The Government aims to develop the country's coastal tourism sector into one of the top in the region by 2030, rivalling sea and coastal tourism in Thailand , Malaysia and Indonesia.

Coastal localities are already implementing the national tourism development strategy until 2020 with a vision toward 2030, a plan that prioritises developing sea eco-tourism activities.

Pham Trung Luong, deputy director of the Tourism Development Research Institute, said that from now until 2020, coastal and island destinations should attract 25 million international tourists, or 72 percent of all international visitors, and 60 million domestic visitors, 61 percent of all local tourists.

Luong said sea eco-tourism activities are expected to rake in 11 billion USD and create more than 1.7 million jobs for local people to the year 2020.

He said about 28 coastal provinces and central-level cities with a total area of 136,921sq.km were prime destinations for the development of coastal tourism and eco-tourism activities.

"Under the strategy, the country will be one of the top coastal tourism destinations in the region alongside Thailand , Malaysia and Indonesia ," he added.

Five coastal and sea tourism areas meeting international standards will be formed including Ha Long – Cat Ba, Lang Co-Son Tra – Hoi An, Nha Trang-Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet – Mui Ne and Phu Quoc. Tours to islands in the East Sea will also be set up.

Nguyen Van Tuan, director general of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said the tours to coastal and island destinations will offer an opportunity for Vietnamese people to show their love for the country.

Luong said it is necessary for each locality to work out its own interesting and attractive coastal tourism programmes in a sustainable way.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Enviornment Nguyen Van Duc said Vietnam's upcoming Sea and Islands Week (June 1-8) will raise people's awarenes about exploiting and mobilising sea resources in a sustainable way.

This event, held annually since 2009, attracts all provinces and cities' participation with various activities, such as educating students about the country's sea and islands via extra-curricular activities plus encouraging volunteers to clean beaches and coastal roads.-VNA