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UN Security Council fails to reach accord on Korea crisis

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2010 at 6:27 am

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 19, 2010 (AFP) – The UN Security Council failed Sunday to agree a statement on the Korean military crisis and Russia warned that the international community was now left without “a game plan” to counter escalating tensions.

China rejected demands by Western nations that North Korea be publicly condemned for its November 23 attack on Yeonpyeong island which killed four South Koreans, diplomats said.

South Korean marines patrol on the South Korea-controlled island of Yeonpyeong near the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea on December 20, 2010. AFP

About eight hours of formal talks by the 15 nation council and private discussions, which brought in the North and South Korean ambassadors, ended without accord.

“We were not successful in bridging” differences between the parties, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin told reporters.

He added that unofficial talks would continue, but Susan Rice, the US ambassador and Security Council president for December, said it was “safe to predict that the gaps that remain are unlikely to be bridged.”

She added that “the majority of council members made clear their view that it was important to condemn” the November 23 artillery attack and the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Rice called the incidents “unprovoked aggression” by North Korea on the South.

However China even rejected a version of Russia’s statement which did not mention North Korea or the Yeonpyeong name in a proposed paragraph on the November 23 attack, diplomats said.

Britain produced a rival draft statement which said the council “condemns the attack launched by the DPRK on the ROK on November 23.” The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of the North and the Republic of Korea is the South.

Churkin said Russia demanded the meeting on Saturday because of its “grave concern” about tensions between North and South Korea, a region right on Russia’s doorstep.

The South has vowed to go ahead with a live firing drill near Yeonpyeong. The North has threatened to retaliate.

Russia had wanted a call of “maximum restraint” to be sent to the two Koreas and for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send a special envoy to negotiate with the rival states.

Churkin said the idea of a UN envoy had received “strong support” in the talks.

“I hope that this idea can still be pursued because now we have a situation with very serious political tension and no game plan on the diplomatic side,” said Churkin.

Six nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons have come to a standstill “and there is no other diplomatic activity, so we believe that there must be an initiative and this initiative of the secretary general appointing an envoy might be something which will set a political process in track,” Churkin said.

The foreign ministers of Russia and China have called on South Korea not to stage its military drills and this was reaffirmed by Churkin.

“We know that it is better to refrain from doing this exercise at this time,” he said.

South Korea has US backing however and Rice countered that it had a legitimate right to stage the exercises.

Source: SGGP

Cashew export value to reach 1b USD for first time

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Cashew export value to reach 1b USD for first time

QĐND – Thursday, December 16, 2010, 21:3 (GMT+7)

The cashew industry is expected to top the 1 billion USD mark in export value this year for the first time, helping the country maintain its position as the world’s leading cashew exporter for the fourth consecutive year, the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) says.

The industry was predicted to export 198,000 tonnes of cashews, earning 1.14 billion USD for this year, said Nguyen Thai Hoc, Vinacas chairman. Exports would jump by 11.8 percent in volume and 34 percent in value against last year.

A year-on-year increase of 32 percent in value to 1.5 billion USD was projected for next year, Hoc said.

“It might be difficult to hit this target because the industry may lack raw materials and workers for processing export products. It may also have to struggle due to low product diversification and increased processing costs.”

“However, Vinacas hopes that the business environment at home and abroad will help the industry reach next year’s target,” he added.

The association had already completed a draft development strategy for the cashew industry by 2015 and towards 2020 to submit to the Government and other relevant ministries and sectors, Hoc said.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the industry exported 179,000 tonnes of cashew in the first 11 months of this year, worth 1 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 11 percent in volume and 31.9 percent in value.

The average export price of Vietnamese cashew jumped by 27 percent to 6,000 USD per tonne compared with the same period last year, said Hoc.

Vietnam ‘s cashew nuts are exported to 52 countries and territories, including the United States , China and the European Union.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Japan eco-fair seeks to reach next generation

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:44 am

TOKYO, Dec 16, 2010 (AFP) – Japanese schoolchildren in yellow scarves, blue hats and red caps buzzed through an eco-products fair — a green show-and-tell for high tech companies seeking to enthuse a new generation.

Educational workshops and corporate booths at Eco-Products 2010, one of the country’s largest environmental exhibitions, last week showed off ways to save and sustain the planet that these youngsters will soon inherit.

“Do you know how we can separate different plastics used in a refrigerator after it is crushed?” asked an engineer from Mitsubishi Electric, one of more than 700 exhibitors that filled the large trade fair hall.

A lot of blank faces stared back — but soon the children tried the process for themselves, shaking up clear plastic bottles filled with water and a mixture of scraps of different plastic components.

“If we put the plastic scraps in the water, some float and others sink, so you can make an initial separation,” said the engineer, explaining the concept behind Mitsubishi Electric’s industrial-scale recycling processes.

In the next stage of the experiment, the children spun the remaining scraps in a second, dry bottle, with some bits sticking to the side because of static electricity and others sliding to the bottom.

The theme of the exhibition — held at Tokyo Big Sight, a futuristic harbourside conference centre topped by a giant inverted pyramid — was “Green x Clean Revolution! Expand the power to connect lives to the world”.

The fair drew a record of more than 180,000 visitors in three days, including some 20,000 students from in and around Tokyo, organisers said.

To stay true to its green message, the fair was powered by wind, solar and biomass energy sources, and paper entry tickets were replaced with bar-codes emailed to guests’ cellphones and scanned on the way into the fair.

On display were eco-products from home appliances to hybrid and electric cars, but also energy and chemical applications, and sustainable and non-polluting methods of making paper and other materials.

Also pushing eco-education with games and quizzes were other electronics giants such as Sony, Fujitsu and Toshiba, which showed off green products from mini-wind farms to solar-powered toy cars.

Many of the stands also featured manga and anime cartoons — including hugely popular “future cat” Doraemon — as well as pictures and pronunciation guides for tech jargon to teach their impressionable young audience, many of whom embraced the message.

“The Earth is being degraded and we must fix it,” said one of the students, nine-year-old Ryunosuke Takagi.

“Coming here, I can really learn about new energy sources, and I am really amazed at the techniques that have been devised to better preserve the environment. It’s frankly very interesting,” he said.

Nature, the need to preserve it and, occasionally, its destructive wrath, are ever-present in Japan — a volcanic island-nation that is regularly battered by earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons.

With precious few energy and mineral resources of its own, Japan was hard hit by the 1973 oil crisis, which sent its companies and citizens scrambling for ways to save on oil, water and electricity.

They have helped make Japan a leader in green technology — from hybrid and electric cars, to light emitting diodes, solar cells, new power systems, and even water-saving electronically-controlled toilets.

Companies have found that ecology sells.

“Our goal is to sell products that are less polluting — in the production phase, during use and when they are recycled,” said Machiko Miyai, director of Panasonic’s green electronics and appliances division.

Another student, Genki Watanabe, 10, said he was captivated by the cutting-edge environmental technologies: “It’s awfully nice to be here, we are taught so many things. I want to come every year.”

Source: SGGP

Relief workers try to reach Megi survivors in Philippines

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 at 11:04 am

CAUAYAN, Philippines, Oct 20, 2010 (AFP) – Typhoon Megi inched away from the Philippines on Wednesday after killing 19 people, as relief workers scrambled to deliver aid to remote towns that were devastated by the storm.

The governor of the hardest-hit province of Isabela, Faustino Dy said that residents in three coastal towns had suffered massive damage to their homes and were left with limited food supplies after huge waves washed away roads.

Volunteers help clear mudslide near a house in Baguio City, Benguet province, north of Manila on October 20, 2010. AFP

“Their food supply is only up to Sunday. But going there is very difficult. There is no road to reach them,” Dy told reporters in Cauayan, the closest city to the worst-hit towns.

Dy, who had flown by helicopter to the devastated areas, said that as many as 20,000 people were affected.

Many of them had survived by fleeing into the mountains before Megi hit, he and other officials said.

Regional social welfare chief Arnel Garcia said the government planned to send food and tents to the affected towns of Maconacon, Palanan and Divilacan but that both air and sea travel were dangerous.

“Helicopters have to pass through the mountains and the mountain ranges are often covered with clouds,” Garcia said.

US ambassador Harry Thomas said in a statement that US military personnel and equipment that was already in the Philippines for a joint exercise would be diverted for typhoon relief.

“My embassy team is in constant contact with Philippine authorities and NGO (non-governmental organisation) representatives to determine how we can be of further assistance,” Thomas said in a statement issued by the embassy.

Megi smashed mostly farming and fishing areas of northern Luzon with gusts of 260 kilometres (160 miles) an hour on Monday, making it the strongest typhoon in the world this year.

The three million residents of Isabela province and other areas of the Cagayan Valley farming region were the worst hit.

The government raised the death toll to 19 on Wednesday, up from 14 the previous day, after more detailed reports from around Luzon were compiled.

The civil defence bureau said it was still sheltering over 10,000 people in evacuation centres across northern Luzon while roads were being cleared.

Although the typhoon was already over the South China Sea, the government weather station said it had remained almost stationary on Wednesday, hovering over the western coast of the Philippines.

The typhoon, which is still packing maximum gusts of 210 kilometres (130 miles) per hour, is expected to continue hovering throughout the day before moving northeast towards southern China, the weather station said.

The first level of a four-step storm alert remained in effect over several provinces in the northern Philippines due to continuing rain from the typhoon.

Source: SGGP

Economic growth rate of 6.5 percent within reach

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Economic growth rate of 6.5 percent within reach

QĐND – Wednesday, August 04, 2010, 20:41 (GMT+7)


Results recorded over the past seven months will provide an important foundation for fulfilling all socio-economic development targets for this year, achieving an economic growth rate of 6.5 percent.

All ministries, sectors and localities need to exert greater efforts to stablise the macro economy by controlling prices and combating speculation and price rigging, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at a government regular meeting on August 3-4.

At the meeting, cabinet members discussed the socio-economic status in July and during the past seven months, the world’s economic situation, the Government’s activities in July, issues related to inspection, complaints and denunciations, anti-corruption, administrative reform and a report on the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin).

Over the past seven months, targets of stabilising the macroeconomy and curbing inflation have been fulfilled and remarkable progress has been made in the mobilisation and disbursement of investment capital, agriculture, social welfare, administrative reform,  anti-corruption, foreign affairs and national security and defense.

During the seven-month period, investment capital from the State budget reached VND77,600 billion, equivalent to 62 percent of the yearly plan. Total export turnover hit US$ 38.8 billion, up 17.5 percent over the same period last year. Import surplus fell to US$ 7.4 billion, accounting for 19.45 percent of the country’s total export turnover.

Market prices and inflation were put under strict control and the consumer price index (CPI) in the first seven months rose 8.67 percent over the same period last years, except for a slight increase of 0.06 percent in July. The seven-month industrial production value soared 13.5 percent over a year earlier and exceeded the target set for this year.

PM Dung pointed out pending issues and difficulties facing the national economy, such as relatively high trade deficit, soaring prices of materials, lack of capital, high interest rates and natural disasters and epidemics.

Mr Dung asked cabinet members to direct other cabinet members devise effective measures for the economic-related targets set for 2010.

He also requested ministries, sectors and localities to intensify industrial-agricultural production and service, expand domestic and export markets, accelerate the disbursement of investment capital, prepare capital construction plans for the 2011-2015 period, be active in coping with natural disasters and epidemics and enhancing administrative reform.

The Government leaders underlined the need to ensure security for international conferences and major national celebrations such as the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi and Party congresses at all levels in the lead-up to the 11th National Party Congress.

Cabinet members touched upon issues related to Vinashin and gave their opinions on a project for solutions and policies to increase the quality of growth, efficiency and competitiveness in the national economy as well as a project to develop Vietnam’s  information and technology industry, and communication and other important draft laws.

Source: VOV. Photo:

Source: QDND

Relief tunnel should reach Gulf well by weekend

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Three months into the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government’s spill chief says a relief tunnel should finally reach BP’s broken well by the weekend, meaning the gusher could be snuffed for good within two weeks.

After several days of concern about the well’s stability and the leaky cap keeping the oil mostly bottled up, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Tuesday that engineers concluded the risk of a bigger blowout was minimal and were getting closer to pumping mud into the column to permanently seal it.

“We continue to be pleased with the progress,” Allen said in Washington, giving the go-ahead to keep the well cap shut for at least 24 more hours and possibly longer.

Oil booms are seen in Breton Island, Louisiana, as oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead continues to spread in the Gulf of Mexico in this May 3, 2010 file photo

BP vice president Kent Wells said crews hope to drill sideways into the blown-out well and intercept it at the end of July. The relief well is necessary to plug the well permanently.

After it’s done, crews will begin the kill procedure, pumping mud and cement into the hole a mile underwater to seal it, which BP said could take anywhere from five days to a couple of weeks.

“Everything’s looking good,” Well said. “The relief well is exactly where we want it. It’s pointed in the right direction, and so we’re feeling good about that.”

Engineers are also considering shooting drilling mud down through the cap to increase the chances that the attempt to kill the well succeeds.

News that a solution is near cheered Jeff Hunt who scans the waves daily for telltale tar balls in Pensacola Beach, Fla.

“It makes me very happy, after nearly three months, that they finally have gotten to a pinnacle point of closing it,” said the co-owner of a hair salon. “We need to plug the thing.”

BP wants to leave the cap on in the meantime. At one point, Allen wanted instead to relieve the pressure by opening up the cap and siphoning oil up to ships on the surface, but he has relented in the past few days. Opening the cap would have required allowing millions of gallons oil to gush into the sea again for a few days while the plumbing was hooked up.

Seepage detected from the seafloor briefly raised fears that the well was in danger, but Allen said that another well is to blame.

The seepage is closer to the older well than to the one that blew out, Allen said.

There are two wells within two miles of BP’s blowout, one that has been abandoned and another that is not in production. Around 27,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf aren’t checked for leaks, an Associated Press investigation showed this month.

The BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and touching off one of America’s worst environmental crises. The well has spewed somewhere between 94 million and 184 million gallons into the Gulf. BP said the cost of dealing with the spill has now reached nearly $4 billion.

Source: SGGP

City expected to reach target of three million international visitors this year

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Ho Chi Minh City, the big tourism center in Vietnam, attracted 1.5 million foreign visitors in the first six months of the year, producing revenue of over VND40 trillion (US$2 billion), making the target of achieving three million foreign tourists a promising prospect, said Deputy Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism on July 8.

Ho Chi Minh City welcomes 1.5 million foreign visitors in the first six months of the year, producing revenue of over VND40 trillion (US$2 billion). (Filed photo)

A ceremony was held in Ho Chi Minh City to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam’s tourism sector and 35th anniversary of establishment and development of the city tourism.

Speaking at the ceremony, Thang lavishly praised the city’s efforts to make tourism a key sector, attracting a large of international visitors each year.

Seven out of country’s ten top-ranking travel companies are in Ho Chi Minh City, said Thang.

The Vietnamese tourism now contributed to about 5 per cent of GDP but its actual contribution to the society was far greater. The industry now ranks 5th among ASEAN countries with 3.7 million international visitors in 2009.

Vietnam is expected to welcome 4.2 million international visitors this year, Thang said.

The country has signed 43 international tourism treaties with countries in the region and globally, many of which represent Vietnam’s key markets, such as China, South Korea, Japan, ASEAN nations, France, Spain, Italy and India, the Vietnam Administration of Tourism (VNAT) deputy director Nguyen Manh Cuong said.

Vietnamese enterprises have entered partnerships with more than 1,000 travel agencies in over 60 countries and territories.

By the end of 2009, there were nearly 800 Vietnamese international travel companies in operation, including 70 State-owned enterprises and more than 10,000 others providing inbound tours.

On the same day, the city’s Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism opened an exhibition named “Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Industry – 35 years of Establishment and Development,” at Lam Son Park.

The exhibition will run through July 16.

Source: SGGP

New home costs beyond reach of Hochiminions

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm

New home costs beyond reach of Hochiminions

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:26 (GMT+7)

Houses and apartments in Ho Chi Minh City have become so expensive that people must scrimp and save for ten years to afford them, according to Saigon Tiep Thi newspaper.

Nguyen Hoang Hai is a communication worker for a foreign company in HCM City.  Though the young native of Ben Tre earns seven million dong a month, he can’t yet afford to buy a house for himself in the southern metropolis.

Hai can save two million dong a month ($105) after covering his basic needs, but an apartment costs nearly one billion dong ($19,000).  Hai calculates that after 10 years, if he does not have to spend money on healthcare, does not get married, gets promoted every year, and apartment prices don’t change, he can buy a home.

Tran Hung, 31, relates that he and his wife live in a rented flat because he cannot buy one.  The couple has savings of 300 million dong and have dreamed of having an apartment of his own. However, the cheapest apartment that Hung’s been shown, a 22 square meter flat in Binh Tan district, was priced at 500 million dong.  For now, Hung and his wife have decided to rent an apartment for three million dong a month.

Hung learned that the apartments with an area of up to 100 square metre now are being offered at 16-17 million dong per square metre. “At such prices, owing an apartment is just a dream for us,” Hung said

Director Tran Quang Tuan of Minh Khoa Construction Company says those who have just graduated from university don’t have incomes sufficient to buy houses or apartments in big cities.  Most new graduates earn three to four million dong a month, but apartments are priced from 600 million to 1.5 billion dong.

Even people who have a monthly income of five to ten million dong, still find it difficult to buy houses.  Few are able to borrow, because the banks set high ‘free cash’ requirements on those who seek to finance purchase of a house or apartment.  After the banks deduct the cost of meals, electricity and water, internet service, money sent ‘home’ to parents and income tax, few can qualify.

Yearly per capita income in HCM City in 2009 was over 40 million dong ($2100), or more than  twice the national average.  According to the Ministry of Construction, a 50 square metre low cost apartment now costs between 500-600 million dong. This means that only people with average income who abstains from eating or drinking for 10 years can save enough to buy a home in HCM City.

Many apartment projects in the city’s suburbs are introduced as ‘having soft prices’. However, even these ‘low cost apartments’ typically bear prices in the ten to fifteen million dong per square metre range.  At the Le Thanh project apartments in Binh Tan district, for example, prices are set at ten to eleven million dong per square metre. ‘E-Home’ project flats in district 9 are offered at 11.8 million dong per square metre.

Source: Saigon tiep thi

Source: QDND

Rescuers struggle to reach China quake survivors

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 4:17 am

XINING, China (AFP) – Rescue workers were Thursday digging through rubble as they struggled to reach survivors of a quake in a remote region of northwest China which killed nearly 600 people and injured 10,000.

Thousands of people spent a night without shelter in freezing temperatures following the 6.9 magnitude quake which hit mountainous Yushu county in Qinghai province, destroying almost all the houses in the local capital Jiegu.

CCTV screengrab shows rescue workers as they search through the rubble following a strong earthquake in northwest China’s Qinghai province. Rescue workers have been digging through rubble as they struggled to reach survivors of the quake in the remote region which which has killed nearly 600 people and injured 10,000.(AFP/CCTV)

The death toll was expected to rise further, with an unknown number of people including children buried under collapsed mud-and-wood houses and school buildings in the mainly Tibetan region.

“There are 10 people in my family and only four of us escaped. One of my relatives died. All the others are buried under the rubble,” Samdrup Gyatso, 17, told the official Xinhua news agency after his two-storey home crumbled.

President Hu Jintao called for all-out efforts to save as many people as possible, with more than 5,000 rescuers, including 700 soldiers, rushing to the disaster zone.

As the international community began pledging help, the Chinese government said it would provide over 29 million dollars in aid.

But the rugged terrain and remoteness of the region, around 800 kilometres (500 miles) or at least 12 hours by road from the provincial capital Xining, were hampering efforts to bring in much-needed supplies.

The civil affairs ministry said it was to send 5,000 tents, 50,000 coats and 50,000 quilts. But the local government in Yushu — the quake’s epicentre — reported a lack of tents, medicines and medical equipment.

“The injured are everywhere in the street, a lot of people are bleeding from head wounds,” Xinhua quoted a local official named Zhuohuaxia as saying.

The quake, which hit Wednesday morning, and a series of strong aftershocks have damaged roads and triggered landslides, disrupting telecommunications and knocking out electricity supplies.

Rescue workers were forced to use their bare hands or sticks to dig through the rubble while awaiting the arrival of heavy equipment.

Survivors spent an uncomfortable night in the open with temperatures below freezing while rescue workers from outside the region faced difficulties coping with the thin air in the high-altitude area region which averages 4,000 metres (13,200 feet) above sea level.

About 10,000 people were injured when the quake hit, although police managed to pull more than 900 alive from ruined buildings, state media reports said.

Many more are believed buried and forecasters are predicting wind and sleet in the coming days, putting victims at risk of exposure, as well as the risk of more aftershocks.

Xinhua reported that 589 people had been confirmed dead, quoting officials coordinating the rescue.

Among the dead were at least 56 pupils and five teachers, Xinhua said, quoting local authorities, while another 40 students trapped in the debris had a slim chance of surviving.

“Some pupils ran out of dorms alive, and those who had not escaped in time were buried,” said one teacher.

The scene was reminiscent of the huge quake in May 2008 in Sichuan province, where thousands of children died when their shoddily-constructed schools fell on them — an issue that caused huge controversy in China.

Nearly 87,000 people were killed or missing in the 2008 disaster, the worst in China in more than three decades.

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama offered prayers for those who died while Pope Benedict XVI called for “solidarity” with the victims and nations including France, Germany and Japan voiced shock and offered help.

The United States was “ready to assist” in the rescue effort, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, while the UN said its chief Ban Ki-moon “recognises the efforts being undertaken by the government of China to assess the situation and to assist those affected by the earthquake”.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a letter to Hu offering condolences and voicing confidence “in China’s ability to overcome this latest ordeal”.

Source: SGGP

Tourism tipped to reach $4.2b

In Vietnam Travel on March 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Tourism tipped to reach $4.2b

QĐND – Sunday, March 14, 2010, 21:39 (GMT+7)

Viet Nam plans to welcome 4.2 million international tourists and 27 or 28 million domestic tourist this year, said Nguyen Van Tuan, director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, yesterday in Ha Noi.

Tuan was speaking at a press conference to announce the stimulus package and plans for this year under the name “Your destination Vietnam”. The country received about 900,000 international visitors mostly from Japan, South Korea, China and ASEAN in the first two months of this year, an increase of 27 per cent over the same term last year.

Tuan estimated that tourism turnover will reach VND80 trillion (US$4.2 billion) this year.

He said last year’s stimulus package for tourism had brought incredible advantages to the local market with the number of domestic tourists travelling to various destinations around Viet Nam increasing.

Despite the crisis, Viet Nam received 3.8 million international and 25 million domestic tourists with a turnover of VND70 trillion($3.7 billion) last year, a growth of 9 per cent over 2008, added Tuan.

In the international market, Tuan said the administration would focus on large scale promotions in key markets such as France and the US. Tuan told Vieât Nam News that they would open their biggest ever road show in Paris to promote Viet Nam.

Last year, the budget for tourism promotion came too late, which caused a lot of difficulties but this year, we have received money early for our programme.

Tuan predicted that tourism would increase in March and April then reduce in May and June.

Tuan said: “We are working with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to organise our first ever sale month to attract more visitors to Viet Nam.”

According to Nguyen Minh Tam, head of the Tourism Department, the VNA has co-operated closely with the administration to attract more visitors.

The VNA will run promotions advertising price reductions of more than 50 per cent for local flights from March to December this year.

“We will also work to promote local tourism in other countries with inviting packages to Viet Nam,” said Tam.

Domestic tourists really helped the tourism industry last year and they continue to be our focus this year, Tuan said.

To better serve the tourists, our administration will urge localities to improve their facilities and infrastructure, especially substandard toilet facilities which can discourage tourists.

Tuan said the administration will launch a special cable TV channel on tourism, in co-operation with Vietnamese Television in April on the occasion of the Hung King’s Death Anniversary.

Source: VNN/VNS

Source: QDND