Officials, tour guides to be taught Russian in central Vietnam

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Authorities in the central province of Khanh Hoa -- a new hotspot for Russian tourists -- plan to spend more than VND6.3 billion (US$296,656) training local tourism officials and tour guides in the Russian language.

A report on Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon (Saigon Times) Monday said the move aimed to facilitate an increasing number of Russian tourists in Vietnam.

The number of Russians traveling here is expected to increase 20-25 percent annually over the next few years.

The program, set to start in the second quarter of this year, aims to have 40 percent of local tourism officials, 50 percent of employees at local hotels, and 40 percent of tour guides speaking basic Russian by 2015.

According to Khanh Hoa Tourism Promotion Center, 40,000 Russian tourists visited the province in 2011.

The figure reached 83,000 last year, accounting for over 15 percent of more than 530,000 international arrivals recorded in Khanh Hoa.

At the moment, the province welcomes 3-5 flights from Russia every day.

More Russian tourists are expected to fly to Khanh Hoa when the national carrier Vietnam Airlines opens non-stop service connecting Moscow and Cam Ranh this April 5.

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