Vietnam will include tours to the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagoes in a
sea tourism development project to be conducted from now until 2020,
officials said at a conference Thursday.
Nguyen Van Tuan, who heads the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), told the conference in Hanoi that these tours werer a way for the people of Vietnam to show their love for the country.
The tours will be organized in close cooperation with national defense forces to guarantee the safety of tourists, he said.
Since the tours to Truong Sa will be long and costly they will mainly target people with high income who desire to discover the famous archipelago, he said.
According to the project document prepared by VNAT, Vietnam aims to establish five other areas of sea tourism: Ha Long Cat Ba, Lang Co Son Tra Hoi An, Nha Trang Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet Mui Ne, and the Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang.
Promising sea tourism areas like Van Don Co To in the northern province of Quang Ninh will also receive more investment.
Developing sea and island tourism is a top priority and should be achieved "in line with the target of guaranteeing national defense and placed in the context of general economic and social development," Tuan said.
Pham Trung Luong, deputy chief of the Institute for Tourism Development Research, which organized the conference, said coastal areas in the south-central region, from Da Nang City to Binh Thuan province, were the ones with most promising prospects.
These areas would see the highest tourism growth in the future, given that Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Mui Ne have become famous destinations for both foreign and local tourists, he said.
The project documents estimate that Vietnam will welcome 10.3 million international foreign tourists and 47.5 million local tourists between 2010 and 2030.
They project a tourism sector turnover of US$19 billion by 2020.