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International event promotes tourism via culture, art

Traditional art performances by troupes from Indonesia, the Philippines and Russia opened the Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) 2016 on April 14 in Hanoi.

Tourists learn how to make ceramic jars at Bat Trang Village in Hanoii. The village was awarded the title of "Best Craft Village" at this year’s VITM (Photo: travel-hanoi.com)

Tourists learn how to make ceramic jars at Bat Trang Village in Hanoii. The village was awarded the title of “Best Craft Village” at this year’s VITM (Photo: travel-hanoi.com)

The troupes performed on the outdoor stage, while visitors walked around the indoor exhibition area and enjoyed cultural specialities from various countries and territories, such as Thai massage and Taiwan’s pineapple cake. All goods and services were offered free of charge to the visitors.

This year, Vietnam impressed visitors with its Northwestern House, a 500sq.m. exhibition centre built in the shape of a traditional ethnic house to introduce destinations in the northwestern provinces. Apart from being used as an exhibition area for tourism and travel, it also features local specialities, traditional crafts and artworks.

During the travel mart, visitors to the area will have a chance to enjoy traditional dances and instrumental music and to watch handicrafts being made by people of various ethnicities.

Dancer Svetlana Subina from the Russian Cultural Centre in St Petersburg City said she came to Vietnam with three musicians and 11 other dancers.

“Vietnam and Russia have a long-standing friendship,” she said. “We love Vietnam; it is one of our favourite countries in Asia that we have always wanted to visit.”

Subina said the VITM impressed her with its numerous well-decorated booths that introduced various destinations and the tourism potential in Vietnam.

“By attending the fair, I now know much more about Vietnam. Before, I just knew about the beaches, such as Nha Trang and Da Nang, but now, I know that Vietnam has a spectacular mountainous landscape, mangrove forests and a rich culture.”

With the theme “Vietnam – The paradise of sea and island tourism”, the VITM focused on introducing the tourism potential of the coastal provinces and offered many sea and island tourism products.

Thousands of tourist packages, with discounts of up to 40 percent, will be offered at the event.

Some 15,000 tours with a 20-30 percent discount and 20,000 cheap airline tickets will be sold at the event, according to Vu The Binh, head of the organisation board.

“VITM hosts many press briefings, workshops and conferences to promote tourism and discuss problems and solutions. This is the biggest professional tourism event of the year.

“VITM can be compared with regional travel marts due to its capacity, scale and quality,” Binh said.

“Last year, VITM attracted 3,000 enterprises and 55,000 visitors. It worked really well, as many products were sold and many businesses have found opportunities to co-operate with each other.”

Vietrantour was the leader among the companies with the highest income from VITM 2014 and 2015. This year, it is offering discounts of up to 30 percent for 9,999 international and domestic tours at the fair, the company’s deputy director, Pham Bich Ngoc, said.

The first day of the travel mart was reserved for participating enterprises to exchange and sign co-operation contracts. It will open to the public today and run until Sunday at the Exhibition Fair Centre on 148 Giang Vo Street, Hanoi.

It was reported that 18.7 million Vietnamese travelled for leisure in the first quarter of this year, while the total number from last year was 30 million.-VNA

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About Vietnam

Vietnam eyes UNESCO recognition for 2 coastal areas

Scientists have urged local authorities to seek UNESCO recognition as global geoparks for two coastal areas in the central province of Quang Ngai.

Basalt rocks along the coast of Binh Chau Commune, the central province of Quang Ngai. Photo credit: Minh Hoang/Zing.vn

Basalt rocks along the coast of Binh Chau Commune, the central province of Quang Ngai. Photo credit: Minh Hoang/Zing.vn

They made the proposal at a recent meeting with Quang Ngai authorities after carrying out field trips with foreign scientists to the eastern commune of Binh Chau and Ly Son Island, according to Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper.

Tran Tan Van, chief of the Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources, was quoted as saying the areas boast a diversity of geographical layers representing many changes in the Earth’s crust, including basalt layers formed from a 10-million-year-old volcano.

Nguyen Hoang, an expert at the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, said Ly Son, in particular, is like a “natural museum” of volcanoes, given that 70 percent of its area carries volcanic features.

“It deserves to be named a global geopark.”

At least two ancient volcano craters were discovered under the sea near Ly Son, which is situated 15 nautical miles off the coast, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported. Three others were found at Binh Chau’s Ba Lang An point, it said.

While agreeing that the areas deserve global recognition, foreign experts said Vietnam need to do many things before applying to UNESCO.

Prof Setsuya Nakada of the University of Tokyo’s Volcano Research Center was quoted as saying at the meeting that Vietnam cannot rely merely on the areas’ geological features to get them the recognition, and how they draw the attention of local communities, tourists and world researchers is also important.

The more that people care about the areas, the greater the chance to get UNESCO recognition, he said, adding local authorities should organize spa and diving tours to attract tourists.

Once tourism grows, it will generate revenues for local people who will in turn take part in protecting the sites, according to foreign experts.

Dr Nancy Rhoenar Aguda of the University of the Philippines said the authorities should publish a book about Binh Chau and Ly Son to raise public awareness and launch other community-education activities.

Le Quang Thich, vice chairman of Quang Ngai, agreed to take on board the scientists’ advice and turn Binh Chau and Ly Son into tourist attractions and raise local people’s awareness about the need to protect them before submitting the applications to UNESCO.

Dong Van District in the northern province of Ha Giang is Vietnam’s only UNESCO-recognized global geopark.

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About Vietnam

Vietnamese traditional cupcake that blossoms like a flower

From three simple ingredients, arrowroot starch, egg and sugar, villagers in the central province of Quang Ngai have turned them into special cupcakes that look like yellow apricot blossom.

The cupcake, known locally as bánh thuẫn, is made all year round. It is particularly popular during two months ahead of the traditional Tet festival as people in central Vietnam love enjoying the cupcake during the country’s biggest holiday.

The Tet (Lunar New Year Festival) will fall on February 19 this year.

Video credit: Quang Ngai Online newspaper

English subtitles: Thanh Nien News

 

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About Vietnam

A pagoda dedicated to Vietnam’s last royal eunuchs

Located less than five kilometers from downtown Hue, the Tu Hieu Pagoda sits amid a hilly forest in Duong Xuan Village, Thuy Xuan Commune and is most famous for a graveyard dedicated to the remains of the Nguyen Dynasty’s castrated royal servants.

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