Visitors to Yen Tu spring festival in Quang Ninh (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – The Tourism Department of the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh has reported that the locality greeted 800,000 visitors during the week-long Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays.

The number of guests, including 86,000 foreigners, featured a surge of 45 percent from the same period last year, and a turnover of nearly 9 trillion VND.

The world heritage site Ha Long Bay welcomed nearly 70,000 visitors while Ha Long Ocean Park lured close to 25,000 guests.

Quang Ninh welcomed 8.3 million tourists in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 7 percent.

With mainland and sea surface coverage of 12,000 sq.km and a 1.2 million population, Quang Ninh has long been known as one of the top tourism centres in Vietnam with numerous attractive destinations and diverse tourism products thanks to the province’s efforts to boost tourism’ growth.

It has four major tourist hubs. The Uong Bi-Dong Trieu-Quang Yen area is home to many spiritual and cultural sites, while Ha Long Bay along with the adjacent area is famous as a centre for sight-seeing, culture, shopping and entertainment.

The Van Don-Co To area offers spiritual, sea and island and entertainment tourism, and the Mong Cai area is strong for sea tourism and shopping.

Ha Long city is a big tourism centre of the province. It now has 595 tourist accommodations, including 100 one to five star hotels; 30 shopping centres and restaurants; 500 cruise ships, including 169 standardised overnight tour boats. Tourism services in the city have increased in both quantity and quality.

Thanks to its favourable location, Ha Long has attracted big groups and businesses in tourism with the most noteworthy projects being the Ha Long Ocean Park of Sun Group, the Vincom commercial centre and the five-star resort in Reu islands, both of Vingroup, and the Times Garden complex of My Way Group, among others.

Ha Long has issued a resolution on turning itself into a high-quality tourism centre for 2016-2020.

According to the Department of Tourism, Quang Ninh currently has 157 accommodation establishments from one- to five-star ratings, along with 47 travel firms and nine beaches for tourists.

Recently, the department has teamed up with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to organise a famtrip for travel firms and media agencies across the country to a number of potential destinations around the Ha Long Bay World Natural Heritage site.

In order to fully tap tourism potential and increase the stay duration of tourists, the province is advised to apply comprehensive measures, including reviewing the planning and management of tourism, expand market and diversify tourism products.

At the same time, Quang Ninh is told to invest more in other types of tourism instead of focusing on only the Ha Long Bay, as well as in human resources for the sector. Experts suggested encouraging the involvement of the community in boosting tourism development. -VNA