Festival focuses on tourist spots

This year's HCM City Tourism Day 2011 will highlight special aspects of five popular destinations – HCMCity, Da Lat, Binh Thuan, Phu Quoc and Hai Phong, organisers of the annual event said on March 22.

La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said at a press briefing that a photographic exhibition will present markets in HCMCity, flowers in Da Lat, beaches in Mui Ne, Phu Quoc island, and the red flamboyance of poinciana flowers in Hai Phong.
Last year, the central province of Quang Binh had become the first destination to be promoted under the department's plan to highlight a different destination or destinations every year.
"The HCM City Tourism Day is an important festival that can stimulate tourism demand at a difficult time," Khanh said.
"It can be seen as a supermarket where travel companies promote and sell their products, and customers can freely choose what they like."
However, this "supermarket" remains a relatively new concept in Vietnam and both travel companies as well as customers are yet to use such events as a major resource, he said.
Hence, most travel companies who participate in the event focus on promoting their brand name instead of selling their product directly.
However, 92 percent of travel firms that joined the event last year have registered to so again, proving its success, Khanh said.
In the context of inflation and an increase in prices of most goods and services, the festival will enjoin participants to stand by the Government's efforts to keep prices stable as much as possible, Khanh said.
The city Tourism Association has petitioned the Ministry of Finance to cut value-added tax by 50 percent, corporate income tax by 50 percent and allow travel companies to pay taxes two months late, an association representative said at the briefing.
The four-day event is being organised at the city's September 23 Park in downtown HCMCity from April 7.
The event will feature a travel fair, a Southern food festival, Golden Voice of HCM City Tourism contest, “tai tu” traditional music performances as well as the photo exhibition.
Though the organisers expected to attract 80 companies to fill 150 booths, an additional four booths have been booked this year.
"The event aims to help travel companies publicise their brands and promote their services for the coming summer season," Khanh said.
A dominant theme of HCM City Tourism Day 2011 is "Tourism Brand" and those brands that have made a mark in domestic and overseas markets will be honoured at the festival.
It will name the top ten names in many categories including: destinations, inbound travel companies, outbound travel companies, domestic travel companies, tourism websites, luxury hotels, shopping stores, hotels for businesspeople, hotels for MICE (Meeting-Incentive-Conference-Event), tour companies and restaurants.
A grand closing ceremony honoring top Vietnamese tourism brands will be broadcast live on the HTV9 channel./.

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