Tourists visit Bai Tu Long bay in Quang Ninh province (Photo: VNA)

Of the total, 65,000 visited Ha Long Bay, which was recognised as a world natural heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 and 2000. On May 24th alone, the number of visitors to the bay topped 55,000.

The complex of Yen Tu monuments and landscapes and the Quang Ninh Museum welcomed close to 7,800 and 23,000 visitors, respectively.

Co To Island, another local attraction, hosted 4,000 holidaymakers last weekend, with the occupancy rate at one- to three-star hotels reaching 70 percent.

Quang Ninh is endowed with natural advantages in sea and island tourism. It has a coastline of more than 250 km and over 2,000 islands and islets, which account for two-thirds of Vietnam’s total.

The province welcomed just 1.54 million holidaymakers in the first four months of 2020, a year-on-year decline of 77 percent, due to COVID-19.

In early May, when the pandemic was brought under control, Quang Ninh launched a campaign to stimulate the local tourism sector, with the provincial People’s Council approving a tourism promotion program for 2020 worth about VND200 billion (USD8.6 million).

Starting from May 15th, tickets to Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Museum, and the complex of Yen Tu monuments and landscapes are exempted for all visitors, both Vietnamese and foreigners, in May, June, and July and upcoming holidays. Passengers passing through Van Don International Airport will receive free round-trip bus transfers to Ha Long city and Uong Bi city until the end of the year.

In response to the campaign, major businesses such as Vingroup and Sungroup have launched various summer discount programs.

From May 16th, local real estate giant Vingroup has been offering seven preferential packages for vacationers, including free return air tickets and free entry to the Vinwonders and Vinpearl safari parks for those who book rooms for two nights or more at Vinpearl Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, or Da Nang - Hoi An.

Meanwhile, Sungroup, one of the largest real estate developers in Vietnam, is providing a free program worth VND290,000 per passenger when they visit Ha Long Bay through Ha Long International Cruise Port.

Local tourism and services companies have teamed up in alliances by launching discount packages of between 30 and 50 percent./.