Speaking at the event, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Anh Tuan said the event aims to bolster tourism collaboration between Vietnam and Singapore as well as strengthen the traditional friendship between the two governments and peoples.

The minister hoped the event would actively progress the two sides’ tourism investment and exchange activities.

General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Nguyen Van Tuan affirmed that Singapore is an important market for the country’s tourism and that Vietnam’s diversified tourism products are attracting Singaporean travellers’ interest.

During the event, a film introducing Son Doong cave caught the attention of international travel, local communication and other foreign representative agencies based in the island country.

Vietnam received 202,436 Singaporean travellers in 2014, up 3.4 percent from the previous year. Singapore is the 12 th biggest market of Vietnamese tourism.

Vietjet announces direct routes from HCM City to Seoul

Vietnamese passengers will soon be able to fly direct from HCM city to Seoul (the Republic of Korea) after budget carrier Vietjet announced on June 5 that it will launch daily flights between the two cities in November.

The new service to Seoul will depart everyday from Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 00:15 and arrive at Incheon International Airport at 07:25, while the return flight will take off at 11:20 am from Seoul and arrive in HCM City at 14:50 pm.

From June 18-25 inclusive, Vietjet is offering up to 50,000 free and highly discounted tickets to passengers as part of a promotion campaign in connection with the launch of the new route.

Tickets can be purchase 12.00-14.00 (Vietnam time) daily at the airline’s website www.vietjetair.com or by visiting the airline’s Facebook at www.facebook.com/vietjetvietnam.

An airline representative said the airline will soon announce further expansion plans for its network in the Asia-Pacific Region to bring even more and exciting choices for Vietnamese travellers.

Tourism sector focuses on attracting domestic travellers

Vietnam should do more to encourage domestic tourism to counter the ongoing and damaging decrease in the number of foreign visitors, according to one of the country’s top tourism officials.

Nguyen Van Tuan, Head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said that impressive increases have been seen in number of Vietnamese tourists who decide to explore their home country rather than travel abroad, but suggested that more services could be offered to boost this number even more.

In the first four months of this year, the sector served 25 million domestic travellers, up 10 percent over the same period last year, he noted, presenting a golden opportunity for the tourism sector.

However, in peak seasons and long holidays, tourism destinations and resorts have been quick to become overloaded across the country, leading to a rise in cost and a decline in service quality, he noted.

Some localities still managed to provide for visitors, including the central city of Da Nang , where local households are encouraged to serve tourists and allow them to use their private toilets to make visitors feel at home. Neighbouring Hoi An has also maintained a friendly tourism environment despite high number of visitors, said Tuan.

Meanwhile, on Ly Son Island in the central province of Quang Ngai , where services for tourists have been limited, locals have invited visitors to stay in their homes for free.

Tuan also pointed out that domestic tours are facing fierce competition from economical tours abroad, especially to some ASEAN countries.

According to the Vietnam Association of Tourism, the number of Vietnamese people travelling abroad rises about 10 percent every year, with most going to China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and western Europe, besides ASEAN countries.

Attractive prices and good services provided by the tours make them extremely competitive, argued Tuan, noting that a tour to Japan currently costs 20 million VND (920 USD), while a five-day trip to the RoK only costs 16 million USD (760 USD). Sometimes, a five-day trip to Thailand can cost under 5 million VND (230 USD), even lower than Vietnam Airlines’ two-way air fare on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route, he said.

Nguyen Quy Phuong, head of VNAT’s Travel Department, said that a domestic tourism promotion programme, which was launched in 2014 when the number of foreign visitors first dropped sharply following a high period of tensions in the wake of China’s illegal deployment of an oil rig in Vietnam’s waters, has seen active response from travel agencies.

Thousands of new tourism products and tours have been introduced to travellers since then, offering diverse choices to explore the beauty across the country.

Last year, the domestic tourism served over 35 million Vietnamese travellers, exceeding its set target. This year, the sector is expected to welcome 37.5 million tourists, said Phuong.

Dong Thap promote ecological tourism

The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap considers ecological tourism a priority in the province’s Tourism Development Plan for 2015-2020.

Under the plan, Cao Lanh—Dong Thap’s capital city—will feature lotus flowers and green architectures.

In 2015, Dong Thap will give a facelift to most of its major tourist sites – the Nguyen Sinh Sac relic, the Xeo Quyt relic, the Tram Chim National Park, Gao Giong ecological tourist site, the Go Thap and Thap Muoi lotus field relic, Sa Dec city and Binh Thanh floating village.

Sa Dec city, which has been known for its flower farms, will become a land of flowers with a flower street running from Sa Nhien to Ca Dao.

The Tram Chim National Park, which is home to dozen of bird species, is another area for tourists to experience nature in Dong Thap.

Tourism sector aims for effective development

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has taken a number of approaches to develop the sector effectively and sustainably in 2015 and following years.

The ministry has proposed stablishing a fund to mobilise different resources for the development of tourism.

The fund, with 70 percent of its funding coming from businesses, is expected to expand promotion activities and markets to enhance the competitiveness of the sector.

The ministry has also sought the approval of the Government to grant visa exemptions for tourists from key markets to draw more international visitors to the country.

General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Nguyen Van Tuan, argued that a more favourable visa policy would lure more foreign arrivals.

Currently, Vietnam unilaterally exempts visas for citizens of Japan, the Republic of Korea, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Russia. It bilaterally grants 30-day exemptions for citizens from nine out of the 10 ASEAN member states, according to Tuan.

Under a resolution just issued on June 1 this year by the government, visitors from Belarus will enjoy visa exemptions from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2020.

Meanwhile, Vu The Binh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association said a favourable visa policy should be applied for key tourism markets and countries that share good political and cultural relations with Vietnam.

The association has suggested that France, Germany, the UK and Australia should also be added to the exemption list. It wants to see more visas collected at border gates in the last six months of this year.

Vietnam has seen significant increases of tourists from its key markets of Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Russian since granting visa exemptions to them.

In 2014, Vietnam welcomed 1.8 million tourists from the three countries, making up 23.6 percent of the total arrivals.

Syrena Cruises earns 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

The Halong based Syrena Cruises has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award 2015.

The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 per cent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

“The Syrena Cruises is truly honored to be awarded with a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Bui Thi Hue, deputy director of the Syrena Cruises. “We always strive to offer our guests a memorable experience when cruising with us. This accolade is proved that our efforts have been recognized and is rewarded with positive reviews by our guests on TripAdvisor.”

Built in accordance with traditional Vietnamese style and modern-day luxury, Syrena Cruises have maintained the high standards of luxury cruising in Halong Bay. The Syrena Cruises fleet of two ships offers a total of 34 luxury cabins and suites accommodating a total of 68 passengers for Halong Bay cruises or hosted events (weddings, corporate retreats, incentives, meetings and conferences.)

Syrena Cruises is managed by Syrena Vietnam, a subsidiary of BIM Group, one of the leading private enterprises in Vietnam.

Jetstar Pacific opens Hanoi to Da Lat, Phu Quoc routes

The first flight operated by low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines bringing 180 passengers from Hanoi to Da Lat landed in Lien Khuong Airport on June 1.

The new service will be operational with a daily flight using 180-seat Airbus 320. The aircraft will depart Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi at 07:15; and at 9:40pm from Lien Khuong airport in Da Lat.

The flight duration is around 1 hour and 50 minutes each way.

General Director of Jetstar Pacific Airlines, Le Hong Ha said that the Hanoi-Da Lat route, together with four other routes linking Central Highlands Buon Ma Thuot City with Ho Chi Minh City, the central Vinh city, northern central Thanh Hoa province and northern port city of Hai Phong will boost tourism development in the region.

On the same day, the carrier also launched the new route between Hanoi and Phu Quoc to meet the demand of traveling in the summer tourism season

The new service will start from June 1 to September 6 with a daily return flight using 180-seat Airbus 320.

The aircraft will take off at 3.45 pm from the Noi Bai International Airport and 6:35pm in Phu Quoc Airport. It takes 2 hours and 10 minutes each way.

One way airfare on Hanoi-Da Lat and Hanoi-Phu Quoc routes are VND 690,000 and VND790,000 respectively, not including tax and fees .


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