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Archive for March 18th, 2010|Daily archive page

Vietnam boosts tourism promotion

In Vietnam Travel on March 18, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Vietnam boosts tourism promotion

QĐND – Thursday, March 18, 2010, 20:45 (GMT+7)

Despite numerous difficulties and challenges, Vietnam’s tourism sector achieved remarkable results in 2009. The sector is currently enjoying numerous opportunities to attract even more visitors in 2010.

An “impressive” year

According to Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the Vietnam Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the economy in 2009 suffered due to the global financial crisis, resulting in high unemployment and a drop in tourism. Consequently, the world’s tourism sector experienced a sharp decrease in its growth.

Similarly, the number of foreign tourists to Vietnam has also dropped sharply since the end of 2008. Most hotels were not fully occupied, while local travel agents found it difficult to lure more visitors. Since 2003, the country’s tourism sector has faced huge difficulties and challenges.

However, thanks to strong support from the Government and relevant agencies at all levels, Vietnam’s tourism sector has gradually overcome its difficulties. Notably, the sector has benefited from the Government’s stimulus package. It has launched a promotion campaign entitled “Impressive Vietnam” in all provinces and cities nationwide, particularly in major tourist destinations.

Most tourism businesses have taken part in the promotion campaign by offering discounts for tours and tourism services. At present, the price for accommodation at three-to five-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City – the country’s largest tourism centre – is 30 percent lower compared to May 2008.

The national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, has cut prices by 60 percent for domestic flights from Hanoi to Hue, from Hanoi to Da Nang, from HCM City to Hue, and from HCM City to Da Nang.

A number of travel agents have also offered low-cost tours to visitors to Hue and other central provinces and cities following promotional programmes provided by Vietnam Airlines and hotels in the central region.

These moves have effectively promoted the development of the local tourism sector, thus helping to prevent further economic slowdown and restore the growth of international visitors to Vietnam.

In 2009, Vietnam welcomed 3.8 million foreign arrivals, a 10-percent drop from the previous year, with the lowest levels being seen in the first months of the year. Nevertheless, the total of domestic tourists in 2009 reached 25 million, up 20 percent, representing a positive sign for the local tourism sector. As a result, the sector’s total revenue last year was estimated at VND70,000 billion, a 9-percent increase over 2008.

Making progress

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) forecast that the world tourism sector will rebound strongly in 2010 after the global financial crisis and natural disasters. The sector declined by 4 percent last year but will increase by 3-4 percent this year. In fact the recovery began in the fourth quarter of last year.

In Vietnam, together with the positive economic growth rate, the increase in the number of tourists in late 2009 and early 2010 is a good sign for the tourism sector.

According to the VNAT, in the first two months of this year, Vietnam received 900,000 foreign tourists, a year-on-year increase of 27 percent. These tourists mainly come from China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, ASEAN and the Europe. This demonstrates that promotional and stimulus programmes began paying off.

“The number of domestic tourists rose sharply,” says Mr Tuan. In the first two months, the tourism sector attracted 10 million visitors.

In 2010, the tourism sector will gain further ground to raise its revenue as Vietnam undertakes the ASEAN presidency and organizes the grand celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, the National Tourism Year, and the 50th anniversary of Vietnam’s tourism sector. Another important factor is that Vietnam’s position is increasingly rising in the international arena.

However, Vu The Binh, head of the Travel Department, says that it will be quite a demanding task for the tourism sector to achieve the goal of attracting 4.2 million foreign and 27-28 million domestic tourists set by the VNAT in its “Vietnam – your destination” stimulus programme for 2010. Especially as the Government has withdrawn its support policies and a series of challenges still lie ahead, such as unsustainable growth, fierce competition, unpredictable weather and natural disasters.

Mr Binh says that new issues in the stimulus programme will be implemented strictly to make strong progress this year and in the following years. Accordingly, there will be discount and promotion campaigns to combine tourism with trade.

In addition, improving the quality of service is very important in order to leave a deep impression on visitors and make them feel that Vietnam is a truly attractive destination. The more than 3 million overseas Vietnam are potential advertisers to lure more visitors to Vietnam if Vietnam devises suitable policies to get them involved in the stimulus campaign.

Mr Tuan says that it is very important to create a close link between tourism and other economic sectors as well as between provinces and businesses. This was manifested vividly in 2009. Despite the impact of the global financial crisis, with a concerted effort from Vietnam’s tourism sector significant results were still achieved, living up to the slogan “Impressive Vietnam”. There is high hope that Vietnam will reach the target set for 2010.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Vietnam Airlines to launch Vinh-Hanoi route in May

In Vietnam Travel on March 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Vietnam Airlines to launch Vinh-Hanoi route in May

QĐND – Thursday, March 18, 2010, 20:55 (GMT+7)

The central province of Nghe An’s People’s Committee and the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines have agreed to open an air service between Vinh city and Hanoi on May 19.

The launching of the route is necessary due to increasing demand for air travel in Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces, and is expected to facilitate travelling and socio-economic development in the province and neighbouring areas.

Vietnam Airlines plans to increase the number of flights between Hanoi and Tuy Hoa city of central Phu Yen province from three to five a week from March 28.
A 79-seat Fokker aircraft will ply the route. Flight times have yet to be announced.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Early marriages put stress on ethnic families

In Politics-Society on March 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Early marriages put stress on ethnic families

QĐND – Thursday, March 18, 2010, 20:45 (GMT+7)

Girls in an ethnic minority village only 110km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City are still getting married and having children at as early as the age of 13.

“One out of ten households in the village will marry-off their daughters at an early age,” said Dinh Thi Loan, deputy head of a village in An Khuong Commune in southern Binh Phuoc province’s Binh Long town.

Loan pointed to a lack of male workers and old customs as the main reasons for teenage marriages.

Parents of young girls in the S’tieng ethnic group in the mountainous area around Binh Long town have been organising marriages for their young daughters for generations.

The hope that the new husband will work on the family farm is one of the main reasons quoted by S’tieng people for continuing the practice.

Four years ago a mother in An Khuong commune named Gai, 35, decided not to listen to advice from her peers and arranged a marriage for her 15-year-old daughter who had just finished elementary school.

Gai, who was a child bride herself at 15, and is now widowed with five children, argued that by organising her teenage daugher’s wedding she was only following tradition and that others shouldn’t interfere.

Her motivation was to recruit a workman into the family farm business to support her as the main breadwinner.

Her plan backfired, however, when her new son-in-law, also a teenager, decided to hang out with his friends instead of working the land.

Instead of an extra pair of hands on the farm, Gai got a new grandson and has another one on the way.

Ut, one of Gai’s neighbours, also married-off her four daughters – all at age 15. All the daughters had to drop out of school abruptly to get married at their mother’s request.

It has been tough on Ut financially. Her land has been divided into pieces as dowries for her daughters, leaving her with little land to support her sick father and her youngest daughter’s family.

It was a common story in the town that teenage wives were too young and irresponsible to be able to take proper care of their reproductive health and children.

Many of the teenage brides were not aware that they were pregnant when their bellies began to bulge, and they ate herbs that are dangerous during pregnancy, according to Nguyen Thi Kim Nga, head of the communal clinic.

Nga said some of the young girls have given birth in the fields.

In an effort to stop the practice of young teenagers becoming brides, the commune’s Women’s Association set up an organization against teen brides which has 100 women members in the village.

The women have pledged not to marry off their sons and daughters until they are older and are trying to persuade other women in the village to do the same.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

ICT helps improve health care services, say experts

In Politics-Society on March 18, 2010 at 3:37 pm

ICT helps improve health care services, say experts

QĐND – Thursday, March 18, 2010, 20:45 (GMT+7)

The application of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the country’s health care sector is necessary, helping raise the sector’s treatment capacity.

The remark was made by experts from the Ministry of Health at a four-day national seminar on improving public services by ICT in the capital city of Hanoi that started on March 16.

The seminar is being held under the umbrella of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the National Information Agency (NIA) of the Republic of Korea and the Asia-Pacific ICT Training Centre.

According to the experts, the country’s health care sector is facing a number of challenges – the aging population, rising chronic diseases and epidemic outbreaks – while health care costs are increasingly going up.

The information link-up at all levels in the health care sector will bring about optimistic results, agreed the experts, adding that the doing will reduce administrative costs and improve the health care services.

The experts reckoned that first and foremost it is a must to build a legal framework and policies related to the ICT application in the sector.

Also, it is obligatory to set up a common database for the sector, linking central with local health care facilities, they added.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Reducing impacts of climate change for sustainable development

In Politics-Society on March 18, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Reducing impacts of climate change for sustainable development

QĐND – Thursday, March 18, 2010, 20:46 (GMT+7)

The economics of low-carbon development and its potential to mitigate climate change in Vietnam were under discussion at a consultation workshop in Hanoi on March 17.

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change, as it is home to 563 million people, with an annual population growth of around 2 percent, compared with the global average of 1.4, said the Asian Development Bank in its 2009 report on the economic impact of climate change on Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia is also a region with a long coastline and its population density and economic activities focus on coastal areas, while people’s livelihood is mainly in agriculture, according to the report.

Climate change has affected the region through the frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts, floods, and tropical storms. It has also worsened droughts and degradation of coastal areas, hindered agricultural production, threatened food security, caused forest fires, and increased epidemics.

The workshop proposed that Vietnam seek appropriate economic growth models for continuous development while reducing the risks associated with the impacts of climate change.

Low-carbon development is a realistic option for Vietnam, as it can reduce its carbon emissions by up to 40 percent through 2020 while still pursuing its own economic development, said the participants.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Party leader assures French diplomat of close ties

In Politics-Society on March 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Party leader assures French diplomat of close ties

QĐND – Thursday, March 18, 2010, 20:55 (GMT+7)

Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) General Secretary Nong Duc Manh reaffirmed his country’s respect for its relations with France while meeting with the new French Ambassador in Hanoi on March 18.

Manh said he was confident that Ambassador Jean Francois Girault would contribute to developing relations between the two countries during his new mission in Vietnam .

Girault, who paid a courtesy visit to the CPV leader upon assuming his post, pledged to do his best to fulfil agreements signed by the two countries and raise bilateral ties to the level of strategic partnership.

He spoke highly of Vietnam ’s achievements in renewal and its role in the region and the world, especially in the year 2010 when Vietnam holds the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND