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Danang industry eyes the potential of Hong Kong market in 2018, and aim to boost further actions for a sustainable development besides its recent strong markets of China and Korea.

Statistics by the Tourism Department showed that, for the first 6 months of 2018, 7,193 Hong Kong visitors arrived to Danang and witnessed a jump from 11,046 visitors in 2016 to 14,903 visitors in 2017. It is reported to increase 35% last year.

Mr. Johnny Li, Managing Director Gateway Group Limited in Hong Kong opined: "Danang has recently emerged as an attractive destination for foreign visitors. The recent Danang tourism presentation has helped Hong Kong travel agencies gain an in-depth look into luxurious accommodation services as well as the developing MICE market in Danang."

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Located along sections of Mai Hac De and Ly Nam De streets in Da Nang's Son Tra District, the Son Tra Night Market was officially opened to the public on Sunday evening. It daily operates from 6.00pm until midnight, and admission is free for all visitors.

The new night market features a total of 152 stalls selling food and drinks, souvenirs, fashionable clothes, bags, footwear, specialties, dried seafood, books, pictures and other commodities.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chairwoman of the Son Tra District People's Committee, Mrs Tran Thi Thanh Tam, remarked that the purpose of the Son Tra Night Market was to to create a combined tourist and shopping space in the inner city, allowing visitors to comfortably shop, enjoy entertainment services and explore local cultural characteristics. This would help the city deal with the current lack of its own special tourism products.

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Tourism industry seeking visa fee waivers for all visitors to Vietnam

The Vietnam Tourism Association is asking the government to offer visa fee waivers to all tourists between July and December this year in an attempt to avert a drastic decline in foreign arrivals.

Vu The Binh, vice chairman of the association, said at a conference in Hanoi, that the fee exemption will be an "urgent solution" to deal with consecutive drops in tourist numbers over the last 11 months.

"It will be a breakthrough to help travel firms stimulate demand from tourists," Binh said, as cited by Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon Online.

He said tourists will be able to save US$45 of the visa fee, but it is also a gesture of goodwill.

Some industry insiders even said the government should learn from Singapore and start letting all foreign tourists enter the country freely without visa requirements.

Figures from the General Statistics Office showed that foreign arrivals in April increased 11.7 percent from March to 690,440, but down 7.4 percent year-on-year.

The combined number of the first four months was nearly 2.7 million, down 12.2 percent from the same period last year.

Binh conceded that Vietnam's tourism products are boring and not worth the prices, which are relatively higher than similar services in nearby countries.

He asked the government to also offer tax breaks to tourism firms and hotels in the second half of the year so that they can in turn offer discounts and launch promotional programs to bring tourists back.

He said similar programs in 2009 had helped the industry survive a crisis, with foreign arrivals rebounding and then surging 36 percent the following year.

Vietnam's visa waiver policy is currently effective for tourists from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Russia and South Korea.

Binh said the government should consider extending it for another four large tourism markets of Vietnam, namely the UK, France, Germany and Australia.

Under a regional agreement, Vietnam also offers a 30-day visa waiver for tourists from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, except for those from Brunei who receive a 14-day waiver.

Source: thanhniennews.com

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