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Improved economy heats up tourism atmosphere in Vietnam

I was very excited about our tour on the occasion of the National Day…

I was very excited about our tour on the occasion of the National Day (Sept. 2). Everything there, from the scenery to service, was wonderful. We wished we had enjoyed a longer vacation, Nguyen My Hanh, salesperson of a pharmaceutical company in Vietnamese capital Hanoi, said after returning from the Tuan Chau resort in northern Quang Ninh province.

Many domestic and foreign tourists rushed to the famous resort during the holiday, making hotels and guesthouses there became overloaded, the 34-year-old woman said, noting that at least three of her colleagues could not register rooms due to overbooking.

Like Hanh, many Vietnamese people, who enjoy better living conditions, are now shelling out for luxury vacations both at homeand abroad. Some choose inbound tours to beaches, including Tuan Chau, Ha Long, Sam Son and Phan Thiet, and eco-tourism sites like the Cuc Phuong National Park and the White Horse National Park, while others prefer traveling abroad, mainly to regional countries such as China, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

On holidays, many drive their own cars to resorts with natural beauty in peaceful areas, escaping heat and dust from millions of cars and motorbikes in streets of big cities like Hanoi and Ho ChiMinh City.

We came to a peaceful place to relax after days of hard work in the noisy city. Besides, my son could learn swimming, said computer expert Nguyen Thanh Vinh from Hanoi. The 36-year-old man took his family to the Sam Son beach in central Thanh Hoa province on the occasion.

Overseas destinations also attracted many local people. According to Vietnamese travel agencies, the number of people booking outbound tours on the occasion rose by 5-10 percent over the same period last year. Four-day international tours with prices of 3-9 million Vietnamese dong (VND) (190-570 US dollars) per person attracted most local people.

Our tour was very exciting. We coordinated between sightseeing and shopping. China is famous for beauty spots. It`s also a heaven for shopping,

Trinh Bao Tram, a reporter of the Voice of Vietnam, said after making a 4-day trip to the Chinese cities of Nanning and Beihai with her husband and son.

The vacation cost her some 600 dollars. The price was reasonable for a good break abroad. It was quite worthy for luxurious accommodations and excellent services, she said.

The holiday also saw more well-off local visitors who spent several thousands of dollars on long trips to the United States and some European countries like Britain, the Netherlands, France and Sweden. At the Hanoi Tourism Corporation, the number of people registering for 12-day tours to the US cities of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington and New York on the occasion rose by 10-15 percent over the same period last year.

The trend of traveling during holidays is becoming more and more common in Vietnam whose population enjoys higher living standards with annual income of over 500 dollars per person, compared with only 100 dollars years ago.

Local people have had a better spiritual and practical life since the country adopted the doi moi (renewal) policy initiated by the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1986, which prioritizes economic reforms on the foundation of the social and political stability.

Vietnam`s gross domestic product (GDP) annually grew 8.2 percent in the 1991-1995 period, and 7 percent between 1995 and 2000.

The country is likely to reach GDP of 50 billion US dollars or GDP per capita of 600 US dollars this year, Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai said recently, noting that it has targeted its GDP per capita of 950 to 1,000 dollars in 2010, more than doubling the figure in 2000. The Vietnamese government has eyed GDP growth of 8.5 percent in 2005, compared with 7.69 percent in 2004.

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