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Vietnam destination of choice for ‘phototourists’

Sunday, August 07, 2016, 16:39 GMT+7

Vietnam has emerged as a favorite destination for foreign photographers seeking exotic inspiration, creating an industry on the rise.

At 5:00 am on Nha Mat Beach in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu one recent day, the sun cast crimson rays onto an ocean decorated with wind turbines.

A group of around 20 photographers were already at the beach to capture a shot of fishermen retrieving their nets at sunrise, and so the sound of shutters gently perforated the tranquil scene.

These were photographers from Turkish photography club Sille Sanat Sarayi who had traveled to Vietnam on a phototourism adventure led by Vietnamese photographer Nguyen Vu Phuoc and one tour guide.

Bac Lieu Province was one stop among many during the group’s two week trip to the Southeast Asian country, exploring exotic locations for their photos, a type of tourism on the rise in Vietnam.

Reha Bilir, president of the Sille Sanat Sarayi Club, said they had organized phototours to a number of countries including Morocco, Syria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain, China, and Indonesia, but not much had been known about Vietnam prior to this trip.

“The food, the culture, and the friendly smiles of Vietnamese people all made us feel happy,” Bilir said. “You can find beautiful scenes for a photo shoot anywhere in Vietnam.”

Burak Senbak, a published Turkish photographer, expressed his surprise at the friendliness and hospitality of the Vietnamese people, saying how the locals he met on his trip would smile and pose for photos instead of shooing the ‘paparazzi’ away.

“It makes me want to come back to Vietnam in the near future,” Senbak said.

Ảnh Việt Nam tuyệt vời qua ống kính nhiếp ảnh gia thế giới

Turkish photographers Burak Senbak (L) and Reha Bilir (R) during a phototour in Can Tho City, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

It was because of the friendliness of the local people that photographers had taken up the habit of entering any random house to ask the owners to be models for their photo shoot without fear of being rejected.

Phototours are not a new concept in Vietnam as domestic tours have long been organized for Vietnamese photographers, but it was only recently that the country gained popularity among foreign photographers who seek new muses for their works of art.

Most phototourists have a lot of money to spend, as they are either professional photographers who make a living by taking photos, or retirees who have saved up enough money to fulfill their passion for photography.

Since the ‘selling points’ of phototours are photos, Ngo Duc Can said, organizers must be experts in the field themselves who can hire models, arrange shoots, and come up with ideas for the tourists.

“Some [phototourists] are professionals, but some are amateurs,” Can said. “They really appreciate it if we can show them how to take good photos.”

Specializing in guiding phototours for Japanese visitors, Can said his customers often make contact with their local tour operator, who in turn hires him to be their tour guide through a Vietnamese agency.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Vu Phuoc said his European customers were more flexible, as they could make arrangements with him directly instead of through a mediator.

As for Bilir, the president of the Sille Sanat Sarayi Club, he said he would share the photos taken with his club members from around the world and serve as an ambassador for Vietnamese tourism.

Ảnh Việt Nam tuyệt vời qua ống kính nhiếp ảnh gia thế giới

A photo taken in Vietnam posted on the official site of Sille Sanat Sarayi Club

Ảnh Việt Nam tuyệt vời qua ống kính nhiếp ảnh gia thế giới

A photo taken in Vietnam posted on the official site of Sille Sanat Sarayi Club

Ảnh Việt Nam tuyệt vời qua ống kính nhiếp ảnh gia thế giới

A photo taken in Vietnam posted on the official site of Sille Sanat Sarayi Club

Ảnh Việt Nam tuyệt vời qua ống kính nhiếp ảnh gia thế giới

A photo shoot by the Turkish group of phototourists in Bac Lieu Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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