Vietnam officials go gooey for Ha Long Bay

By Bich Ngoc, Thanh Nien News

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Ten government officials in Quang Ninh Province recently appeared in an unprecedented video, smiling and flashing heart-shaped hand gestures to promote tourism to Ha Long Bay. 
The middle-aged officials abandoned their stoic countenance in the clip entitled “Smiles of Ha Long” produced by the provincial tourism department. 
Do Thi Hoang, deputy head of the provincial Party unit, opened the video with a smile and a message, followed by chairman of the People’s Council, deputy chairpersons of the People’s Committee and leaders of the tourism department. 
Ha Quang Long, director of the tourism department, said he had not known how to form a heart with his hands until he was invited to feature in the clip. 
“I had to practice around 10 times before I got it down,” he said. 
Vu Thi Thu Thuy, deputy chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee, said she and other officials got up early and came to Bai Tho Bridge for the video shoot. Although she has only 30 seconds to act, she said her performance received positive reviews from her family, relatives and friends. 
They said she acted in such a “young” way, which dovetailed nicely with the province's message.
“When the director told me to “smile up,” I realized how rarely I smile since I’m always busy and stressed with work,” she said. 
“I suddenly thought: why do I have to be so serious when I can smile? Ever since the clip, I've smiled a lot more often.” 
Nguyen Van Doc, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the “Smiles of Ha Long” clip was the first component of a campaign to promote Ha Long Bay as a national tourism brand. 
The campaign was officially launched on November 1 during a ceremony to celebrate 20 years since the Ha Long Bay was recognized as a world heritage site.

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