Vietnam’s Quang Ninh welcomed a group of 650 tourists from Malaysia on Tuesday thanks to the northern province’s efforts to promote tourism in the international market, including organizing the 17th General Assembly of the East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (EATOF) last month.
The tourists came from the Malaysian province of Sarawak, one of the 12 province members of EATOF, which is the only international tourism association in East Asia, led by local governments.
They will spend four days in Vietnam, including two days in Quang Ninh’s famed Ha Long City, which is home to the UNESCO-recognized Ha Long Bay.
It is expected that around 1,000 tourists from Malaysia will visit the Vietnamese province in the coming weeks.
Authorities in Quang Ninh organized the 17th General Assembly of EATOF and the 20th anniversary of the association from October 25 to 27, when discussion sessions and meetings offered delegates chances to promote tourism development between the member provinces.
The northern Vietnamese province increased its target of welcoming 10 million tourists to 11.5 million for this year after receiving about 9.5 million visitors in the first ten months, 3.55 times higher than the same period last year.
It plans to realize this goal by shifting focus on only the international market to both domestic and foreign visitors, according to Pham Ngoc Thuy, director of the Department of Tourism of Quang Ninh.
Thuy said that promotion activities for the international market will include the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, tourism events in South Korea, India, and Japan, and the planned opening of direct flight routes from those three countries to Quang Ninh’s Van Don International Airport.
EATOF was established in 1999 in South Korea with the membership of different provinces of East Asian countries.
The twelve EATOF members include Cebu in the Philippines, Chiang Mai in Thailand, Gangwon in South Korea, Jilin in China, Luang Prabang in Laos, Primorsky in Russia, Quang Ninh in Vietnam, Sarawak in Malaysia, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Tottori in Japan, Tuv in Mongolia, and Yogyakarta in Indonesia.
Quang Ninh was an observer in 2004 and officially joined it in 2006.