Northern Ninh Binh province is promoting tourism homestays and improving co-operation with other provinces to enhance the tourism experience, says Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Duong Thi Thanh.

Up to 50 households in five villages in Gia Van Commune were providing homestays, Thanh said. "Each household has one to five rooms for tourists. I'm receiving good feedback."

Tourists in homestay accommodation take part in the family's daily activities, like going to the market, cooking and farming.

The nation's current tourism strategies favour green tourism which Thanh said was associated with the preservation of eco-diversity and natural values.

In ties with other regions, Ninh Binh had signed a 2012 development and co-operation agreement with 10 provinces and cities with high tourism potential, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Can Tho, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Lao Cai, and Lang Son.

Thanh said the ties would assist tours of ancient capitals, including Hoa Lu in Ninh Binh, Thang Long citadel (Hanoi), Lam Kinh vestige, Ho citadel (Thanh Hoa Province) and Hue City.

The provincial tourism section head, Hoang Thanh Phong said: "The province also has craft villages like Van Lam embroidery village, Ninh Van stone carving village of Hoa Lu District, and Kim Son sedge village in Kim Son District."

"When craft villages are better known, it could help create jobs for local people."

However, Ninh Binh still faced challenges, including the perception of poor environmental protection, site information and professionalism among tourist guides, along with annoying street vendors and a lack of entertainment, Thanh said.

"Employees in tourism activities will undergo training in environment protection, languages, culture and history."

Recently, Gia Sinh commune in Gia Vien district opened the club Lang Am Thuc De Nui (Gastronomy Village of Mountain Goat). There, 20 members made a commitment to strictly observe food service regulations and to make sure prices were included on menus.

Located 93km south of Hanoi, Ninh Binh has diverse landscapes, with the Trang An ecotourism complex boasting mountains, caves and lakes.

Among 3.6 million visitors to the province in the first six months of this year, 2.5 million went to the complex.

The Tam Coc-Bich Dong tourist destination and Bai Dinh Pagoda have also created an impression.

Ninh Binh aims to welcome six million visitors, including one million foreigners, by 2015, an annual growth rate of 10 percent.-VNA