Tet gathering for Overseas Vietnamese in Hanoi

A "Xuan Que Huong 2012" (Land Fountain) performance for sea Vietnamese returning internal to greet the traditional Lunar New Period fete (Tet) present be held at the Hohanoi Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Angular in Hanoi on January 15.

The get together programme, held by the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs (COVA) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will include a wide range of traditional cultural and festival activities, bringing a warm and exciting atmosphere to the celebrations of the new spring and the country’s new development period.

Overseas Vietnamese people can contact the closest Vietnamese representative agencies to register to join the programme.

Those staying in Vietnam can bring their passports or other personal papers to the COVA headquarters at 32 Ba Trieu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, to register for the gathering.

600 OVs attend Tet gathering in HCM City

Nearly 600 Overseas Vietnamese (OVs) from divergent countries who feature returned internal to keep Tet attended a outflow collecting in Ho Chi Minh Port on January 7.

The circumstance was a gauge for OVs to check apiece remaining and welcome the traditional Lunar New twelvemonth (Tet) festivity in their homeland with a fanlike comprise of ethnic activities, including a celebrity terpsichore and a pattern show, as healed as traditional Asiatic cooking.

It also provided an opportunity for OVs to meet business partners and exchange experiences in promoting Vietnamese products to OV communities and foreign markets.

As a bridge linking Vietnam with other nations, OV businesses play an important role in bringing Vietnamese products to the EU, France, US and many other countries.

With more than 20 years of having exported processed food to the US and Hong Kong, Quach Hung Tong, an OV from the US, said Vietnamese food has great potential in key markets such as the US and Canada. According to Tong these markets are home to a large number of OVs and immigrants from India, Thailand, China, the Republic of Korea and the Philippines who also like Vietnamese products. Tropical products from Vietnam are also favored by European people.

Nguyen Hai Nam, President of the Overseas Vietnamese Business Association in France, said assistance in organizing trade fairs and promotions from domestic agencies and commercial offices overseas is very significant for promoting Vietnamese trademarks abroad.

The Association for Liaison with Overseas Vietnamese says, to facilitate business activities for OVs, the State should simplify investment and residency procedures, create favourable conditions for OVs to live in Vietnam, and offer more attractive incentives.



Travel firms, hotels want to quote prices in foreign currencies

The enterprises operating in the touristry aspect know planned governance agencies to allow them to extract the prices of products and services in favourite extrinsic currencies much as Euro or US dollars, instead of Annam dong, in dictate to work it easier to realise for external travelers.

Under the current regulations, Vietnam dong is the only currency which can be used in the transactions in the Vietnamese territory, while the prices of services and products also must be quoted in Vietnam dong.

The State Bank of Vietnam has recently decided to impose a find of 500 million dong on Thong Nhat Metropole Hotel for its behavior of posting prices in foreign currencies.


The government has issued the Decree No 95 stipulating the fines on the violations of the regulations in the monetary and banking sector, which took effect on October 20, 2011. The decree says that the fine on the price posting in foreign currencies would be 300-500 million dong, which is much higher than the previously applied levels.


The information has raised worries to other hotels and travel firms. Nguyen Hoang Anh Phi, Director of the Saigon Hotel in district 1, said that though he ordered to remove all the price quotations in dollars, mistake was still made: the inspection delegation discovered that an ad piece at the lift posted the price of a lunch at five dollars.


Phi said that a foreign travel firm even refused to sign contract with the hotel just because it did not know exactly how much were the hotel room rates. The problem was that the hotel room rates were quoted in Vietnam dong, while the hotel could not show the details in dollars, because it feared it would violate the laws if doing so.


Nguyen Thi Xuan Hong, Director of Vien Dong Hotel, said that her officers usually feel worried when foreign travelers come and ask about hotel room rates. Travelers always ask them to show the prices in dollars which help them more easily remember and calculate the costs for the trips. However, the officers could not do that, because they would be punished if inspectors witnessed the conversations.


Hong said that if quoting prices in dong, hotels and travel firms would have to update the prices regularly, maybe several times within a day, just because of the heavy exchange rate fluctuations. This is really a big waste of time for businesses.


According to Tu Quy Thanh, Director of Lien Bang Travelink, travel firms always feel worried when contacting with foreign partners through emails. Foreign partners always ask the price quotations in dollars; while Vietnamese travel firms would be violating the laws if the emails are discovered by management agencies.


Thanh went on to say that in many cases, foreign partners think that Vietnamese travel firms are not professional, because Vietnamese firms sell products to international buyers, but still quote prices in Vietnam dong.


Vietnamese travel firms have proposed the government to allow them to post prices in foreign currencies and make payment in dong. If the proposal cannot be accepted, they wish to quote prices in dong, but then convert the dong into dollars.


The travel firms said that state management agencies need to apply reasonable measures to help them overcome the current difficulties. A lot of partners from Japan and Europe have expressed their dissatisfaction with the transactions where the prices are quoted only in Vietnam dong.


Lai Huu Phuong, Director of Ben Thanh Tourism, said that Vietnam is losing foreign travelers just because of the regulation on quoting price in dong. He said that the ban on quoting prices in foreign currencies should be applied only to the goods and services to be provided in the domestic market. Meanwhile, inbound tours should be seen as a kind of “export on the spot.”

Ha Long tourist boats must be painted in white

The polity of Quang Ninh field fuck decided to coat all traveler boats in Ha Overnight Bay in caucasian, despite dish owners' disagreement.Halong bay

According to the provincial People’s Committee, all tourist boats must have white color and brown sails. Those with dragon heads are permitted to paint the dragon heads by traditional color. As of April 30, 2012, boats which are not repainted will be not licensed to operate in the bay.

An official from the local Department of Transportation said that this measure aims to strengthen state management over tourist transport activities in Ha Long Bay, and to make a facelift for tourist boats after Ha Long Bay is recognized as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.


Under this policy, more than 500 tourist boats in Ha Long Bay may ‘wear’ white uniform and brown sail in the near future. However, the proposal is not backed by ship owners. The Ha Long Tourist Boat Association has expressed its disagreement to the local authorities.


Director of the Bai Tho Transportation Company, Pham Van Hoa, said that the brown color of tourist boats in Ha Long Bay has become “tradition.” Tourists like this color so it is unnecessary to change.


Hoa said white color is only suitable to big iron boats or cruise ships, not wood boats like those in Ha Long Bay. Moreover, boat owners do not want to pay for this task. With nearly 20 boats, Hoa’s company will have to spend VND1 billion ($50,000) for repainting their boats.


“We will have to obey the authorities’ decision but I think that boats will return to their color after several months,” Hoa said.


Doan Van Dung, chief of the Ha Long Tourist Boat Association, said that Ha Long tourist boats will lose their characteristics with the white color. This color is not close to Oriental culture like the current color of brown. Moreover, transport firms will have to pay a lot of money to re-pain their boats.


“The cost for repainting a boat is around VND30-40 million ($1,500-$2,000) and the necessary time is up to 3-4 months. Before making decision, the authorities must consult the opinion of tourists and travel firms,” Dung added.


Dao Hong Thuong, deputy director of Vietsky Travel, is surprised with the information, saying that each tourist boat has its own style so it is unsuitable to force all boats have the same color.

Vietnam to prioritize to advertise tourism on social networks, Internet

The War Human Governance of Business VNAT has declared the new locution and symbolization of the Annam business substance idea for the new period of 2012-2015. As much, War has successfully korea the way it will persevere in the new travel of process, and what's next?

“Vietnam – Timeless Charm” and the five petal lotus have been selected as the slogan and symbol of Vietnamese tourism in 2012-2015.

In principle, the event is expected to be followed by a lot of activities to popularize the new slogan and new symbol.


VNAT’s General Director Nguyen Van Tuan has confirmed this, saying on Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon that Vietnam would spend much money on advertisement campaigns to attract foreign travelers to Vietnam to discover the “timeless charm.”


Tuan said that VNAT is preparing for the implementation of the strategy on tourism development until 2020 with the vision until 2030. One of the priority tasks of the strategy is building a tourism brand for Vietnam’s tourism. Therefore, the marketing and advertisement activities after a new slogan and symbol are chosen would be further pushed up.


Tuan has revealed that VNAT is joining forces with the EU experts to work out on the detailed programs to advertise Vietnam’s tourism, saying that the discussion would finish soon, so that the first steps of the program can be implemented right in 2012.


Like other countries, which always spend big money on the chains of marketing activities to be taken every time after they change slogan and symbol, Vietnam will also accept to spend money to promote tourism. Especially, Tuan said that unlike previously, VNTA would have enough money for marketing campaigns, including the designing of the campaigns and the implementation.


However, Tuan only generalized that VNAT would seek money from the National Tourism Promotion Program and from other sources.


When asked if VNAT thinks of inviting showbiz stars or famous portraits in the world to Vietnam to advertise Vietnam’s tourism, Tuan said that this is really a good idea, but frankly said that Vietnam does not have enough money to do that.


“We don’t have financial capability powerful enough to invite the portraits to Vietnam,” he said.
Phuquoc island

In recent days, Vietnam welcomed the famous couple Brangelina, who came to Vietnam in a holiday. Most recently, the country received the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend on Christmas holiday. The information about the visit trips of the famous portraits on foreign media has partially made people think that Vietnam is a place that deserves to come.


Therefore, Tuan believes that it would be better to spend money on “more practical works”, such as attracting foreign press agencies which have representatives in Vietnam and Vietnamese newspapers printed in foreign languages and distributed overseas to join media campaigns.


“We will only be able to think of other works when we have more money,” Tuan said, adding that when Vietnam only has 30 billion dong a year to spend on tourism promotion campaigns, it should not think of using the images of famous portraits to attract foreign travelers to Vietnam.


Talking about the marketing solutions, Tuan said that running ad campaigns on Internet and social networks would be the priority work in implementing the tourism development strategy in the time to come. “We will need the experts who can help take full advantage of new technologies, especially Internet, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and we will spend money on this,” he stated.


“VNAT now has a tourism information center which specializes in managing the websites of tourism sectors. We will pour more money into the center to make it get adapted to the application of new technologies in popularizing Vietnam’s images in the world,” he added.

Local airlines transport 16.6 million passengers in 2011

Vietnamese airlines carried roughly 16.6 meg passengers in 2011, which is slightly lessen than the ejection by the National Aggregation Brass of War (CAAV) at the vantage of parthian period.

In March 2011, the aviation authority forecast that Vietnam Airlines and its subsidiary Vietnam Air Services Co. (Vasco), Jetstar Pacific and Air Mekong would be able to Vietnam airlinecarry a combined number of 17.5 million passengers, up 20.9% on the year ago. But, economic challenges worldwide and in Vietnam put the brake on the growth, according to CAAV.

In its report sent to Transport Minister Dinh La Thang, CAAV said the number of all passengers on board flights of the local carriers grew 13.6%. Vietnam Airlines and Vasco took the lion’s share with over 80% of Vietnam’s domestic aviation market segment.


According to CAAV, Vietnamese airlines had 95 aircraft but budget carrier Jetstar Pacific and Air Mekong operated just over 10 planes and the rest belonged to the national flagship carrier Vietnam Airlines.


Vietnamese airlines offer flights on 39 air routes from Tan Son Nhat, Noi Bai and Danang airports to 17 local airports. Again, Vietnam Airlines services all these routes while Jetstar Pacific and Air Mekong mainly conduct flights on major routes from HCMC and Hanoi to other destinations.


On the overall aviation market, CAAV reported that more than 50 Vietnamese and foreign airlines transported 23.7 million passengers on their flights to and from Vietnam last year, a year-on-year increase of 12.3% compared to the year before.


Vietnamese airlines accounted for 39.3% of the international market segment, up a mere 0.4 percentage point compared to 2010.


CAAV projected that local airlines would post 18.5 million passengers in all and 220.000 tons of cargo this year, up 12% and 13% respectively, as the country’s second low-cost carrier VietJet Air has joined the domestic aviation market.

Long holiday increases demand for foreign tours, say agents

Distance agencies in HCM Municipality hump been kept employed booking international tours as residents essay to sicken advantage of a nine-day Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

The number of bookings for foreign tours offered by major companies like Saigontourist, Vietravel and Fiditour have increased between 20 and 30 per cent compared withJetstar last year's Tet season.

Most customers are buying tours to Asian countries and to Europe, the companies say.

"Longer holidays give people more time to travel," said Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, head of Fiditour's External Affairs Office.

Fiditour's tours to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and China are fully booked, she said.

A six-day tour to Thailand offered by the city's tourism agencies costs about VND8 million (US$381), cheaper than six-day tours from HCM City to northern provinces that cost between VND11 million and VND12 million.

Bookings of domestic tours have only increased slightly compared to last year's Tet. However, travel agencies say Vietnamese people do not typically plan holidays much ahead of time or book tours in advance.

The prices of domestic tours will remain unchanged for those who have bought the package before December 31, 2011, but since the beginning of this year, they have increased by about 23 per cent because of the hike in domestic airfares.

Ha Long tourist boats may wear white uniform

The polity of Quang Ninh sphere human proposed to makeup all traveler boats in Ha Longstanding Bay in light after the bay becomes the new unaffected query of the humanity. Withal, this policy is not corroborated by boat owners.

Quang Ninh’s vice chair Do Thong assigned the local Department of Transport to combine with the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to implement the plan on painting all tourist boats in white and install brown sails on these boats in the first three months of 2012.

An official from the Quang Ninh Department of Transport said that this measure aims to strengthen state management over tourist transport activities in Ha Long Bay, and to make a facelift for tourist boats after Ha Long Bay is recognized as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.


Under this policy, more than 500 tourist boats in Ha Long Bay may ‘wear’ white uniform and brown sail in the near future. However, the proposal is not backed by ship owners. The Ha Long Tourist Boat Association has expressed its disagreement to the local authorities.


Director of the Bai Tho Transportation Company, Pham Van Hoa, said that the brown color of tourist boats in Ha Long Bay has become “tradition.” Tourists like this color so it is unnecessary to change.


Hoa said white color is only suitable to big iron boats or cruise ships, not wood boats like those in Ha Long Bay. Moreover, boat owners do not want to pay for this task. With nearly 20 boats, Hoa’s company will have to spend VND1 billion ($50,000) for repainting their boats.


“We will have to obey the authorities’ decision but I think that boats will return to their color after several months,” Hoa said.


Doan Van Dung, chief of the Ha Long Tourist Boat Association, said that Ha Long tourist boats will lose their characteristics with the white color. This color is not close to Oriental culture like the current color of brown. Moreover, transport firms will have to pay a lot of money to re-pain their boats.


“The cost for repainting a boat is around VND30-40 million ($1,500-$2,000) and the necessary time is up to 3-4 months. Before making decision, the authorities must consult the opinion of tourists and travel firms,” Dung added.


Dao Hong Thuong, deputy director of Vietsky Travel, is surprised with the information, saying that each tourist boat has its own style so it is unsuitable to force all boats have the same color.


Travel firms to face higher deposit

Traveling agencies providing global tourism services this twelvemonth may someone to pay a matter twice the new VND250 million, according to a potation enactment to be enacted by the Authorities shortly.

Withal, specified firms can discuss with botanist to savor an conformable powerfulness assess kinda than the low order applicative to tell deposits, according to the depth, which formerly issued present amend and affix Regime Edict 92/2007/ND-CP issued in 2007 to pass the effort of the Tourism Law.

Currently, the Tourism Law requires only one deposit level of VND250 million for travel firms offering both outbound and inbound tourism services. In the draft, there are two deposit levels, VND250 million for firms active in the inbound segment and VND500 million for those in the outbound segment or in both sectors.

The State Bank of Vietnam provides the call deposit rate for the current deposit although firms have repeatedly asked for a maximum deposit rate.


There were 960 foreign travel firms last year, and thus the total amount of deposits kept in banks was quite huge.


A higher compulsory deposit will place a burden on small and medium firms in Vietnam, said several firms.


The director of a small travel firm in HCMC told the Daily that a higher deposit is a large amount for his firm. Although two deposit levels are mandated, there are few firms operating in a single segment, so the imminent regulation in effect requires firms to put more money in banks, he added.


Meanwhile, Vo Anh Tai, director of Saigontourist Travel Service Co. and head of the HCMC Society of Travel Agencies, said that the point did not lie in whether the deposit was high or low, but in how to use it properly.


“It will be fine if the deposit is used properly. However, it will be a waste if a large amount of money is set aside without being utilized effectively,” said Tai.


The deposit will be used to pay compensation for tourists if tour operators breach contracts or if mishaps happen to tourists.


Some countries even set up a committee working on this issue. If tourists encounter troubles, and if travel firms and banks cannot reach an agreement, the committee will take the deposit out of banks to make compensation for tourists, Tai added.

Cold snap draws tourists to hills

Icy brave brought winter chills to the Mau Son Tourism Extent in mountainous Lang Son Arena yesterday greeting after a nonindulgent rimy speech hit union Viet Nam, according to the provincial Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Eye.

Temperatures dropped to minus 0.6 degrees at 7am and rain added to the severity of the weather, said Ha Van Tien, director of the provincial centre. Mau son

Day-time temperatures were no higher than 4-6 degrees Celsius in other areas in the province, he said.

Temperatures in the area were forecast to drop even lower during the next three days, said Tien.

Despite the severe cold, numbers of young visitors higher than normal travelled to the Mau Son Tourism Area to see ice yesterday afternoon, Jan 5, reported a Vietnam News Agency correspondent in the province.

Fortunately, icy weather did not disrupt the daily lives of local residents too much thanks to prompt action from the local authorities, although local primary and secondary schools have given students time off due to the cold snap, he said.

The daytime low fell to 8 degrees Celsius, one degree lower than Wednesday, and a high of 14 degrees Celsius in Ha Noi yesterday, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

This is the most severe cold spell to hit the north since the beginning of the season. Temperatures are predicted to remain low for at least the next three days.

The Ha Noi Education and Training Department has instructed education and training offices to adjust school hours to keep children from having to attend school early in the morning when conditions are especially cold.

Schools have also been asked to ensure classrooms have proper windows and doors as well as lighting systems.

Primary students are allowed to stay at home on days when temperatures drop to below 10 degrees Celsius while secondary students do not have to attend school if the temperature drops below 7 degrees Celsius.

Weather updates are available on Viet Nam Television's VTV1 at 6am everyday.

Nguyen Thi Hang, a kindergarten principal in Ha Noi's Ba Dinh District, said 170 out of their 650 students had not attended classes since Tuesday due to the cold spell.

The situation is the same in Ha Noi's outskirts.

"Only 137 students went to school on Wednesday out of a total of 560," said Hoang Nhat Le, principal of Tan Vien Kindergarten in mountainous Ba Vi District.

"We have adjusted school hours and provided blankets, warm water and slippers to keep students warm," she said.

Doctors at the Bach Mai Hospital Paediatrics Department and the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases said they were seeing the same number of children and elderly during the cold spell as normal.

However, doctors advised people not to warm themselves up by using charcoal and coal stoves in small rooms.

They added that elderly people should not exercise too early in the morning or bathe and shampoo their hair at the same time.

Shops selling clothes, scarves and heating equipment, including electric blankets, heating fans and heating bags, are busier than normal along Bach Mai, Hue, and Hai Ba Trung streets, although their prices are 10-20 per cent higher than last year.