP and 63.3 percent of the country’s export service turnover. Tourism exports accounted for 65.7 percent of the total export service turnover.

During 2005-2011, the country’s tourism sector enjoyed a trade surplus and hit US$4 million in 2011. Vietnam ‘s tourism export is ranked in the mid-level group among ASEAN countries.

Vietnam attends global tourism economy forum

As many as 1,000 delegates from countries and territories are attending the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF 2013) in Macao from September 17-19.

At the opening ceremony, the Head of the Macao Special Administrative Region said that despite global complications, the number of foreign arrivals rose 5% globally to nearly 500 million in the first six months of 2013.

The impressive figure testifies to the fact that the tourism industry has huge potential for development, contributing significantly to global economic growth.

In his address, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan affirmed Vietnam always attaches importance to promoting this “non-smoking” industry.

Besides drawing up a national tourism development strategy until 2020 and with a vision for 2030, Vietnam has set specific tourism targets for various periods of development.

Recently, he said Vietnam hosted a conference in HCM City, with the participation of representatives from Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, discussing the application of a single visa mechanism for the five involved countries to promote cross-border travel.

Thanks to constant efforts, Vietnam has become one of Asia’s attractive and friendly destinations for international visitors, Tuan noted.

He also highlighted the country’s tourism potential and pledged to create favorable conditions for foreign tour operators to expand their business in Vietnam.

GTEF 2013, initiated by the China Chamber of Tourism in 2012, is hosted by the Macao SAR Government and coordinated by the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre.

The forum, themed “Regenerate Our Economies: Invest in Travel and Tourism”, is an interactive discussion platform designed to capture a macro view of the interplay between tourism and other major economies and the momentum that each builds upon the growth of the other, contributing to the socio-economic development among countries.

Vingroup builds enormous tourist hub in Binh Dinh

The Binh Dinh People’s Committee and Vingroup Joint Stock Company has broken ground for the construction of the biggest-ever tourism area in this central province.

With a total investment of VND3.5 trillion (US$166 million), the Vinpearl Hai Giang covers an area of 656ha. It is designed to be an eco-tourism site including a five-star hotel, villa area with commercial service and sports centre, a cable car system and an 18-hole golf course.

The 1.5km cable car system, which first appears in central Binh Dinh Province, is being built in Quy Nhon City from Mui Tan to Phuong Mai peninsula. It is expected to be completed and come into operation in 2017.

Casino eco-resort project approved in Phu Quoc

Authorities in the southern province of Kien Giang have approved a casino eco-tourism resort project in Phu Quoc Island District.

Foreign investors participating in the bid to develop the project must prove their financial capacity and pledge to invest at least US$4 billion.

The casino is designed to cover an area of 30,000sq.m, accommodating 2,000 slot machines and 200 to 400 table games. The duration for the casino operating licence will be 30 years.

Sofitel Plaza launches French wine week

Sofitel Saigon Plaza will host a Wine Programme highlighting the rich variety of French vintage wines from September 23 – 30.— File Photo

(VNS) Sofitel Saigon Plaza will host a Wine Programme highlighting the rich variety of French vintage wines from September 23 – 30.

Its restaurant L’Olivier will present a wine collection of six famous wine regions of France, including Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Southwest, Rhone, Burgundy and Alsace with special discounts. The chefs will also design a food menu paired with each kind of wine.

The hotel is at 17 Le Duan Street in District 1.

Luxury ship launched in Ha Long

The five-star Starlight Cruise launched in Ha Long Bay by the Oriental Sails Company last Sunday is offering a 2 day-1 night package at US$185 per person in September and $215 from October 1 to December 31.

Oriental claims the 58m cruise vessel is the safest in Ha Long with more than three metres of draft. The company operates just the one luxury ship now but plans to add four more.

Starlight Cruise has 32 cabins besides a restaurant, a bar, two lounges, a library, a wine cellar, hot tubs, and a mini-golf course.

Quang Ninh to publicise tour prices

The northern Quang Ninh Province will publish the average prices of package tours and travel services offered by tour companies on its website and Quang Ninh newspaper for tourists’ benefit.

The administration has ordered the finance and culture, sports and tourism departments to do a survey to find the rates.

Around 5.7 million visitors arrived in the province in the first eight months of this year, a 12 per cent rise year-on-year.

They included 1.6 million foreigners.

The province also plans to exploit three destinations in Bai Tu Long Bay – Hon Xep Park, Van Canh Island, and Lo O for tourism purposes.

Bai Tu Long Bay is east of Ha Long Bay and is geologically very similar to the latter, but has not seen comparable tourism development.

The ecological zone of the bay stretches over an area of 100ha with more than 100km of coastline.

Ninh Thuan to organise wine fest

A three-day International Grapes and Wine festival will be held in Phan Rang City in Ninh Thuan Province to promote the economic potential of the fruit as well as attract tourists.

Organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the province, the festival will have more than 100 booths showcasing products made from grapes from Viet Nam as well as and France, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Hungary, Romania, and Germany.

The festival, expected to be held in April, will also feature an exhibition on grapes and wines, cuisine and kite-flying contests, and recreations of the acts of planting, harvesting, and producing wine and other grape products.

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