Viet Nam tops the list of the world's most emerging tourist attractions this year, according to a recent official report of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), a professional association representing the tour operator industry.
Closely followed by India, Ecuador and China, Viet Nam is of great concern to associate members who were asked to predict the most emerging tourist attraction throughout the year.
The USTOA's result was revealed in annual conference hosted in Marco Island, Florida state.
Smart Travel Asia, the prestigious online travel magazine for Asia has recently told Ha Noi and Hoi An were successfully voted to become two of the most attractive tourist destinations in Asia last year.
The campaign launched by Smart Travel Asia lasted for two months, from May to July last year, with the attendance of more than 1-million-strong worldwide readers.
Cruise ship brings 2,000 visitors
Saigontourist Travel Service Co provided on-shore services to around 2,000 passengers, mainly from Italy, Spain, and the UK, who arrived on board the five-star cruise ship Costa Classica at HCM City's Navi Oil Port.
After a sightseeing tour of the city, the tourists enjoyed a water puppetry show, went shopping at Ben Thanh Market, and visited the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong city of My Tho.
During its six-day tour of Viet Nam, Costa Classica will also drop anchor in the central cities of Nha Trang on Saturday, Da Nang on Sunday, and Ha Long next Tuesday.
Saigontourist provided these services to over 115,000 cruise tourists last year, a 10 per cent year-on-year increase.
Emirates to fly Dubai-HCM City route
The Gulf-based Emirates Airline will operate a daily non-stop service from Dubai to HCM City starting in June this year.
It will initially use an Airbus A330-200 on the route before switching to a Boeing 777-300 ER in October, the carrier said in a release.
"Emirates will offer tourists and business travellers, particularly from the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, a convenient option to access Viet Nam," Tim Clark, the airline's president, said.
"HCM City is one of the most vibrant places in Southeast Asia, and we are convinced that this will prove to be a highly popular route."
Magazine recognises luxury hotels
Fusion Maia resort in Da Nang, Hotel del' Opera in Ha Noi, An Lam – Ninh Van Bay Villas in Nha Trang, and Six Senses Con Dao have been named by Singapore travel magazine DestinAsian in its 8th annual Luxe List of best new hotels and resorts opening in the region in 2011.
Travel firms to quote rates in dollars
Tour operators, hotels, and other tourism-related companies have sought permission from the authorities to quote the prices of products and services in popular foreign currencies such as euro and dollar instead of the dong to make it easier for foreign travellers to pay.
Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travelink, said foreign partners called Vietnamese travel firms unprofessional because they sold products to international buyers but quoted their prices in dong.
Nguyen Thi Xuan Hong, director of Vien Dong Hotel in HCM City, said travellers always ask to see the prices in US dollar saying it helps them remember and calculate the trip cost more easily.
Lai Huu Phuong, director of Ben Thanh Tourism, said having to quote prices in dong could even affect the number of tourist arrivals.
The ban on quoting prices in foreign currencies should be applied only to the goods and services supplied in the domestic market, he said. — VNS