's first-ever national fruit festival, which wrapped up in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang on Saturday, welcomed more than 800,000 visitors.
Aiming to boost the image of the fruit industry among both local and foreign consumers, the six-day event displayed a wide range of specialties from 28 provinces and cities across Vietnam, including Hoa Loc mangoes, Lo Ren star-apples, Chin Hoa durians and Hung Yen longans.
Tran The Ngoc, chairman of Tien Giang Province's People's Committee and head of the event's organization board, said the biggest surprise from the festival was the sales volume, which was much higher than estimated.
Visitors shopped for more than 1,000 tons of fruits, he said, adding some fruits like mango, star-apple, and strawberry were sold out after the first two days of the festival.
He said the festival's organizing board had expected only 100,000 people to come to the event.
"The festival's success shows ability and potential of Vietnam's fruits," Ngoc said at the closing ceremony.
John Hey, editor-in-chief of Asia Fruit magazine, said at the festival that Vietnam should target more exports to the 16 western European nations which import 73 million tons of vegetables and fruits every year, and are increasingly importing tropical fruits.
But since those countries and other developed nations are getting used to consuming packaged fruit, Vietnam should modernize its fruit processing industry, he said.
The Vietnamese fruit farming sector needs to standardize its harvest and post-harvest stages to meet international standards and step up advertising and marketing in foreign markets, Hey said.
Harvest and post-harvest technologies focus on the sterilization and preservation of fruits.
At the closing ceremony, the organizing board awarded 88 golden cups to businesses, scientists, schools, and institutes who have contributed to researching and planting processes to deliver high-quality Vietnamese fruit to both local and global markets.
The board also honored 61 creative farmers across the country.
Four national records were set at the festival, including the longest dragon graffiti, the largest map of Vietnam made of fruit, the biggest dragon gate made of fruit, and a biggest set of fruit paintings of four supernatural creatures (dragon, tortoise, phoenix and unicorn).
Tien Giang, the nation's largest fruit growing area, is a pioneer in zoning land for orchards following Viet GAP and Global GAP standards. The province has 68,000 hectares of orchards and 25,000 fruit farmers.
Vietnam is the fourth largest fruit exporter among ASEAN member-countries behind Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
This year, the country's total fruit area is expected to reach about 910,000 hectares, with an output of 10 million tons, of which 430,000 tons will be exported. Total export turnover is projected at US$295 million. Last year, fruit export revenues reached $230 million.