In 2013, the tourism sector of northeastern coastal Quang Ninh province made a lot of new advances in all aspects. The province has made constant renovation in the organisation of tourism events and promotion activities to boost the local tourism.

Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Ha Quang Long, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, on these achievements.

* Could you please say about the notable achievements of the culture, sports and tourism sector of Quang Ninh province in the past time?

The culture, sports and tourism sector of Quang Ninh province has reaped positive results in the past time to create a strong foundation for the future development.

Regarding State management, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has advised the provincial Party Committee, People's Council and People's Committee to issue important documents, policies and mechanisms and organised many important events.

Typically, the department has consulted the provincial People's Committee to issue Plan 4545/KH-UBND dated September 18, 2011 on the implementation of Resolution 08-NQ/TU dated December 1, 2011 of the Politburo on strengthening leadership of the Party and making great strides in culture and sports development until 2020.

It has consulted the provincial People's Committee to promulgate Resolution 07-NQ/TU dated May 24, 2013 of the Executive Board of the provincial Party Committee and the Plan 5828/KH-UBND dated October 28, 2013 of the provincial People's Committee on the implementation of Resolution 07-NQ/TU dated May 24, 2013 of the Executive Board of the provincial Party Committee on tourism development until 2020, with orientations to 2030.

It has proposed the provincial People's Committee to issue specific decisions on nutrition for athletes, sportsmen and coaches; financial expenditure for sports competitions, incentives for athletes, sportsmen and artisans, advised the provincial People's Committee to issue decisions on targets and fundamental solutions to enhance management and promote effective operation of cultural and sporting institutions.

The department has counselled the provincial People's Committee to circulate Directive 11/CT-UBND dated June 22, 2012 on strengthening management of tourism business environment in the province and issued regulations on tourism business environment management.

It have also managed monuments and landscapes; built and promoted grassroots cultural institutions; managed festivals; managed performing arts activities, built standard family lifestyles; developed high-achievement sports activities, and sportsman training.

These activities have attained encouraging achievements. Cultural and spiritual life of the people was raised. The standing of Quang Ninh sports is fairly high in the country. Ha Long is a top destination for many foreign and domestic tourists.

The average tourist arrival growth was 11.8 percent a year in the 2001 - 2010 period and tourism revenue growth was 24.5 percent a year. In the first 10 months of 2013, the province welcomed over 6.5 million visitors, up 10 percent year on year. Tourism revenue totalled 4.2 trillion VND (200 million USD), up 15 percent year-on-year.

* Marine tourism is the strength of Quang Ninh province. What will the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism do in the coming time to preserve and promote this tourism sector?

Quang Ninh province has a 250-km coastline and a vast marine area with many bays, islands, caves, beaches and maritime national parks.

Especially, Quang Ninh province has Ha Long Bay, which has twice been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and named the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Van Don - Co To maritime area with primitive landscapes will be a high-quality marine ecotourism centre in the future.

Mong Cai seawater area is featured with 17-km Tra Co Beach, which used to be called the most lyrical beach in Vietnam and Sa Vi Cape on the national frontier border.

Such natural endowments have crystallised cultural traditions and values carrying deep identities of local ethnic groups. These are really extremely valuable properties and conditions for tourism development.

To protect and promote these potentials, the department has attached great importance to formulating and implementing sectoral planning.

Currently, the department is carrying out a contract with the United States-based BCG Group to establish Quang Ninh tourism development plan until 2020, with a vision to 2030. This plan is now near the final stage and is being prepared to be submitted for approval and announcement. The consultant also advocates developing tourism based on the sea and islands.
Currently, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism is implementing a scheme to build and develop tourism products, surveying and opening new routes to popular attractions, and developing marine tourism products and services.

* How has the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism reformed administrative procedures to promote tourism business activities?

In recent years, public administration reform has been a top task of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

It has applied the single-window or one-stop source mechanism, reviewed and streamlined nearly 40 administrative procedures; made public administrative procedures; applied information technology to management activities; arranged administrative personnel at the service of citizens; trained personnel; and established and publicised hotlines.

Therefore, all administrative procedures are settled quickly and conveniently.