More than 400 domestic and foreign businesses, including airlines, travel agencies and hotel and resort operators, are taking part in the first Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM), which opened in Hanoi on April 18.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan praised the organistion of the VITM, saying it meets the demands of both tourists and businesses.

He said the Government supports the annual hosting of such an event and encourages foreign friends to continue attending the event in the coming years.

The four-day event covers numerous activities to introduce destinations, offer tourism products and organise workshops.

The number of international foreign visitors to Vietnam rose to 6.8 million last year from 1.3 million in 1995 while the number of domestic holiday makers increased remarkably from 6.9 million to 32.5 million over the same period.

Vietnam has more than 30,000 tourism businesses, generating jobs for 1.5 million workers.-VNA