The northern province of Quang Ninh held a ceremony on January 22, the first day of the Year of the Cat, to welcome the lunar new year's first group of foreign tourists to Ha Long Bay – a world natural heritage site recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The group comprised 150 visitors from different countries arriving on the cruise ship Silver Spirit, which departed from Hong Kong (China).
Quang Ninh is the first docking point of the ship on the first voyage of the Year of the Cat. After leaving Quang Ninh, the Silver Spirit's next destination is Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.
The same day, the central coastal city of Da Nang also welcomed the first international flight of the new lunar year, which was the VZ964 of Thai Vietjet Air carrying 100 passengers from Thailand.
Upon their arrival, the guests were treated to a lively welcome ceremony with art performance and presented with vouchers for local destinations, restaurants and specialties.
During the Lunar New Year holiday 2023 which lasts from January 20-26, Da Nang is slated to receive 768 international and domestic flights with more than 98,000 passengers.
A variety of activities will be organised for local residents and tourists on the occasion including Tet fairs, a street carnival, and performances of Bai choi singing (a folk music genre practised in Vietnam’s central region, which has been added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity).
Also on January 22, a train carrying 300 tourists, including 50 foreigners, arrived in the central province of Binh Thuan. The first visitors to the province in the Year of the Cat were welcomed at the Phan Thiet Station with Tet wishes and lucky money in accordance with traditional Tet customs.
The province, which hosts the 2023 national tourism year, has set a target of attracting 6.5 million visitors, including 200,000 international travelers, this year. Total revenue from tourism activities is expected to hit VND15.9 trillion (US$678 million).