Quang Ninh cuts sight-seeing fees till year’s end hinh anh 1A corner of Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – The northeastern coastal province of Quang Ninh has launched a sight-seeing fee discount programme for a range of local destinations between September 9 and December 31.

Accordingly, prices of entrance tickets for destinations on Ha Long Bay, the Quang Ninh Museum and the Yen Tu relic and scenic complex are reduced by 50 percent.

Notably, entry into destinations in the bay will be free of charge on Vietnamese Women’s Day (October 20), the mining sector’s traditional day (November 12), Vietnamese Teachers’ Day (November 20), and the founding anniversary of the People’s Army of Vietnam (December 22).

The programme was part of the provincial People’s Council’s decision issued on September 8 for tourism promotion.

Earlier, the council approved a tourism promotion incentive for 2020 worth about 200 billion VND (nearly 8.6 million USD) during its meeting in May.

Under the incentive, starting from May 15, all visitors, both Vietnamese and foreigners were exempt from entrance fees to Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Museum and the complex of Yen Tu monuments and landscapes until the end of the month and on major holidays in 2020.

Later, sight-seeing fees for Ha Long Bay were reduced by half to the end of September, while entrance fees for Quang Ninh Museum and Yen Tu complex were cut by half until the end of July.

In addition, passengers arriving at the Van Don International Airport receive free round-trip bus rides to Ha Long and Uong Bi cities until the year's end.

As a result, tourist arrivals have been partly recovered, with the average number of visitors to Ha Long Bay per day reached 7,000 in June. As of the end of August, more than 868,000 people visited the bay in the daytime and over 4,000 stayed here at night.

However, the second wave of COVID-19 taking place at the end of July has led to a slowdown in local tourism activites as the number of tourists fell significantly. Hundreds of tourist ship owners registered for a temporary halt of their operation until the end of September to avoid monthly business fees of between 7 and 10 million VND per ship.

Local tourism activities are expected to be resumed in early October.

According to statistics from the Quang Ninh People’s Committee, the number of tourists to the province as of the end of August exceeded 5.7 million, decreasing by half year on year. As such, tourism revenue reduced by 42 percent to over 12 trillion VND.

During the period, Ha Long Bay and the Yen Tu relic and scenic complex welcomed 1.1 million and 238,000 visitors, down 62 and 73 percent, respectively, year-on-year.

Quang Ninh is endowed with natural advantages for sea and island tourism. It has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and more than 2,000 islands and islets which account for two-thirds of the total number in Vietnam.

It is home to popular destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long, Ha Long Bay National Park and some islands.

In particular, Ha Long Bay was twice recognised as a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 and 2000. The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes.

It features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various shapes and sizes. The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments.

The site welcomed 4.4 million holidaymakers throughout 2019, including 2.9 million foreigners, and raked in 1.23 trillion VND from tourism.

Located 80 km from the mainland, Co To island is another attraction in Quang Ninh. The island district comprises Co To Lon (large Co To island), Co To Be (small Co To island) and 15 smaller islands.

Besides enchanting beaches, the island has natural forests, lighthouses, parks, wharves, fishing villages, bays and a rock garden.

Located in Bai Tu Long Bay, Quan Lan Island in Van Don district has become an ideal destination in summer holidays thanks to its pristine beauty, clear blue seawater and fine white sand bank stretching along the green rows of casuarinas./.