The central city of Da Nang should take advantage of its favourable location and conditions for hosting international events, a workshop heard on Sept.18.

Local Economic Strategy Institute director Ho Ky Minh said the city has many advantages to develop meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) hosting.

The advantages include being near three world cultural heritage sites – Hue ancient capital, Hoi An ancient town and My Son sanctuary – and having access by road, rail, sea and air.

"The city is also a gateway to the Central Highlands region and neighbouring countries such as Laos , Cambodia , Thailand and Myanmar on the East-West Economic Corridor," he said.

Le Thi Thu Hanh, deputy director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said every year municipal authorities welcome about 100-120 international working delegations, a significant potential for MICE development.

She said the city is becoming known for its ability to host and organise important international events, including the Asia Inter-Parliamentary Organisation, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and ASEAN meetings.

But participants in the workshop pointed out difficulties in servicing events in Da Nang . The city lacks large-scale convention and exhibition centres, experienced tourism employees and long-term strategies, while facing tense competition in both domestic and regional events markets.

Gilbert Whelan, president of the Vietnam MICE club, said the country in general and Da Nang in particular has not prioritised and does not have adequate policies to develop events hosting and management.

"It's necessary that hotels, resorts, travel agencies and national carriers join efforts to send a message to potential MICE clients that the city is well-prepared to hosting events," he said.

Vitours Co deputy general director Cao Tri Dung suggested the city open direct flights to important MICE markets, set up a specialised MICE management agency, build professional staff of convention organisers and enhance the quality of human resource for the area.

Furama Resort deputy general director Nguyen Duc Quynh urged the city to take a greater role in tourism associations and organise more media and familiarisation tours to promote the city's image as an attractive destination for MICE. /.