A conference on tourism promotion for the central province of Thua Thien-Hue has been held in Hanoi to introduce tourism services and cultural programmes to the province this year.

The Hue Traditional Crafts Festival, to be celebrated from April 29 to May 3, will be the key event for tourists this year and will build on the achievements of previous festivals. It will specialise in the arts of bonsai and gastronomy with the theme of Vietnamese gastronomy in the tranquillity of Hue's gardens.

Festival goers will be immersed in the conspicuous cultural ambience through Vietnam's divine culinary and bonsai arts. Cuisines from distinct geographical regions across the country will be featured: the culinary specialities of the south, the delicate cuisine of Hue with its royal meals, vegetarian food and popular dishes to be served in the city's splendid gardens, and the authentic tastes from the north.

Visitors will also have chance to meet prominent culinary researchers and experts, talented bonsai artists, antiques collectors and other artists in the country in the variety of fascinating artistic programmes and community activities.

For the national year of tourism in 2012, hosted by Thua Thien-Hue Province, the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will launch many tourism programmes.

For example, the department will organise tours to discover the treasures of Hue and help tourists understand the legacy of the Nguyen dynasty by experiencing the culture and visiting pagodas.

Let's Experience Hue will introduce tourists to Hue festivals, crafts villages and royal life. Tours take visitors on various routes through the provinces and allow them to discover the heritage of the city. For those who want to relax, there will be walking tours that take visitors to forests, to rest by Lang Co Beach and to discover ancient houses.

"Thua Thien-Hue is an attractive destination for tourists as tourism is the key industry of the province," said Phan Tien Dung, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

"Last year, Hue received 1.5 million visitors, 700,000 of which were foreigners."

At the conference, a co-operation memorandum was signed between Hanoi's Culture, Sports and Tourism Department and its counterparts from Thua Thien-Hue Province and HCM City.

A similar conference for the same purpose will take place in HCM City on January 19./.