The Culture – Sports – Tourism Week and the second Red Flamboyant Festival, a highlight the National Tourism Year of the Red River Delta themed “Red River Civilisation”, kicked off in the northern port city of Hai Phong on May 11.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the 2013 Red River Delta – Hai Phong National Tourism Year offers the region a chance to make tourism a key economic sector for national socio-economic development.

Dung said ministries, departments and localities are working on a general tourism development strategy and master plan until 2020 with a vision to 2030 to boost tourism in a professional, sustainable and modern manner, in line with upholding national cultural values, environmental protection, ensuring national defence and security, and social safety and order.

From now until 2020, Vietnam ’s tourism sector strives to obtain an annual growth of around 12 percent on average. The country targets to welcome over 10 million foreign tourists and some 50 million domestic visitors, earn 18 billion USD in revenues, generate 3 million jobs and contribute to 7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, Dung said.

To realise such goals, Dung asked them to tap internal sources and advantages of history, culture and landscapes, especially the UNESCO-recognised world heritages, as well as to make the most of domestic and international assistance to transform the Hanoi – Hai Phong – Quang Ninh development triangle and the Red River Delta region into the country’s special culture and tourism hub.

The PM called on them to offer diverse and unique tourist products imbued with local culture, build a highly-competitive tourism brand name, facilitate investment attraction, preserve ecological environment and ensure tourism security and safety.

On top of this, Dung also encouraged each local and visitor to join efforts in building a friendly and sustainable tourism environment, thus popularising the tradition of Vietnam ’s hospitality.

Ministries and departments were also required to work with regional localities to remove obstacles in tourism activities, generate more jobs, reduce poverty and bring the region a new facelift.

Over the past years, international and domestic arrivals in the region as well as the Ha Noi – Hai Phong – Quang Ninh economic growth triangle have jumped a respective of 13.2 percent and 14.3 percent per year. Last year’s revenues hit some 40,000 billion VND (1.9 billion USD).

Among the Red River Delta localities, Hai Phong holds plentiful unique cultural values of the ancient civilisation. It is blessed with diverse natural resources to develop sea and island tourism, notably Cat Ba island close to Ha Long Bay.-VNA