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Vietnam welcomes first foreign visitors of 2012

On the first day of 2012, many foreign visitors arrived in Vietnam by air and sea.

In the early morning of January 1, officials of the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports, the Tourism and the HCM City Tourism Association and the Vietnam Airlines Corporation welcomed the first foreign tourists to the city in 2012.

The first group was 260 tourists from the UK, followed by nearly 300 Germany visitors on flights of Vietnam Airlines.

HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s deputy director La Quoc Khanh presented flowers, New Year greeting cards, gifts and books on Vietnam’s tourism to the first visitors.

Vietnam Airlines offered these special tourists free luggage fees as the New Year gifts.

Peter Grove and Kate Goswell from the UK said they were very happy to be visiting beautiful Vietnam with its friendly, hospitable people and wanted to go on a trans-Vietnam journey during the first days of the New Year.

The first foreign tourists were welcomed by traditional songs and dances, performed by Vietnamese artists at the airport.

An official from the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that in 2011, HCM City welcomed 3.5 million foreign visitors, up by 13 percent over 2010.

Saigontourist also welcomed a group of Russian visitors to HCM City at 4.50pm, January 1, on a flight of Vietnam Airlines.

Meanwhile, the northern border province of Quang Ninh received three groups of tourists from China and Japan and nearly 100 foreign visitors who were on an excursion tour of Ha Long Bay organized by Saigontourist. Around 5,000 visitors boarded 352 hydrofoils to cruise in Ha Long Bay before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Saigontourist Quang Ninh also welcomed an additional 500 international visitors from China and Europe to Ha Long Bay on the same day.

Hotels in the Bai Chay Tourist Resort held a variety of programs to welcome 2012 and most of the hotels in the resort were 65 percent full, with some reaching 75-100 percent. On January 1, Novotel plans to welcome more than 300 visitors who have booked rooms already.

Last year, Quang Ninh served nearly 6.2 million visitors including 2.3 million from abroad, earning revenues of VND3.4 trillion. In 2012, the province aims to attract 7 million visitors and bring in around VND4 trillion.

Thousands of visitors also flocked to tourist destinations in the central region on the first day of the New Year. The most popular destinations were Vinpearl, Yang Bay, Diamond and the islands in Nha Trang Bay.

Quang Nam province and Hoi An city held a ceremony to welcome 45 people from the Republic of Korea.

The visitors were treated to art performances and traditional folk games by local artists.

Tran Minh Ca, deputy chairman of the Quang Nam provincial People Committee said that the province has planned special programmes in 2012 to attract more local and foreign tourists including major cultural events to be held throughout the year.

The province will also upgrade its infrastructure and speed up projects to fully tap its tourism potential.

PV

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