The eighth annual HCM City Tourism Day Festival, which opened on April 12, aims to promote more domestic tours.

The event, held in the 23/9 Park in District 1 until April 15, is co-organised by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the HCM City Tourism Association.

According to La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the department, the main purpose of the festival is to act as a bridge between travel companies and customers.

The highlight of this year's event is the Sac Mau Le Hoi Viet Nam (Colours of Vietnamese Festivals), which honours city tourism brands.

The festival features a tourism fair with more than 150 booths set up by 80 travel companies.

Vietnamese and international cuisine is showcased at 20 other booths.

A photo exhibition titled "Anh Dep Le Hoi Vietnam " (Beautiful Photos of Vietnamese Festivals), highlights landscapes around Vietnam .

A performance of don ca tai tu (southern amateur music) is another major attraction of the event.

Also included in the event this year is the International Tourism Exhibition and the " HCM City – 100 interesting things" programme.

People making tour bookings at the event are expected to win prizes and freebies.

Trinh Cong Ly, director of Soc Trang Province 's Tourism Promotion Centre, said this event is a good opportunity for travel businesses in the city and other provinces to exchange experiences and call for investment and cooperation to better exploit the tourism potential and improve tourism services.

Nguyen Minh Man of Vietravel Company, said the festival is being held close to the budget tourism area on Pham Ngu Lao Street in District 1.

Around 300,000 visitors are expected to participate in the festival this year, up from 200,000 last year, according to the organisers.

Last year HCM City raked in revenues of 56 trillion VND (2.7 billion USD) from tourism, or 11 percent of the country's total, according to the city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

It welcomed 3.5 million international visitors and 14 million domestic visitors.-VNA