Quang Ninh eyes 3 million visitors in Q4 hinh anh 1Ha Long Bay is a renowned tourism spot in Quang Ninh province. (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) –
The northeastern province of Quang Ninh will hold 64 cultural, sport, and tourism events towards the goal of attracting 3 million visitors in Quarter 4.

Director of the provincial Tourism Department Pham Ngoc Thuy said at a press conference on October 20 that 30 events were scheduled for October, 20 for November and 14 for December.

Notable programmes include Quang Ninh seafood week and One Commune, One Product fair, Binh Lieu ripen rice season, Yen Tu – the Buddhist land in autumn, Quang Ninh Ao dai festival, Ha Long national kite festival, among others.

Thuy stressed the province will sharpen focus on the domestic market, with priority given to large tourist source markets like Ho Chi Minh City, southern localities, central and central highlands provinces, and northeastern provinces where industrial parks and big corporations are located.

The sector has paid heed to developing new tourism products as well as package tours at competitive prices, while working to ensure good tourism service quality.

According to the Tourism Department, the province welcomed 5.8 million visitors during January-September, only half of the figure recorded in the same time last year.

Earlier, the province 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 is 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.

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.

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./.