The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on September 22 announced the theme and activities of the National Tourism Year 2018, which will be hosted by the north-eastern province of Quang Ninh.
Accordingly, a number of main activities will be held in Quang Ninh, including the opening and closing ceremonies of the National Year, a cuisine festival, a paragliding competition, a photo contest, and a ceremony to announce and present certificate recognising Cua Ong temple as a special national relic site, among others.
Besides the ministry and Quang Ninh, 14 other provinces and cities will join hands to organise cultural, sports and tourism events in response to the National Tourism Year 2018.
The National Tourism Year 2018 is expected to draw more foreign tourists to Vietnam and bolster growth of domestic tourism, fulfilling the target of Vietnam's tourism sector in 2018 and upcoming years.
The event is also hoped to raise public awareness about tourism development in association with protection of marine resources and promote cultural values and tourism products of Quang Ninh province.
Under the Overall Plan for Tourism Development in Quang Ninh to 2020 and Vision to 2030, Quang Ninh strives to become an international tourism centre and a leading tourism destination in Vietnam with modern infrastructure and diverse, high quality and competitive tourism products.
By 2020, Quang Ninh aims to welcome 15-16 million tourists, including seven million foreigners, and rake in VND30-40 trillion (US$1.3-1.7 billion) in revenue. The tourism sector is expected to contribute 14-15% to the gross regional domestic product (GRDP).
In 2016, Quang Ninh welcomes 8.3 million tourist arrivals, a year-on-year increase of seven percent, and earned over VND13 trillion (US$571 million) in revenue, up 23%, according to the Quang Ninh Department of Tourism.
Particularly, the world natural heritage site of Ha Long Bay welcomed 6.3 million tourists and grossed VND7.7 trillion (over US$338 million) in revenue, representing respective increases of 14% and 65% from the previous year. About 2.7 million of the visitors were foreigners, a year-on-year growth of 16%.
Being favoured by nature with a range of stunning landscapes, clear turquoise sea and spectacular limestone pillars together with numerous tourism investment projects, Quang Ninh boasts huge potential to develop sustainable green tourism.
Quang Ninh has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and over 2,000 islets which account for two-thirds of the total number in Vietnam.
The spectacular stretch of coast connects the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay with majestic natural scenery, Bai Tu Long Bay, Van Don and Co To islands and Tra Co beach with Cat Ba National Park in the northern port city of Hai Phong.
Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba island and Do Son beach (Hai Phong city) are prioritised to develop into national tourism sites.
Along with the renowned Ha Long Bay, Quan Lan, Minh Chau, Ngoc Vung, Dai beaches in Van Don island district and Tra Co and Vinh Thuc in Mong Cai city have grown in stature among domestic and international tourists thanks to their breathtaking sea and coral reef.