Van Long Lagoon – a hidden gem of Ninh Binh

Amid growing interest among foreign investors in the aviation market, Vietnam Airports Corporation and Vietnam Airlines – the two most influential corporations in the aviation sector – will continue to divest large state stakes to fund future development plans.   Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue signed Decision No.1232/QD-TTg on August 17, approving the state stake divestment for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and corporations in 2017-2020, with Vietnam Airports Corporation (ACV) and the flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) both named among the many in line for divestment. ACV will have to sell off 20 per cent of its state stake in 2018 and 10.4 per cent in 2019, while VNA will have to sell 35.16 per cent in 2019, thus cutting state ownership in the firms to 65 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively. “The divestment will be a good chance for foreign investors to join the local aviation market. Many foreign investors are interested in acquiring stake in the firms,” Deputy Transport Minister Le Dinh Tho told VIR. According to Thomas Treutler, partner and managing director of Tilleke & Gibbins Consultants Limited, foreign investors will certainly be interested in investing in well-established airlines. Travel to Vietnam for business and tourism will continue to rise, as will outbound travel for Vietnamese businesses reaching out internationally to investors and Vietnamese citizens travelling internationally for tourism. “Domestic travel within the country is also booming, with…... [read more]

One out of every three foreign travelers to Vietnam visits Ha Long Bay, but most of them travel from Hanoi and spend one night on boats before returning to Hanoi. There are not many well-known hotel brands in Ha Long, except Novotel and Wyndham. However, an analyst said that Quang Ninh is more attractive in travelers’ eyes than Da Nang, but is inferior in terms of tourism real estate. Quang Ninh last year received 8.3 million travelers, including 3.5 million foreign travelers. Da Nang attracted 5.5 million travelers, while the number of foreign travelers was less than half of that of Quang Ninh. However, Quang Ninh only has 5,651 high-end 3-5-star hotel rooms, just half of the number in Da Nang.  Most high-end hotels in Quang Ninh are located in Ha Long City, including four 5-star hotels with 1,260 rooms in Bai Chay. The number of 4-star hotel rooms is 2,772 rooms, while there are 1,179 3-star hotel rooms. While there are tens of condotel projects in Da Nang which provide 15,000-17,000 accommodations, there is only one project of this kind – Citadines with 637 apartments, in Quang Ninh. Meanwhile, New Life and Green Bay are apartments for sale and are available for lease, but don’t operate as hotels. Da Nang is also superior in terms of high-end villas.  Da Nang has Furama Villas, Premier Village, Hyatt, Vinpearl and Ocean Villas, while Quang Ninh has Royal Lotus. Quang Ninh…... [read more]

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives President of the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand Pornpetch Wichitcholchai (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hosted a reception for President of the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand Pornpetch Wichitcholchai in Hanoi on August 14. The PM said he will lead a high-level Government delegation to visit Thailand from August 17-19 to exchange measures to promote bilateral friendship and cooperation, and increase the two countries’ strategic partnership. Vietnam and Thailand have enhanced coordination in various fields from politics, security, and defense to economics, trade, tourism, culture and society in recent times, Phuc said.   [Vietnam, Thailand should keep mutual support at int’l parliamentary forums] Thailand is the biggest trade partner of Vietnam in ASEAN with two-way trade reaching 12.5 billion USD in 2016. However, as Vietnam ran a trade deficit of 5 billion USD with Thailand, Phuc hoped the two countries will seek measures to balance trade and increase the bilateral trade to 20 billion USD by 2020. The tourism cooperation also developed with about 800,000 Vietnamese tourists visiting Thailand in 2016 while over 200,000 Thais travelling to Vietnam, he noted. The PM proposed Thailand open its market for Vietnamese goods and create more favourable conditions for Vietnamese workers to work in the country as well as encourage Thai businesses to boost investment in Vietnam. Vietnam will address difficulties and create conditions for Thai investors to do business, he affirmed. For his…... [read more]

VietNamNet Bridge - The competition in the market is heating up and luxury hotel developers are struggling to scramble for clients. Still, the market is large enough thanks to the increasing number of travelers to Vietnam. Grant Thornton’s 2017 report shows that the number of domestic travelers, mostly businesspeople, staying at luxury hotels and resorts (4-5-star) in the last three years (2014-2016) has been increasing rapidly. In 2016, Vietnamese guests accounted for 20.4 percent of total clients booking rooms at luxury hotels, an increase of 3.4 percentage points over 2014. According to Grant Thornton’s Trinh Kim Dung, the figure showed that Vietnamese now have better payment capability. The 5-star hotel room rate in 2016 was $104.4 for one night, a slight decrease from the previous year, while the 4-star hotel room rate increased slightly to $75. Kent Atkinson, chair of Grant Thornton Vietnam, noted that there is a sharp increase in the number of investors and businesspeople from Japan and South Korea to Vietnam, which brings opportunities to luxury hotels, though the clients tend to lease houses. John Gardner, CEO of Chains Caravelle (Caravelle Saigon Hotel), believes that the 5-star hotel room rate decreased in 2016 partially because of clients from countries which have high investments in Vietnam. Booking hotel rooms in large quantities, some groups of clients tried to negotiate for better prices. In 2016, Vietnamese guests accounted for 20.4 percent of total clients booking rooms at luxury hotels, an increase of 3.4 percentage points over 2014. Gardner said…... [read more]

NDO/VNA – The fulfillment of the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 6.7% in 2017 requires great political determination from ministries and departments, as well as corporations, businesses and people, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed at a meeting in Hanoi on August 12. Addressing the conference between the Government’s Standing Board and ministries, sectors, economic groups and corporations, the PM noted that in order to realise the aforementioned target, the growth rate in the six remaining months of this year must be at a level of 7.42%. He stressed that this is an important political task for all sectors, especially the agriculture, industry, construction, processing and manufacturing sectors. According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the surging GDP in the second quarter raised the January-June growth rate to 5.73%. The service sector made the most significant contribution to the overall growth rate (2.59 percentage points), particularly in wholesale, retail, accommodation, catering, finance, banking, insurance, and real estate. The total volume of international tourists traveling to Vietnam in the period was 7.42 million, an annual rise of 28.8%. While the mining industry suffered from a sharp decline, the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors have recovered with a growth rate of 2.65 %. The average consumer price index (CPI) rose by 3.91 % in the first seven months, slightly below the National Assembly’s set target of 4 %. To reach the goal of 6.7 %, the GDP growth must be at a minimum level…... [read more]

Japanese director Masako Sakata (L) and Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong (Source:VNA) Tokyo (VNA) – The embassy of Vietnam in Japan and the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) held a ceremony in Tokyo on August 10 to present the Friendship Order to Masako Sakata in recognition of her dedication to the campaign “Actions for Vietnamese AO victims”. Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong lauded Masako for directing two documentaries about Vietnamese AO victims and launching the fund “Seed of Hope” that provided scholarships for more than 100 Vietnamese students who are AO victims. Masako said the death of her American cameraman husband from AO effects after fighting in Vietnam prompted her to travel to Vietnam in 2004 to make the first film about the topic. She hoped that her two documentaries, which will be screened in France in this October, will attract more viewers, thereby raising their awareness of the AO’s consequences. At the event, she also presented financial aid to VAVA on behalf of the “Seed of Hope” fund. Her documentary film “AO – A Personal Requiem” was completed in 2007 while the other “A Vietnamese Father’s Journey to the Battlefield” was made in 2011. Both of them were screened in many countries and won Japanese and international prizes. The “Seed of Hope” fund has so far granted scholarships worth nearly 2.3 billion VND to 113…... [read more]

In five successive months, the number of international visitors to the country reached one million. According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, 6.1 million holiday-makers come to Vietnam by air, a year-on-year increase of 31.3 percent while 178,101 voyagers arrived in Vietnam, a rise of 13.3 percent compared to same period last year and 945,886 people by road, a surge of 17.3 percent compared same period last year. The number of Chinese tourists going to Vietnam reached 2.2 million, a 51 percent increase from the number in January 2016. The number of Russian, South Korea, Hong Kong, Spain, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Taiwan also went up with 49.3 percent, 46.8 percent, 30.1 percent, 27.8 percent, 23.6 percent, 23.4 percent, and 20.8 percent respectively. African tourists also increase with 19,973 people, a year-in-year surge of 28.1 percent. It is estimated that local tourists in first seven months were 46.9 million, bringing revenue of VND306,700 billion, up 25.7 percent compared to same period last year. According to the plan, in 2017, the tourism sector has to welcome 13 million tourists from all corner of the world. Head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Van Tuan said that the tourism sector adopted some measures. They are promotion campaign in and out of the country, especially concentrating key markets such as China, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia. In addition, the sector should have more tourism products to attract holiday-makers in Vietnam longer and spend more during the stay. The sector…... [read more]

The book covers all aspects of “banh mi” (the Vietnamese version of a sandwich) from the history of the celebrated snack, to preparation and regional variations. Thu also shares plenty of her own travel and eating tips along the way. As any resident of Vietnam knows, “banh mi” is ubiquitous in every city across the land, sold on sidewalks, near bus-stops, in shops, and outside schools. “Banh mi” ideally should be hot and crunchy. The filling depends on where you are – or what you’re in the mood for. “Banh mi” can be filled with pate or pork meat and always includes a variety of shredded vegetables and heaps of local herbs and spices. In “My Quest for Yummy Pho”, Thu celebrates this diversity by visiting bakeries, shops and renowned street vendors, in search of pearls of wisdom, local recipes and techniques. The book is punctuated with mouthwatering photographs of delicious “banh mi” sandwiches. Thu is the founder of “YouCook.ca”, an online magazine featuring recipes and video lessons from chefs. As Canada is a multicultural country, the website began by introducing recipes and chefs from all over the world. But Thu noticed that a few Vietnamese recipes for dishes such as “canh chua” and “bo la lot” were particularly well-received, so she decided to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine and make a concerted effort to promote her motherland’s food. The next step was coming to Vietnam and beginning a journey that would lead to the first in a series of…... [read more]

Vietnam’s tourism industry has responded by prioritising the RoK market in its development strategy for the 2011­­–2020 period. Ha Long City and Ho Chi Minh City are especially favoured by RoK visitors thanks to their reasonable prices and renowned tourist destinations. Ha Van Sieu, Head of the Institute for Tourism Development Research (ITDR), said RoK tourism’s high seasons are in January, July, and August. Statistics show that from 2000–2005, the daily average spending of a RoK tourist in Vietnam was US$96.9—a little lower than that from Japan (US$99.4), but much higher than a US tourist (US$74.1). The average RoK tourist’s spending has now jumped to US$527.9 if on a full package tour and US$259.9 if traveling independently. The sudden surge in the number of RoK travelers to Vietnam shows Vietnamese services are able to satisfy their quality demands. Vietnam and the RoK share many cultural similarities and the two countries’ ties, especially economically, have only multiplied. In October 2009, the two governments lifted the status of their relations to a strategic partnership. Vietnam’s proximity to the RoK also makes travel easier and more convenient. To lure more RoK tourists, the VNAT will coordinate with related agencies to offer tourism services tailored to the RoK people’s taste. It will also launch an official Korean language website promoting domestic tourism. In addition to organising annual cultural and tourism events in the RoK itself, the tourism industry will survey the market to plan future promotions in both Vietnam and the RoK. It will…... [read more]

VNAT statistics show most of the arrivals were holiday-makers, accounting for over 1.4 million, and nearly 404,000 returned home to visit their relatives. China had the highest number of visitors to Vietnam (587,475), followed by the Republic of Korea and Japan. With only 5,817 visitors travelling to Vietnam in the last three months, Hong Kong (China) achieved the highest growth among Vietnam’s tourism markets. However, the number of foreign arrivals in March dropped 15.7% compared to February to nearly 710,000, said the VNAT. The central province of Thua Thien-Hue is attracting crowds of foreign travelers as it is hosting the biennial Hue Festival in April. More than 270,000 foreign visitors came to Hue in the first quarter, a year-on-year rise of 2.1%. The central province expects to attract approximately 200,000 visitors during the 2014 Hue Festival, with half of them foreigners. The VNAT also reported that the number of Vietnamese holiday-makers also rose 6.85% in Q1 to 13.7 million.... [read more]




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