A ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of Ha Long Bay’s recognition as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site was held in Quang Ninh province on November 1.

Addressing the event, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan congratulated the authorities and people of Quang Ninh on Ha Long Bay’s 20-year world heritage status.

He said he hopes Quang Ninh will do its utmost to attract more tourists while preserving and promoting the value of the world natural heritage.

On December 17, 1994, UNESCO designated the bay a World Heritage site of globally outstanding value in terms of natural landscape. The recognition was extended in 2000, and one year later, Ha Long Bay outranked 261 other landscapes around the globe to become one of the seven new natural wonders of the world.

Since becoming a world heritage site, Ha Long Bay has welcomed nearly 25 million visitors, contributing to turning Quang Ninh province into a tourism magnet.

On the occasion, the province launched a programme “Ha Long smile” with a view to developing the local tourism sector. It also aims to help change the public’s awareness and turn Quang Ninh into a land of smiles, hospitality and sociability.

Earlier, Quang Ninh held a series of activities to mark the anniversary, such as exhibitions of photographs and souvenir products on Ha Long Bay, and workshops on the preservation and promotion of the natural heritage value of the bay and businesses’ involvement.-VNA