Five-star cruise ship Diamond Princess (Bermuda) carrying 3,756 international tourists berthed in Nha Trang Bay on Tuesday morning. A dozen boats transferred the visitors to Nha Trang for a city tour before the vessel left for Hong Kong at 5pm.
On the same day the German-flagged Columbus with 550 passengers and crew members on board dropped anchor at Da Nang's Tien Sa Port for a three-day visit to Viet Nam which also included Nha Trang and HCM City.
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In Da Nang, the tourists took a city tour by xich lo (pedicabs) and went shopping at Han Market before cruising on the Thu Bon River to Hoi An where they met with local farmers from Tra Que vegetable village.
MICE tourism hit by economic turmoil this year
HCM City-based travel agencies have reported a downturn in MICE (meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition) tourism in 2012.
The Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in HCM City's District 7 has received few bookings compared with last year.
Vietravel has received a small number of MICE tourists this year, while the size of delegations has fallen from 150-200 to 60-80 guests, mostly from Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.
"While the travel sector is running smoothly, the MICE sector has declined sharply due to the economic crisis," the CEO of Vietravel, Nguyen Quoc Ky, said.
Saigontourist Travel Services Co is one travel agency, however, to report steady growth in MICE tourism this year.
Chinese visitors to fly into Da Nang on chartered flights
More Chinese tourists will be visiting Da Nang by twice-weekly chartered flights that have started operating from Nanjing, according to city-based tour operator Vitours Co.
Cao Tri Dung, director of Vitours, said five travel agencies will serve the Chinese tourists. It is expected that the flights, each with a capacity of 120-150 passengers, will continue until the end of this year.
However, the travel agencies have not confirmed when the service will begin.
Besides the Nanjing-Da Nang route, chartered flights from China's Kunming and Chengdu cities will also be back in service in May after a short break.
Phu Quoc museum offers peek into island's past
A museum on Phu Quoc gives an overview to visitors who do not have enough time to travel across the island.
One can buy a ticket for VND20,000 to enter Coi Nguon Museum housed in a five-storey building on Tran Hung Dao Street.
It has 2,645 antiques made of stone, ceramic, bronze, and wood dating back up to the 15th century, besides 540 other artefacts and around 100 traditional paintings.
Local travel firms eye Myanmar for future profits
Travel firms have started to eye Myanmar with many co-operation agreements signed with Myanmar partners last week.
Nguyen Thi Khanh, deputy chairwoman of the HCM City Tourism Association, said her association had signed an agreement with Myanmar's tourism association on exchanging tourists.
Fiditour signed an agreement to exchange tourists with leading travel firm Myanmar Tourism Service Company.
HCM City-based tour operators also want to attract tourists from third countries to promote the "Four Countries – One Destination" theme – the countries being Viet Nam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News