Hanoi second top Asian city for backpackers

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An have been ranked second, sixth and 12th respectively in the top 30 Asian cities based on price in the backpacker index for 2014, a database of travel costs around the world.

Hanoi, Vietnam’s cheapest city for backpackers, is described to have the world’s cheapest beer, bia hoi.

“The food is also top-notch, especially when you are sitting amongst locals at one of the thousands of plastic-chair cafes.”

Hanoi’s daily backpacker index, which is the daily budget required to travel there, is15.86 USD, while HCM City is 18.25 USD and Hoi An 23.23 USD. The top city is Pokhara, Nepal with a daily backpacker index of 14 USD.

Luxury liner brings tourists to land of heritage

Some 1,400 passengers and crew members on board the luxury liner Crystal Serenity arrived at Chan May port in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on February 27.

The ship from the Bahamas is known as a leader of its kind in the world.

During their stay in Vietnam, the visitors from 50 countries and territories are scheduled to tour heritage sites in Hue, Hoi An and Danang.

On February 28, the six-star liner Seven Sea Voyager from the US will also dock at Chan May port, bringing nearly 1,000 tourists to Thua Thien-Hue.

The port is expected to welcome 34 international cruise ships carrying 40,000 tourists in 2014.

In 2013, Thua Thien-Hue received around 2.6 million tourists, including over 900,000 foreigners.

It is home to the imperial Hue city complex and “Nha nhac” (royal court music), which were recognised as part of the world’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Central localities join together in tourism

The central localities of Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang and Quang Nam will cooperate with each other in tourism in order to ensure sustainable development.

With technical support coming from the Responsible Tourism Project, funded by the European Union (EU), the model is expected to set an example in managing inter-provincial destinations, Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said at a signing ceremony in Hue city on February 27.

According to him, the three localities have been viewed as key areas in Vietnam’s tourism strategy and master plan by 2020 with a vision towards 2030.

Speaking at the event, Berenice Muraille, head of Cooperation and Development of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, laid stress on the need for Vietnam to roll out measures to raise its competitiveness with neighbouring countries.

Urging collaboration between the State and the private sector, the EU official expressed her hope that the model will help encourage visitors to stay longer and come back the country.

Echoing Muraille’s views, Vu Quoc Tri, Director of the EU-funded project, called for the participation of the private sector in tourism management, especially local tourism associations.

In 2014, the EU-funded project will provide consultations regarding the management of attractions, in addition to helping the provinces explore holiday-makers’ demands, develop responsible tourism products and spur human resources development in this field, among others.

Earlier, the project also granted technical support to assist eight northwestern provinces through a similar model, which will also be implemented in the central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh, and several Mekong Delta provinces in March and April.

HCM City’s tourism sector targets 94 trillion VND

Ho Chi Minh City is striving to welcome 4.4 million international tourists, raking in 94 trillion VND (4.4 billion USD) – 15 percent more revenue than last year.

The target was proposed at a February 27 conference to discuss the fulfilment of the city’s culture, sports and tourism sectors this year.

To reach the goal, the tourism sector needs to continue improving the quality of tourism products and services and expand waterway tourism, especially ecotourism, Le Ton Thanh, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said at the event.

Efforts should be exerted to step up tourism promotion programmes and connections between tourist areas as well as further ensure public order, with a view of enhancing the attractiveness of the southern destinations in the eyes of foreign tourists.

In recent years, despite economic difficulties, HCM City, Vietnam’s bustling economic hub, has maintained its tourism growth, noted Le Van Hung, Acting Director of the Southern Office of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

He also suggested that the city and surrounding provinces pay attention to diversifying tourism products in order to fully tap their potential.

Last year, the city saw sustainable and stable growth in tourism, receiving more than 4.1 million foreign tourists, generating revenue of 81.97 trillion VND (3.85 billion USD).

Phu Quoc listed among best winter trips for 2014

The US-based National Geographic Traveller Magazine awarded Phu Quoc Island third place, after Paris (France) and Whitefish (the US), in the list of 15 editor-recommended destinations for Best Winter Trips 2014.

The magazine said some of Viet Nam’s best beaches are on heart-shaped Phu Quoc Island.

“What’s bringing international travellers so far, is the restrained development on Phu Quoc, its warm, turquoise waters, secluded, deep sand beaches, and lush, mountainous interior (protected as a national park.)”

It suggested tourists visit the island in dry season from December to March, and noted that Phu Quoc’s nuoc mam (fish sauce) is the essential Vietnamese condiment. It became the country’s first product to be granted European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status last year.

Best Winter Trips 2014 also included Lake Baikal (Russia), Santa Margherita Ligure (Italy), Nosara Beaches (Costa Rica), Masquerade Games (Bulgaria), and Gold Coast (Australia).

Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort offers cable car discounts

The Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort will offer a 40 per cent discount for its cable car ride and a buffet between March 1 and March 2.

The sales promotion is being offered in honour of Women’s Day, which is on March 8.

The resort has launched a spiritual tour to the mountaintop, which boasts a temple complex. The tour will take visitors to see the Goddess of the Forest statue, a pagoda, a nine-storey tower and a four-tonne bronze bell tower.

The mountain also offers trekking routes within the precincts of the nature reserve, a wax museum and an entertainment area.

Tourists can travel to the top of the mountain in 17 minutes by taking the new cable car route, which has four Guinness World records to its credit.

Ca Mau aims to attract 910,000 visitors in 2014

The southernmost province of Ca Mau has set a target to attract 910,000 visitors this year, including 19,000 international travelers. To this end, the province’s tourism sector has begun a campaign to popularise the region through exploiting existing tourism attractions, and connecting with neighboring provinces and cities.

The province received 27,000 tourists in the first two months of this year, up 19 per cent year-on-year.

Total turn-over from tourism in the past two months reached VND22 billion ($1,1 million), up 23 per cent on last year.

Sa Pa announces plans for cultural complex

Sa Pa District’s People’s Committee in the northern province of Lao Cai has announced a plan to develop a culture and entertainment complex in the district.

The project will be built on an area of 41ha near Nguyen Chi Thanh Road and Hoang Lien National Park. It will be divided into three main areas including a central operation centre, an entertainment area, souvenir shop area, restaurant, guesthouse and cable car area.

The project is set up to meet the increased demand from domestic and foreign visitors.