A ceremony to welcome first air travellers of 2019 at Noi Bai international airport (Photo: nhandan.com.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Tourism departments of Hanoi, Thua Thien – Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City organised special ceremonies to greet their first tourists of the year arriving at the local international airports on January 1.

First foreign visitors landed in the capital city’s Noi Bai International Airport on a Vietnam Airlines plane. One of them was Timo Kux, a German national, who said he visits Vietnam about three or four times per year. He also expressed his fondness for the country’s beauty after touring different local tourist sites.

Hanoi welcomed 5.74 million foreign visitors in 2018, up 16 percent against 2017, among 26 million tourists spending time in the city. It aims to greet 6.7 million foreign visitors, out of nearly 28.6 million tourists in 2019.

Meanwhile, the central province of Thua Thien – Hue held a dragon dancing performance at the Phu Bai International Airport and presented keepsakes to the passengers who came to the central province on the first day of 2019 on a Vietnam Airline flight en route from Hanoi.

The ceremony opened a series of local culture- sport-tourism activities set for 2019, including the Hue traditional handicraft festival, Hue international marathon day, and Coupe De Hue Cycle Race 2019.

A total of 4.25 million tourists visited the province last year, contributing 4.4 trillion VND (189.2 million USD) to the local tourism sector, up 11.8 and 25 percent from 2017, respectively. Thua Thien – Hue expects to host between 4.5 and 4.7 million visitors this year for revenue of 4.7-4.9 trillion VND.  

The HCM City Tourism Department, with support from the Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air, greeted the first six foreign and six domestic tourists to the southern economic hub at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport. The foreigners travelling on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Frankfurt, Germany and the domestic visitors came from the central city of Da Nang on a Vietjet Air flight. Each lucky tourist received a free economy ticket from their carriers and a free tour around the city’s popular destinations by the Tugo tourism company.

The city welcomed about 36.5 million visitors, including 7.5 million foreigners, last year. It sets a target of achieving its tourism growth of between 15-20 percent and serving about 8-8.5 million foreign holidaymakers in 2019.-VNA