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ATF 2019 delegates to gather in Ha Long Bay

Some 1,500 delegates will gather in Viet Nam’s world natural heritage site of Ha Long Bay during the upcoming ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) during January 14-18, 2019. Under the theme “The Power of One” ATF 2019 will be in the 38th consecutive year since 1981 that the ten ASEAN tourism ministers will meet together from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Also attending are representatives from China, Japan, South Korea, India and last not least Russia.

As tourism is a common driving force across the member states in order to contribute to the region’s socio-economic development, a co-operative regional effort is necessary to promote ASEAN or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as one single tourist destination. Thus, each year, the hosting of ATF is rotated among the ten member states and in 2019 it is the turn of Viet Nam to be the graceful host to boost arrivals into ASEAN member states, to promote intra-ASEAN travel and to strengthen the bonds among ASEAN tourism industry’s various sectors through an exchange of ideas and a joint formulation of recommendations.

Especially through the 3-days Travel Exhibition (TRAVEX) during January 16-18, the selling and buying of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN will be facilitated, an ASEAN Tourism Conference held, networking and pre- and post-event activities organized. Together, ASEAN’s steady co-operation and one tourism vision, embodies the Power of One.

With its population of more than 92 million inhabitants and 54 different ethnic groups, Viet Nam is an apt model to mirror a diverse natural environment, history and culture that attract tourists throughout the year. Viet Nam consists of 58 provinces and 5 cites such as Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho. It also has 24 world heritage sites such as Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the Imperial Town of Hue, Hoi An Ancient Port and the Champa My Son Sanctuary among others. Not to be missed are the encounters with Viet Nam’s warm and hospitable people that gives the country a timeless charm.

Some 100 hosted media will report about the beauty of the country and attend the 10 ASEAN NTO media briefings, which will all be held at the Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center (QNEPEC), Tran Quoc Ngienh Street, Hong Hai Ward, in Ha Long City. With its 21,000 square meters of floor space, there are two interconnected buildings: the first one resembling a species of pearl-making shelled mollusk found in local waters and the second one is dolphin shaped. The sophisticated QNEPEC is also surrounded by public spaces including the October 30 Square, a museum, a library, a children’s playground and a park forming a coherent network between the sites.

Participants can choose from a wide selection of official hotels such as the Ha Long Dream Hotel, Heritage Ha Long Hotel, Muong Thanh Luxury Quang Ninh Hotel, Novotel Ha Long Bay, and Saigon Ha Long Hotel among others. Finally, there are pre- and post tour cruises in Ha Long Bay to marvel at a myriad of attractive cave systems and grottos among the 1,969 islands of Ha Long Bay.

Written by : Reinhard Hohler

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