Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien (Photo: VNA)

Seoul (VNA) – A conference to promote Vietnamese tourism was held in Seoul in June 26 as an opening activity for the Vietnam Tourism-Culture Festival in the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Addressing the event, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said that over the years, Vietnam and the RoK have implemented various exchange and cooperation activities in the fields of culture, sport and tourism, including the Vietnamese Culture Days in the RoK.

Such exchange activities have contributed to deepening the understanding and friendship between the two countries, encouraging more Koreans to travel to Vietnam, he said.

The minister affirmed that the Vietnamese Government always welcomes and creates the best possible conditions for RoK tourists, investors and travel firms.

Korean guests at the conference were introduced to Vietnamese landscapes, resorts, hotels as well as the Vietnamese people and traditional cultural practices.

According to Vietnamese Tourism Ambassador to the RoK Ly Xuong Can (Lee Chang-kun), the Vietnamese tourism sector has grown rapidly, making Vietnam one of the most attractive destinations for Korean tourists.

At the same time, the number of Vietnamese visitors to the RoK has been rising, he noted, forecasting that the tourism partnership between the two countries will be further expanded in the future.

In 2018, Vietnam welcomed nearly 3.5 million RoK tourists, a surge of 44.3 percent year on year.

In the first five months of 2019, Vietnam welcomed nearly 1.8 million visitors from the RoK, up 22.4 percent over the same period last year. The RoK has become the second biggest tourist source market of Vietnam.

Meanwhile, nearly 500,000 Vietnamese tourists visited the RoK in 2018, a rise of about 41 percent over 2017.

In recent years, Vietnamese tourism sector has seen the engagement of many RoK firms such as Lotte, Accor and Intercontinental, along with the stronger rise of domestic firms such as Sungroup, Vinpearl, FLC and Vietjet Air.

In 2017 and 2018, Vietnam was listed as the leading tourist destination in Asia by the World Travel Awards.-VNA