A delegation of Chinese government officials business people and reporters arrived in Viet Nam last Sunday to celebrate the 15th anniversary of relationship and copperation between China and ASEAN and lay the groundwork for opening more rail tours and sea cruises between this country and neighbors.
|Ha Long Bay|
The visitors from the China-ASEAN Friendship Association spent two days seeing the sights of Ha Long Bay and surrounding Quang Ninh province and talking with local tourism officials.
They left Quang Ninh on Monday and visited Ha Noi and Nghe An province before leaving Viet Nam for the second leg of their tour of the ASEAN region.
In related news, the Viet Nam Railway Corporation has signed a memorandum with China Railways on a timetable for the direct rail services between Ha Noi and Beijing in the 2007-2010 period.
At present, there are two passenger trains on Viet Nam’s far northern line. The M1 and M2 run from Ha Noi to Dong Dang in the border province of Lang Son, from where passengers are transferred to a train bound for Beijing.
According to the non-binding agreement, the 24-berth carriages in use at present will be converted into 28-berth cars. Transits in Beijing to a third country will continue as per the MoU signed by China and Viet Nam on December 27, 2001.
Away from solid land, three more regular sea cruises from China to Viet Nam have started up or will start up by end of this year.
The first goes from Beihei in China’s Guangxi province to Viet Nam’s Ha Long Bay. It uses two ships – one able to carry 500 passengers and the other 900 passengers.
The other two are from Shanya in China’s Hainan to Ha Long, which will begin operating on November 5, and another Hainan to Ha Long starting in December.
Quang Ninh Province’s Department of Tourism predicts between 300,000 and 400,000 paying customers will ply the three new sea routes annually in the early years.