|Made it: A tourist comes up from a secret hole at the Cu Chi tunnel system in HCM City's suburban Cu Chi District. The historical site is one of the key tourist attractions in HCM City. — Photo photoshelter.com
HCM CITY (VNS) — The annual HCM City International Travel Expo will be held from September 10 to 12.
La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the city Department of Tourism, one of the organisers, said the first two days of the exhibition would focus on "professional activities" involving meetings and deals between exhibitors and buyers.
An online pre-scheduled appointment system was provided free of charge to exhibitors and buyers a month before opening day to facilitate arrangement of meetings, he said.
Pre- and post-exhibition tours to key tourist destinations like Cu Chi, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Tien Giang have been arranged for buyers and the international media.
"They will be taken on an inland waterway tour from District 1 to Cu Chi that was started [on Tuesday]," Khanh said.
"The activity is aimed at promoting the city's strengths in tourism, and introduces the city as a friendly, attractive and safe destination." There will be several seminars, including on promoting socio-economic co-operation and development among regional countries; destinations affiliated to the Tourism Promoting Organisation for Asia Pacific Cities; and strategies to develop a tourism trademark for Viet Nam by 2020.
There would be discussions on September 10 and 11 on attracting tourists from five European countries – Germany, France, Italy, England, and Spain – for whose nationals Viet Nam has waived visa requirements, Nguyen Quoc Hung, deputy head of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said.
Tourism officials and operators would also discuss Indonesia and India, two promising markets for Viet Nam that are close and with huge populations, he said.
His agency, the Department of Tourism and Vietnam Airlines would host an international press conference on the nation's tourism policies and products on September 10, he said.
The VNAT pavilion at the expo would showcase four of Viet Nam's main products – cultural tourism, sea and island tourism, eco-tourism, and MICE – he said.
The VNAT has this year invited the two cities of Thanh Hoa and Kien Giang, who will host the National Tourism Year in 2015 and 2016, to show off their attractions.
The exhibition will be open to the public on the last day when there will be a "travel fun fair day" featuring renowned international performers, a lucky draw, and exhibitors offering cheap air tickets, tours, and others.
The opening ceremony on September 9 will be graced by ministers of ASEAN countries and mayors of the cities of Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Yangon, and Bangkok.
At the ceremony, the 7th Mekong Tourism Alliance Awards to honour the contributions of the travel industry in the five countries will be given away.
They will be given in five categories as usual – the year's best five-star hotel, airline, resort, and inbound and outbound travel operator – plus one in a new category for the most attractive tangible heritage of the year.
The 2015 ITE HCMC is expected to attract 220 international buyers from 33 key markets and 100 local buyers and see an increase of 23-30 per cent in visitor numbers.
Last year there were 22,000 international and domestic visitors.
The expo, to be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7, is jointly organised by the City's Department of Tourism and VNAT. — VNS