The southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau received 650,000 visitors from Feb. 9 to 17 (the last day of the lunar year of 2012 to the eighth day of the 2013 lunar year), an increase of around 10 percent over the same period last year.

Many of the tourists came from Russia, Northern Europe, the Republic of Korea and Japan, according to the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism.

During the 9-day festival, all resorts, hotels and motels in the province were full, especially in Vung Tau City, which was the destination for around 450,000 guests.

On Feb. 17, the province held an arts performance to herald the beginning of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau culture-tourism festival 2013, themed “Green aspiration.”

Participants to the performance were famous singers and music bands in Vietnam and the province’s song and dance troupe.

This year, Ba Ria-Vung Tau will host a series of culture, sports and tourist events such as the 5th International Kite Festival, and an arts performance programme to celebrate the recognition of Con Dao, the former US prison, as a special national historical relic. There will be also an international seaport festival and a series of activities celebrating the 40 th anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties. -VNA