Localities welcome first foreign tourists of Lunar New Year hinh anh 1Vice Chairwoman of the Quang Ninh People’s Committee Vu Thi Thu Thuy (R) present​s flowers to a French tourist (Photo VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
The northern mountainous province of Lao Cai welcomed the first group of foreign tourists on February 16, the first day of the Lunar New Year (Tet) 2018.

The group comprised 32 visitors from Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Hebei and Jilin.

Representatives of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism presented flowers to the guests and wished them a New Year of peace and happiness.

A Chinese tourist said he could feel the time-honoured friendship between the two countries upon his arrival in Vietnam. He added that he wants to celebrate Tet with Vietnamese people and make a tour around Lao Cai to see changes in local lives.

According to Deputy Director of the department Nguyen Dinh Dung, Lao Cai greeted 3.5 million tourists in 2017, including 700,000 foreigners.

The tourism sector grossed nearly 10 trillion VND (439.7 million USD) in revenues. In 2018, the province targets nearly 4 million holidaymakers.

The same day, the northeastern province of Quang Ninh held a ceremony to welcome the first foreign tourists from France to Ha Long Bay – a world natural heritage site recognised by UNESCO.

Vice Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee Vu Thi Thu Thuy extended her best greetings to the guests and told them that Quang Ninh was chosen to host the National Tourism Year 2018 with over 100 events taking place across 12 months.

A French tourist shared that this was the first visit to Vietnam and Ha Long Bay for most people in her tour and they were excited to explore the world natural heritage site, especially during the traditional Lunar New Year.

According to the provincial Inland Waterways Department, Ha Long Bay expects to welcome 60,000 tourists during the first five days of the Lunar New Year, mainly from the Republic of Korea, China, China’s Taiwan, Northern America, and France.

The central coastal city of Da Nang also welcomed the first international flight of the year on February 16, which was the UO552 of Hongkong Express carrying 180 passengers from China’s Hong Kong. The airline is operating 12 direct flights between Hong Kong and Da Nang each week.

According to the department, Da Nang greeted 455,240 tourists in January 2018, a year-on-year rise of 21.1 percent, including 236,863 foreign visitors, up 39.7 percent.

The tourism sector raked in over 1.33 trillion VND in revenues in the month, a year-on-year increase of 21.1 percent.-VNA