At the conference (Source: dulichtaybac)

Lao Cai (VNA) – Authorities and tourism officials of Northwest localities have discussed preparations for the National Tourism Year 2017 in Lao Cai province on December 5-6.

Addressing the conference, Dang Xuan Phong, Vice Secretary of the Lao Cai Party’s Committee expressed his hope that the event will promote the beauty of the Northwest’s landscapes, culture and people and bring more value to its tourism.

He stressed the need for developing a master plan for celebrative activities and events to be held throughout the National Tourism Year 2017.

Lao Cai was chosen to play the key role in designing the master plan for the National Tourism Year, which is labelled as the most prestigious tourism event in the country, as well as organising the implementation of related activities.

For his part, General Director of the Vietnam Tourism Administration under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Tuan said the National Tourism Year 2017 should unveil the hidden charm of distinctive cultures preserved by ethnic minorities.

He suggested finances should be mobilised from various sources to ensure the practice of thrift and the environmental protection must be given due attention.

The Northwest has huge potential for tourism, but it has yet to be effectively exploited in a sustainable manner, experts said.

The region is home to more than 30 ethnic groups, a slew of tangible and intangible cultural heritages and famous historical sites and imposing landscapes.

Yet tourism accounts for an insignificant part of the region's economy due to poor infrastructure and lack of sophisticated products and professional tourism operators.

Last year the region received 8.7 million tourists, including 1.5 million foreign nationals, while the country received 7.8 million international arrivals, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The region has 12 areas earmarked for development under the national strategy on tourism development in the period through 2020, including the Dong Van Karst Plateau, Ban Gioc Falls, Mau Son, Ba Be Lake, Tan Trao, Dien Bien, Hoa Binh Reservoir.

Four national tourist attractions that feature in the strategy are Lao Cai city (Lao Cai province), Pac Po historical site (Cao Bang province), Lang Son city (Lang Son province), and Mai Chau district (Hoa Binh province).-VNA