A parade to celebrate the 2016 National Tourism Year in Ha Tien town, Kien Giang province (Photo: VNA)
Kien Giang (VNA) – The 2016 National Tourism Year was launched in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang on February 22 under the theme: “Discovering the Southern Land”.

On the occasion, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism granted a certificate recognising the U Minh Thuong National Park in Kien Giang province as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site).

The U Minh Thuong National Park is the 2,228th Ramsar Site in the world and the eighth of its kind in Vietnam, and holds significant biological, cultural and historical value.

This also creates a good chance for Kien Giang province to develop eco-tourism and preserve valuable flora and fauna.

A ceremony was held the same day to celebrate the 280 th anniversary of Chieu Anh Cac Literary Coterie.

The annual festival aims to introduce the tradition, culture and people of Ha Tien town, which is considered a cradle of literature in the southern part of Vietnam.

It also includes various art and poetry activities, music performances and flower shows.

With 12 provinces and one centrally run city, the Mekong Delta is the country’s biggest producer of rice and fruit.

Kien Giang is home to many popular tourist sites such as the U Minh Thuong National Park, the Giant Buddha Pagoda and Phu Quoc Island.

The 2016 National Tourism Year is expected to help the country promote tourism products among international friends, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huynh Vinh Ai said, adding that in 2015 Vietnam welcomed around 8 million international tourists and 57 million domestic travellers to gross 330 trillion VND (14.85 billion USD) in revenue.

The 2017 National Tourism Year will be hosted by the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai.-VNA