First foreign visitors of 2017 given warm welcome

12:21 | 02/01/2017 Culture & Tourism

A German passenger on Vietnam Airlines’ flight VN36, which landed at the Noi Bai International Airport in the morning of January 1, was the first foreign visitor to set foot in Hanoi in 2017.

Director of Hanoi Department of Tourism Do Dinh Hong greets the first foreign visitor of Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Thomas Bauche and his wife were greeted with musical performance and gifts presented by representatives of local agencies.

President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan delivered a welcome greeting in German.

The German couple said this is the second time they have travelled to Vietnam. Besides Hanoi, they planned to go to Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City and the southwest region.

Bauche said last year he and his wife stayed in Vietnam for three weeks, adding that he really loves Vietnamese cuisine.

Do Dinh Hong, Director of Hanoi Department of Tourism said that in 2017, the city will focus on promoting cultural products, local festivals, trade villages, MICE tours and sports tourism.

Hanoi has been chosen among top 10 destinations of Asia by several leading travel magazines. In 2016, the city welcomed about four million international visitors.

The southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City received the first international tourists of the year 2017 at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport on January 1.

Passengers on flight VN30 from Germany and flight TG550 from the UK’s London were greeted with a ceremony jointly held by the City’s Department of Tourism and Tourism Association. They were treated with musical performance and invited to try their hand at Vietnam’s traditional art such as calligraphy.

Nguyen Thi Thu, Vice Chairwoman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee said that the city has improved infrastructure to meet the demands of visitors. In 2017, Ho Chi Minh City aims to develop more travel products based on its advantages such as MICE tours and cuisine tourism.

The city’s tourism sector has set goals of serving 5.5 million foreign visitors in 2017, a rise of 10% compared to last year, and earning total revenue of VND112 trillion (around US$4.9 billion), an increase of 8% year-on-year. Ho Chi Minh City also strives to turn tourism into one of its key industries.

Singapore’s Silk Air also carried more than 160 passengers from the island state to the central coastal city of Da Nang on the first day of the New Year.

A representative from the municipal Department of Tourism presented flowers to the two first visitors, Ross Parker and his wife Corrine from Australia.

On the day, Da Nang also welcomed passengers from the Republic of Korea on the Incheon-Da Nang flight operated by Jin Air and T’way Air.

Da Nang was named among top 10 holiday destinations in Asia in 2013 and 2014 by Smart Travel Asia magazine, top 10 destinations on the rise in 2015 by the Trip Advisor website.

Last year, the city was honoured as Asia’s leading festival and event destination by the World Travel Awards.

Da Nang served more than 5.51 million visitors, up 17.7 percent from 2015. Of the figure, 1.67 million are foreigners, marking a 31.6% increase.

The total revenue from tourism hit VND16 trillion (US$695 million), up 24.7% year-on-year.

The Da Nang airport is now operating 20 international routes, including 11 direct and 9 charter ones.

The same day, authorities of Hoi An city, a World Heritage site in the central province of Quang Nam, also greeted the first foreign visitors of the year with flowers and souvenirs.