Da Nang-Singapore flights increased
SilkAir would add another flight between Singapore and Da Nang via Siem Reap beginning October 31, the airline confirmed to Viet Nam News.
The fourth weekly flight between Da Nang and Singapore, via Siem Reap in Cambodia will take off on Thursdays.
Regular flights to Siem Reap will continue on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Bach Dang Wharf to be developed into tourism port
The HCMC government has given approval in principal for Saigontourist Holding Company to develop Bach Dang Wharf into a tourism port to facilitate the arrangement of river tours besides other travel and entertainment services in the city.
Saigontourist said it is working with District 1 authority on the handover of Bach Dang Wharf with a total length of some 1.3 kilometers running along Ton Duc Thang Street in District 1. The wharf is being used by around five to six units at present.
Saigontourist is entrusted by the local government to develop river tours as the key product of the city’s tourism industry in the near future. The firm plans to turn Bach Dang Wharf into a tourism port with a berth area for tourist boats and other related services. After the port is in place, floating restaurants and tourist boats which are dropping anchor there are still able to continue docking in the planned areas or other venues.
Saigontourist earlier this month introduced seven daily tourism tours to depart from Bach Dang Wharf. They are tours to East-West Highway via Tau Hu Canal, Binh Quoi, four-hour tour of Cu Chi Tunnel, Monkey Island and Sac Forest military base, Vam Sat Tourism Area, Long Phuoc garden house in District 9 and Phu My Hung urban area.
More local visitors visit Thailand
The number of Vietnamese visitors to Thailand has still been growing strongly, with more than 260,000 locals traveling to the neighboring country from January to May, increasing 10.4% year-on-year.
The strong rise is made possible owing to the ample availability of flights connecting the two countries, at up to 104 flights heading to Thailand weekly.
With such high growth in the first five months, Thailand’s tourism industry expects the number of Vietnamese visitors to the nation to exceed the 618,000-person mark recorded last year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office in HCMC. However, due to economic difficulties, Vietnamese tourists have chosen shorter stays in Thailand to save expenses.
The number of Vietnamese customers entering Thailand by road via border gates in the central region has also posted strong growth besides those flying to the nation, the TAT office said.
In addition to Thailand, other destinations such as Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are also seeking ways to tap Vietnam as a potential visitor-generating market. The number of Vietnamese travelers to these countries has been on the rise recently.
South Korea welcomed around 45,000 Vietnamese from January to May, Korea Tourism Organization in Vietnam reports. The Korean tourism authority expects to attract more Vietnamese during this summer holiday.
Similarly, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board in Vietnam is also launching numerous activities to lure more local travelers to Malaysia, which is forecast to surpass last year’s 211,000 persons.
Triem Tay Ecotourism Village opens in Quang Nam Province
The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Quang Nam Province, the People’s Committee of Dien Ban District, and the Hoi An Craft Village Conservation and Development Company jointly inaugurated the Triem Tay Ecotourism Village in Dien Phuong Commune in Dien Ban District on June 25.
Triem Tay Ecotourism Village was built in June 2009 over 13.447 square meters, preserving the village architecture of Quang Nam Province.
There are many ancient wooden houses there and boat services take visitors across the Thu Bon River.
In Triem West Village about 147 households and residents live mainly by farming and weaving mats and hence many will benefit through the Triem Tay Ecotourism Village.
Taiwanese airline to launch Dong Hoi-Taipei route
The first international route linking Dong Hoi in Vietnam’s central Quang Binh province with Taipei, Taiwan (China), is to open from August this year.
The service, conducted by TransAsia Airways of Taiwan, will operate one flight a week on Mondays, using A320 and A321 planes.
The Quang Binh provincial People’s Committee has worked with the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam and the airline to reach the agreement.
At present, Dong Hoi Airport only serves the domestic flights of the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.
VietJetAir announces Thai Joint Venture
Vietnam’s budget carrier VietJetAir has entered into a partnership with a Thai air carrier to capitalise on this lucrative market.
Kan Air, a Thai potential air carrier, has been chosen to establish a Thai VietJetAir joint venture of a new generation.
A document to this effect was signed in Bangkok June 26 between representatives of VietJetAir and Kan Air.
At the signing ceremony, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said cooperation between the two airlines will help boost trade and tourism ties between Vietnam and Thailand.
He expressed his belief that with its fleet modernisation and operation expansion strategy, VietJetAir will contribute to promoting Vietnam’s image to international friends.
A VietJetAir representative said the establishment of the JV is the company’s first step towards tapping into international markets through its various modes of cooperation.
Thai VietJetAir is scheduled to fly in early 2014, using A320s.
With a fleet of 10 A320s, VietJetAir is flying to 11 domestic destinations and operating two international routes between HCM City and Hanoi of Vietnam to Bangkok, Thailand.
Quang Nam heritage festival wrapped up
The fifth Quang Nam heritage festival was concluded in the central province of Quang Nam on June 26, with the Miss Ethnic Pageant final putting the last note to a string of colourful events.
The five-day show began with an international choir festival which gathered 15 art troupes from 9 countries and territories.
It was followed by an exhibition entitled “Vietnam-ASEAN cultural heritage space” showcasing the cultural and natural heritage examples of 22 cities and provinces nationwide and Southeast Asian nations.
At the same time, an ethnic art festival was held, together with a beauty contest with the participation of more than 1,000 contestants from all ethnic groups in Vietnam.
In addition, visitors were given a feast of folk music and dance performances staged by artists from Vietnam and ASEAN member nations.
The Week of Culture and Development also got underway with diverse activities, such as tours of G tower in My Son sanctuary and an exhibition on UNESCO-Quang Nam cooperation in culture and sustainable development.
Quang Nam took the occasion to offer new tourist products including Triem Tay village with garden houses, Dien Ban museum, Phu Ninh eco-tourism complex, and Zara brocade weaving village.
Tourism development concerns raised in Hoi An
As part of the fifth Quang Nam Heritage Festival held in Hoi An City, a workshop on ‘how to prove cultural heritages’ values for development of tourism-experience from Hoi An’ has been hosted to discuss the local authorities’ concerns with developing tourism from cultural values.
The workshop aims for authorities and experts in the tourism sector to exchange as well as share experiences from locals to make tourism more effective.
Nguyen Ngoc Quang, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee in the central province of Quang Nam, said that the province always put heritage values in tourism development as a top priority. In recent years, the province has released many regulations on managing and protecting historical, cultural sites and landscapes, renovating projects and on national relic recognition.
Along with missions of preserving and restoring tangible heritages, the province also calls on public awareness of protecting intangible values such as customs, old traditions, religions, folk art genres as well as old traditional festivals.
Since 1990, Vietnam has 17 sites recognized as world heritages by UNESCO, of which there are three heritages and 13 cultural heritages.
Moreover, there are more than 6,000 provincial relics, more than 3,000 relics and landscapes at national level as well as 34 national relics.
The treasure of intangible heritages also includes millions of artifacts and antiques as well as precious items displayed at 125 museums nationwide.
These heritages not only bring tremendous benefits for tourism but also attract a large volume of tourists to Vietnam.
However, many tourist agents insist that the country’s tourism sector exploits heritages improperly as they chase down the profit and ignore the protection and preservation of heritages appropriately.
In fact, UNESCO has warned the nation about the negative issues of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the unreasonable fish farming on Halong Bay and uncertainties on urban management in Hue ancient city.
Recognized as a world heritage in 1999, the volume of tourists going to Hoi An ancient town has increased year by year and the city has also lured restoration investment from nations and international organizations.
Le Thi Kim Oanh, director of Vietravel from the Central Vietnam region, said that Hoi An is losing its charm as preservation projects have not been carried out properly and the number of local residents’ business of cafés, fashion, garment and food shops has taken away from the charm of the town’s old houses.
Some festivals are held just for short-term promotion or just to impress tourists as well as to seek recognition.
Nguyen Manh Cuong, deputy general director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, also admitted that the tourism exploitation in some sites has not been good or effective as expected. Many economic and social benefits are causing negative effects on heritages, he added.
Therefore, representatives at the workshop concluded that they need to team together to figure out solutions to provide heritage values in tourism development.
Collaboration between authorities, tourist agents, heritage developers, tourism exploiters as well as the community is needed. Cao Tri Dung, director of Vitours, said that the connection will bring strength to tourism exploitation, market segmentation as well are serving travelers’ demands.
US website Business Insider hails pho as food of a lifetime
Business Insider, a New York-based business news site, has listed Ha Noi’s pho, a “tangy beef noodle soup”, as the first of “40 meals you should eat in your lifetime”.
The list mentioned 40 dishes that are “worth traversing the planet for, which culinary enthusiasts will want to add to their list of travel destinations”.
The other foods include an epic seven-course meal at El Celler de Can Roca, a Catalan restaurant in Girona, Spain; a chewy, gooey slice of Neapolitan-style pizza in Naples, Italy; soup dumplings in Shanghai and Hong Kong’s dim sum (bite-sized morsels – dumplings, pork buns, turnip cakes, noodles).