The tourism associations of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City signed an agreement on a joint 2013 tourism promotion programme on April 20.

Under the agreement, which was reached within the framework of the 2013 Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM 2013) in Hanoi, reduced air fares between HCM City and Hanoi will be offered by the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and the low-cost carrier Vietjet Air.

The two associations will also mobilise relevant culture and tourism agencies in the southern and northern regions to reduce service prices, and ask travel agents to offer 30 percent discounts on package tours.

The HCM City Tourism Association has reached an agreement with Vietnam Airlines to offer flights from HCM City to Hanoi , Da Nang , Nha Trang and Phu Quoc at fares up to 58 percent lower than the standard ticket price. Meanwhile, Vietjet Air offered 10,000 air tickets 49 percent lower than their usual cost.

According to Vu The Binh, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, cooperation between the two associations will open a new avenue for their tourism sectors, and improve the national tourism industry.

It will also facilitate tourists who travel from the north to the south and vice versa, he added.

According to the VITM 2013 organising board, travel agents attending the mart have sold out of domestic summer tours by offering a 20 percent price reduction.

In the first quarter of 2013, Ho Chi Minh City welcomed more than 1 million foreign tourists, a year-on-year increase of 8 percent, earning 20.6 billion VND, a rise of 20 percent over the same period last year. The capital city has so far welcomed 634,000 foreign tourists this year, up 9.8 percent over the same period last year.-VNA