Ha Van Sieu, deputy head of the Vietnam National Tourism Administration (VNTA), said the regional sport event offers a golden opportunity for Vietnam to promote its tourism.
The Games is taking place in Hanoi and 11 neighboring cities and provinces, from May 12-23 with the participation of nearly 5,000 athletes from 11 countries in the region. This is the second time Vietnam has hosted SEA Games, the first in 2003.
Two years after the 2003 SEA Games, the number of international tourists to Vietnam rose sharply, from 10-20 percent annually, Sieu said.
Prior to the ongoing SEA Games 31, scheduled to last until May 23, Vietnam started to fully reopen its borders on March 15, with a host of incentives towards both domestic and international visitors.
On the occasion of the Games, the VNTA has launched a special website at https://seagames31.vietnamtourism.gov.vn/ that gives an overview on Vietnam's tourism as well as necessary information regarding visa, exit-entry and medical procedures to foreign visitors.
The website also spotlights tourism in Hanoi and the 11 localities that host the Games – Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Nam Dinh, Ha Nam, Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, Hai Duong, Vinh Phuc, Bac Giang, and Phu Tho.
Notably, "Let's shine and live fully," a welcome video clip for SEA Games 31, is also available on the website, featuring Vietnam's most famous destinations like Phu Quoc island in the southern province of Kien Giang, Nha Trang resort city in the central province of Khanh Hoa, UNESCO-recognized Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh province, and Son Doong – the world’s largest cave – in the central province of Quang Binh, among others.
The administration has also utilised social networks like Facebook, Zalo, YouTube, and Instagram in the communication work.
The host cities and provinces have stepped up tourism promotion with suitable measures.
Nam Dinh province that is hosting games in Group B of the men's football has launched a cuisine space introducing special dishes from different localities prepared by prestigious artisans.
At the Viet Tri Stadium in Phu Tho province, where Group A matches of men's football are taking place, there are booths showcasing local products that meet One Commune-One Product (OCOP) standards and providing information on local tourism.
Hanoi capital city – the main venue of the SEA Games 31 – expects to welcome 1 million domestic visitors and 200,000 foreigners on this occasion.
The municipal Department of Tourism has focused on promoting such sites as the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature Complex), the Hoa Lo Prison, the Bat Trang ancient pottery village, the Ba Vi National Park, and the Duong Lam ancient village, among others.
Fourteen four- and five-star hotels in the city are offering services to foreign sport delegations, audiences and journalists.
SEA Games 31, themed "For a Stronger South East Asia," features 40 sports with 523 events, it is expected to attract around 10,000 participants. The biennial event was initially slated for late 2021 but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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