Vietnam’s top tourism destinations and preferential policies were presented to Indian representatives at a gala held by the Vietnamese Embassy on January 27 in the city of Kolkata in the West Bengal state.

Themed “Vietnam – an amazing destination for Indian tourists”, the event attracted nearly 200 guests from the local government and 80 travel and media agencies.

Vietnamese Ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh hailed the significance of the tourism promotion gala, as it is the first to be held in Kolkata – one of the three largest cities of India. He also spoke to the value of the time-honoured friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries, which has seen rapid development both in depth and breadth.

Overcoming the ravages of war, Vietnam has risen to become a dynamic economy and an attractive destination for travellers, with eight UNESCO-recognised heritage and numerous beautiful beaches and historical relic sites. Nearly 8 million foreigners choose Vietnam for their holidays each year, with the number of tourists from India increasing from 30,000 in 2013 to almost 55,000 last year, said Thanh.

He expressed his hope that India Jet Airways’ new direct air route to Vietnam in 2014 and Vietnam Airlines’ and VietJetAir’s plans to offer flights to India will lead to booming tourism cooperation between the two countries.

Head of the West Bengal Tourism Department Umapanda Mukherjee said he hopes the Vietnamese Embassy will serve as a bridge to connect local travel agencies with Vietnam as well as facilitating the operations of Indian enterprises and travel companies within Vietnam.-VNA