A seminar was held in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province, on July 24 to discuss ways to preserve and promote the values of Ha Long Bay, a world natural heritage.

Speaking at the function, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh stressed that Ha Long Bay has been twice recognised as a world natural heritage and has affirmed its position in the world tourism map.

The bay welcomes millions of visitors, earning trillions of VND per year, he added.

These bring not only opportunities but also challenges to Ha Long Bay in its way of development, the minister noted.

He suggested that Quang Ninh province focus on quality and efficiency of tourism activities as well as uphold the responsibility for preserving and promoting the world natural heritage.

According to Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Tran Minh Chinh, Quang Ninh plans to combine Ha Long Bay tourism development with the province’s sustainable economic development and environmental protection.

In the country and the province’s strategies to 2020 with a vision toward 2030, Ha Long Bay is defined as a key tourist destination for domestic and foreign visitors, he said.

In the coming time, Quang Ninh will build a tourism trademark for Ha Long Bay, effectively utilize and preserve the bay as well as raise public awareness of natural protection, he added.

Katherine Muller-Marine, UNESCO Chief Representative in Vietnam , said that efforts to protect and promote Ha Long Bay should be made by both the State and the private sector, and on national and international scales.

She emphasised the urgent need to closely control waste from ships in order to protect the environment.

According to Quang Ninh province’s report, Ha Long Bay annually welcomes 2.5 million tourists, including 1 million foreigners.

Over recent years, the bay and surrounding areas have attracted more than 40 foreign investment projects with a total capital of over 1 billion USD.-VNA