Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — James Kopenec from Arizona, the US, was amazed by the warm welcome he received when he became the 15-millionth international tourist to Việt Nam.
A ceremony was held at the Hạ Long International Cruise Port on Wednesday to announce Kopenec as the 15-millionth international tourist to the country. Annita De Vriesere from Belgium and Masahiko Nagaishi from Japan became the 14,999,999th and the 15,000,001st, respectively.
The three special guests of the Celebrity Millennium Cruise Ship received plenty of souvenirs and gifts from the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Kopecnec said this is the first time he has been to Việt Nam. He has visited Singapore and some other Asian countries, but Việt Nam offers an extremely different experience, he told Việt Nam News.
“It’s a beautiful country, out of my expectations, and we are eager for the trip because Hạ Long Bay is a wonder of the world,” he said. “My wife told me that Việt Nam is a country of smiles and friendly people. Today I know it’s true.”
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện said receiving 15 million international tourists is a milestone for the nation’s tourism industry.
“2018 is full of important events for the national tourism industry,” Thiện said. “Việt Nam received many important international awards, the first Tourism Summit was held and now the ceremony welcoming the 15-millionth international visitor.”
Thiện said this is a confirmation that Việt Nam is an attractive, safe and friendly destination now and in the future, and is the foundation to reach the target of developing tourism into a spearhead economic sector.
The Hạ Long International Cruise Port was opened in late November by Sun Group. It is the first passenger port for cruise ships in Việt Nam designed to accommodate vessels with a capacity of 225,000 gross tonnes. It can serve more than 8,000 people and allows two ships to dock at once. — VNS