DIEN BIEN (VNS)— Dien Bien aims to welcome 440,000 tourists this year during celebrations to mark the sixtieth year of the nation's victory over colonial French troops.
Up to 75,000 foreigners are expected to visit the northern mountain province where the French were defeated in the famous battle of Dien Bien Phu on May 7, 1954.
Provincial leaders said at a seminar yesterday in Dien Bien that the number of visitors to the province, either local or foreign, had more than doubled in the past 10 years - from 178,000 to 380,000.
Tourism Department statistics also show that the number of foreign tourists increased sixfold in the same period – from 10,000 in 2004 to 66,000 last year.
Revenue from tourism leapfrogged to nearly VND434 billion (almost US$20.4 million) from VND30 billion ( $1.4million).
The province is now seeking ways to promote tourism even further.
Tourism leaders from eight regional provinces yesterday agreed that Dien Bien's tourism development had much more potential.
|Tourists admire handicraft products made by the Thai ethnic group as they visit an exhibition yesterday at the Dien Bien Culture and Tourism Week. The number of visitors to Dien Bien has more than doubled in the past 10 years. — VNA/VNS Thanh Tung
This could be overcome by improving co-ordination among regional provinces and with other regions in the country, according to the leaders at the seminar.
The province has been chosen as one of 46 places to become a national tourist destination.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and international organisations at the seminar, there is some conflict between preserving the historic battle site and developing public infrastructure.
The problem has developed since provincial headquarters were moved to the valley where the battle took place.
Dien Bien was created by dividing the former Lai Chau Province in early 2004. Dien Bien Phu, where the famous battle took place, is the province's capital city.
Seminar participants proposed the organisation of festivals to attract more tourists from countries such as Thailand, Laos and Myanmar that have people related to the Thai minority in Dien Bien's Muong Then.
They also suggested the introduction of more diverse traditional goods and souvenirs. At present, cheap imitation Chinese products are dominating the souvenir market in Dien Bien, the seminar heard.
The province will hold a number of cultural activities throughout the year to celebrate the anniversary. It expected to earn VND540 billion ($25.4 million) this year from tourism. — VNS