HA NOI - Viet Nam launched on Thursday a tourism promotion programme in Singapore, introducing a tour of the spectacular Son Doong Cave to tourists from Southeast Asian nations attending the 28 SEA Games. Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Hoang Tuan Anh, also held talks with Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry, Lim Hng Kiang, on measures to spur bilateral tourism co-operation.
The Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and several travel agencies used the opportunity to promote the nation's tourism sites and explore co-operation opportunities.
Anh said that the country would co-operate more actively with Singaporean travel agents to encourage more Vietnamese citizens to Singapore, and create favourable conditions for attracting more Singaporean tourists to Viet Nam.
"Viet Nam is an attractive destination with rich in natural resources. It has a diverse culture with original festivals and beautiful traditions of 54 ethnic groups," he said.
Singapore is expected to welcome tens of thousands of visitors from ASEAN and other countries during the 28th SEA Games, which runs until June 16. This offers VNAT the chance to promote tourism to Viet Nam from Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries.
In 2014, Viet Nam welcomed 202,500 Singapore visitors, marking an increase of 3. 4 per cent over 2013.
The Culture Minister promoted Son Doong, the world's biggest cave located in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province.
He said the cave's images had strongly impressed Singaporeans and nationals of other ASEAN members.
Howard Limbert of the British Cave Research Association, head of the Son Doong Cave adventure team, talked about the tourism potential in central Quang Binh province.
He also announced a plan to screen a film on the cave on Singapore's TV5 channel.
New cave tour
First discovered in 2009, Son Doong is the worlds' biggest cave, more than 200m high, 150m wide and 5km long. It has its own river, jungle and climate.
More than 600 tourists including 70 Vietnamese have had the opportunity to enter the cave since Quang Binh province launched an adventure tour to the cave in September 2014.
The tour lasts 5 days and 4 nights and costs US$3,000 (S$4,073) for one person. Only 10 people can take part in one tour.
"Each person will experience magnificent things that they almost cannot believe it's true when crossing the 8km length of the cave. Tourists can watch and take photos of many animals, trees and many other beautiful spots in the cave. These will be unforgettable souvenirs", said Ho Khanh, a local resident who discovered the cave.
A rush to visit the cave was sparked after popular American television channel ABC News broadcast live images on May 13.
Maria Stefanopoulos, production manager with ABC, said that the cave was "too beautiful" and a dream for those passionate about making new discoveries and enjoying new adventures.