The first National External Information Service Awards offers a unique chance for the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang to popularise the image of Dong Van stone plateau among domestic and foreign visitors.

The plateau was recognised as a member of the Global Network of National Geoparks in 2010, becoming Vietnam ’s first geological park and the second in Southeast Asia .

The park covers over 2,000 square kilometres, stretching across Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac districts with a population of 250,000 from 17 different ethnic groups.

In recent years, the province has organised a number of exhibitions and workshops to develop the plateau and thousands of articles about the geological park have been published on mass media.

The number of travellers to the plateau surged to nearly 100,000 last year from over 62,000 in 2011.

Director of the park’s management board Nguyen Le Huy said the plateau was an untouched area and barely known before being recognised as a global geological park.

Looking forward, the province will launch a contest for local students, simultaneously promoting external information for heritage preservation and sustainable tourism development.

The National External Information Service Awards 2014, which is chaired by the Vietnam News Agency, is open to press agencies, ministries, sectors and localities, and representative agencies of Vietnam abroad, Vietnam’s friendship organisations, foreigners and overseas Vietnamese.-VNA