Vietnam to seek multiple celebrity tourism ambassadors: deputy minister

Thanh Nien News

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American  television presenter and chef Bobby Chinn is said to be a candidate for the position of the tourism ambassador of Vietnam. Photo: TTVH
The latest draft tourism ambassador regulations discussed during a conference in Hanoi on Thursday placed no limits on the number of persons who could hold the job, after the position sat empty for a year.
In April 2013, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced that they failed to appoint a tourism ambassador, blaming an excess of applicants who made the process too "complicated." 
They then extended the selection until October of 2013, in order to secure an ambassador for a 2014-2016 term.

However, no one has been selected for the job since.

The ministry announced regulations on Thursday that sought to make the selection process “less complicated” by allowing numerous tourism ambassadors to be selected, instead of just one.

Funds for the ambassadors will come from a fund that would include business sponsors, deputy minister Ho Anh Tuan said.

There will be two types of ambassadors: global tourism ambassadors, and representatives from specific target countries. 

Moreover, there will be not only candidates applying for the post but nominations as well. The ministry said that the new regulation will help offer several famous individuals to serve as tourism ambassadors, since “they are too proud to apply for the position themselves”.

“We need to recruit talent, so we will knock on some prestigious doors and extend our heartfelt invitations,” said Tuan.

However, it is doubted that invited candidates will be easily appointed regardless of a popular desire to do so.

Apart from Miss Tourism Vietnam 2012 Huynh Thi Ngoc Han, teacher Do Thi Hong Thuan, actress Lan Phuong, Miss ASEAN 2012 Dieu Han who have applied for the position since 2013, the ministry said that the renowned television presenter and chef Bobby Chinn is preparing to apply for the position.

“Bobby Chinn is well known worldwide and he has lived in Vietnam for a long time. If his application is submitted in time, he will be a strong candidate for the position”, said Nguyen Ngoc Tinh, director of the ministry's international cooperation department.

One of the new regulations announced Thursday is that the ministry will have the right to dismiss an incumbent if he or she fails to meet the position's standards or violates the regulations.

Tinh also said that he received a lot of comments urging him to re-appoint the country's first Tourism Ambassador, popular actress Ly Nha Ky; but he refused to comment about the ability of the ex-ambassador to return to the position.

The actress and businesswoman became Vietnan's first tourism in 2011. In March 2013, she withdrew her bid for a second term, citing health concerns and libelous remarks that damaged her reputation.

After Ky was chosen, she was strongly criticized for having exposed her breasts in a play broadcast live during a commemoration of legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap, and for exaggerating her "quite important role" in the Hollywood movie "Shanghai"--she only appeared in the film for a few seconds.

Nevertheless, Ky was highly lauded for the work she did as tourism ambassador.

During her time in the position, she succeeded in promoting the world-renowned Ha Long Bay to be named one of the seven new natural wonders of the world by the Switzerland-based New7Wonders Foundation in November of last year.

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