Ha Long Bay sightseeing ticket fares down by half for cruise tourists hinh anh 1A view of Ha Long Bay (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – Tickets to enter sightseeing spots and stay overnight at Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in the northern province of Quang Ninh, have been cut by half as part of the locality’s efforts to support travel companies.

The policy, effective from July 10 to September 30, was introduced amidst a sharp decline in foreign tourists, the major customer source of cruise ships operating on the bay due to the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.

The ships have operated by only 10 percent of their capacity.

In the first six months of this year, Quang Ninh welcomed nearly 4.2 million visitors, but including only 491,000 foreigners, equivalent to 17 percent of that in the same period last year.

Earlier in mid-May, Quang Ninh launched a package of 200 billion VND to support tourism sector. The locality opened for free all tourist sites on Ha Long for all tourists, excluding those who used overnight services in cruise ships at the bay.

Bui Cong Hoan, Vice Chairman of the Ha Long Cruise Lines Association lauded the local government’s support. He showed his hope that commercial banks will extend the interest payment time for their loans, helping them avoid going bankrupted.

Ha Long Bay literally “descending dragon bay”, was twice recognised as a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 and 2000.

The geo-diversity of the environment has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea biosystem.

In 2018, Ha Long Bay made it into the top 15 Instagrammed global cruise destinations based on a survey of 1.8 million posts tagged on various ships and ports by travel cruise site SeaHub.

In 2019, British travel magazine Rough Guides included Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay in its selection of the 100 most beautiful places to visit next year.

In the Rough Guides to the 100 Best Places on Earth, the magazine describes “the scattering of limestone pinnacles jutting out of the smooth waters of Ha Long Bay”, around four hours east of Hanoi, as an “incredible sight”.

Most recently in 2020, Ha Long Bay was named amongst the 50 most beautiful natural wonders on Earth selected by US-based magazine Insider.

“The best way to see Ha Long's awe-inspiring limestone towers is by boat. In fact, many tourists stay overnight on a boat in the bay,” the article said./.