Thursday, March 1, 2007

Tourism Year 2007 aims to promote northern mountainous region

Tourism Year 2007 aims to promote northern mountainous region
11:42' 24/02/2007 (GMT+7)
Imbued with cultural identities of ethnic minority groups living in six northern mountainous provinces, the Thai Nguyen Tourism Year 2007 is expected to make a breakthrough to develop tourism in Thai Nguyen province and neighbouring areas, said the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.

Themed "Returning to the capital of mountain and forest wind - the Northernmost Viet Nam Base 2007", the tourism year will comprise activities to honour Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Bac Can, Cao Bang, Lao Cai and Yen Bai provinces which were chosen by late President Ho Chi Minh as a revolutionary base during nine years against the French colonialists (1946-1954).
A fair to promote trade and tourism investment will be held in addition to many cultural and sports activities in Thai Nguyen province.
Thai Nguyen has been collaborating with Ha Noi and other northern mountainous provinces to disseminate information on the tourism year, organise personnel training courses and conduct surveys to make new special and attractive tours.
With mountains making up two-thirds of its total acreage, Thai Nguyen is home to primeval forests, caves and wonderful waterfalls such as the Phuong Hoang cave and Mo Ga stream (Vo Nhai district), Chua cave (Dong Hy district) and Hang Cave (Dinh Hoa district). In addition, the province has 780 cultural and historical relic sites, many of which have been recognised as of national significance.
Thai Nguyen is well known for the Nui Coc Lake ecological tourism site and tea brands such as Tan Cuong, Trai Ca and La Bang.
Coming to Thai Nguyen province, tourists will be encouraged to involve in ecological tours to the Thai Nguyen city, the Nui Coc lake, the Dinh Hoa and Dong Hy cave tourism zones.
Nearly 150 foreign tourists have visited the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien since Feb. 17, the first day of the traditional Tet holidays, marking a year-on-year rise of five percent.
They mostly came from France, the UK, Canada and China.
Besides the relics of the Dien Bien Phu battlefield, another favourite destination in the province is Pa Khoang lake, which is 1,000 m higher than the sea level.
The lake, located in Muong Phang commune, Dien Bien district, is about 20 km from Dien Bien Phu city.
Tourists to Pa Khoang lake had a chance to enjoy traditional games, such as "nem con" or throwing shuttle, and meet with young ethnic people.
Other sites, such as U Va hot spring and Pa Thom cave, also attracted many tourists.
The province expects to welcome 160,000 visitors, both domestic and international, and gain a tourism revenues of between 60-70 billion VND in 2007.
(Source: VNA)

A hotel fit for three American presidents

A hotel fit for three American presidents
17:23' 28/02/2007 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – It would be a great honour to host an American President. Meanwhile, the New World Saigon in HCM City, has had three such opportunities.

President Bush at the New World
In 1995, New World Saigon, a joint venture between New World Hotels Hong Kong Holdings and Saigon Tourist Holding Company, which was managed by Marriot Inc, received a special guest, the former US President George W.H.Bush, whom is known to Vietnamese people as the “Bush father”. Dang Huy Hai, Deputy Director General of New World Saigon, recalled when the hotel prepared to receive the former US president. He felt a bit tense before the reception, as he did not know how Vietnamese people, including the hotel’s staff, would show their attitudes when receiving the high ranking US official. Mr Hai himself had the same feeling from the former president.A moved and surprised former president was the thing Mr Hai thought when seeing the Bush father. The hospitality, warmth and friendly gestures of Vietnamese people, reflect that Vietnamese people want to close the past and open a new chapter in the Vietnam – US relation’s history. According to Mr Hai, the premise for the big changes in Vietnam – US relations.Five years later, on November 19, 2000, the New World Saigon had the second opportunity: hosting the then US President Bill Clinton.Three months of preparation for one dayThe third chance came in November 2006, when the New World Saigon received the US present President George W. Bush, or the Bush son.Mr Hai related that on June 1, 2006, Susan Schwap, the US Trade Representative and the White House Delegation decided to stay at the New World during their time in Vietnam preparing for the signing of the agreement on final negotiations for Vietnam’s joining the WTO.Also at the New World, Mrs Susan Schwap met with many trade delegations from other APEC member economies. The New World arranged necessary meetings and assisted the preparation for the signing ceremony at the Thong Nhat Palace which was very important for both the Vietnamese and US side.Right at that time, there were signs that the US side would consider New World Hotel as the place for President Bush’s stay during his visit to Vietnam to attend the APEC summit.In July 2006, the directorial board of the New World received confirmation from the US security agency, informing that the present president would stay at the hotel for one day and night during his one day visit to HCM City on November 19, 2006. There was a special request: the receiving formalities must follow the ‘Bill Clinton model’. It meant the US side was satisfactory with the reception of the former US President six year ago. The hotel had three months to prepare for the new reception.The first action the hotel had to take was refusing bookings that might coincide with the magnanimous event. There were two wedding ceremonies booked for the evenings of November 18 and 19. “We had to break the contracts and we could not tell our clients that it was because we had to receive a president, it was a top secret,” Mr Hai related. However, everything was finally settled well. The hotel had to cooperate with the logistics sub-committee to plan receiving the president. Two daily meetings were held discussing security, Internet cable, telephone with global connection, ready to serve the president at any time and a suitable working environment for him.Mr Hai related that all the members of the directors board could not sleep in the days prior to the reception.Finally, the special guest arrived. Mr Hai and the hotel staffs thought that Mr Clinton was more friendly than Mr Bush, partially because Mr Clinton had more time to spent talking to people than Mr Bush, who stayed in Vietnam only one day and was extremely busy with continual meetings.In the evening, Mr Bush came to have dinner at TIB restaurant, where had photographs with the restaurant’s staff. Several members of the New World’s Directorial Board also had their photographs taken with the US President.The New World has been well known after the president’s visit. Many delegations have come to visit the Presidential Suite, which once hosted Bush father, Bill Clinton and Bush son. It has also become the place, where famous political names or presidents of famous groups stay when visiting Vietnam.(Source: VNE)