The chill in the Central Highland city of Da Lat will be warmed by flowers and festivities this New Year holiday, during the Da Lat Culture Tourism Week 2013.

"Unlike the annual flower festival, this year the week includes three remarkable events, namely the 120th anniversary of Da Lat City, the 5th national flower festival and the announcement of the National Tourism Year 2014 with the key destinations being the Central Highlands and Da Lat," Vo Ngoc Hiep, chairman of Da Lat city People's Committee, told Viet Nam News.

"That's why all the activities throughout the city will aim to show off the tourism potential of Da Lat City and the Central Highlands as well as the local flower industry."

The opening ceremony of the tourism week will be held on December 27 night at Lam Vien Square.

According to the organisers, the Flower Festival will be a key topic during the week. Flowers and bonsai will decorate main tourism sites like Xuan Huong Lake, Prenn Waterfall and downtown streets.

Hiep noted that annual flower festivals had a positive effect on local socio-economics. "In 2005, the first flower festival brought 1.6 million visitors to the city, while this year [the 5th festival], the number of tourists may reach 3.4 million people."

He said local tourism authorities had organised training courses to improve service quality at local restaurants and hotels, adding the city has 11,000 rooms that can host up to 25,000 guests per night.

Also known as the "Kingdom of Flowers", Da Lat is now home to 60 flower-growing enterprises which work on a total area of 3,500ha.

The average annual income locals get from 1ha of flowers is around VND1 billion (450,000 USD) while that from 1ha of strawberries is VND100 million.

National tourism year

"Right on the opening ceremony, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will announce the national tourism year 2014 with the theme ‘Central Highlands - Great Jungle'," said Nguyen Thi Nguyen, deputy director of the Lam Dong Culture, Sports and Tourism Department.

A series of promotion activities will be held throughout next year, including a traditional brocade-weaving festival, traditional costumes shows, a national chess tournament, traditional instrument festivals, food festivals, sport-culture festivals and international gong festival.

The events will be organised by the culture ministry and host participants from the Central Highland provinces of Lam Dong, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai and Kon Tum.

Various new tours will be designed for tourists such as Jungle Tours to Madagui forest, Dambri waterfall, Pongour waterfall, Tuyen Lam lake, Langbiang mountain; sport tours to Da Lat Golf; tours following the footprints of French biologist Alexandre Yersin who discovered the Langbiang plateau in 1893.

The key destination for this year was the Red River Delta, which attracted 35 million tourists, a 15 percent increase over last year. It brought a revenue of 35 trillion (1.66 billion USD), up 16 percent year-on-year.-VNA