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A Vietnamese man with huge love for Russia



Duong Chi Kien, chairman of Golden Age Group, received the “Golden Lion” award from the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg

for his significant contributions to developing the Russian city’s external relations with foreign and regional partners.

Chairman of Golden Age Group Duong Chi Kien

Chairman of Golden Age Group Duong Chi Kien

Having been living and working in St. Petersburg for more than 30 years, Kien originally fell in love with Russia after finding numerous business opportunities there.

Currently, Golden Age Group is operating across a number of sectors, including restaurants, hotels, tourism, and transport, with 200 employees working for the group, half of whom are Vietnamese.

Kien moved to Russia in 1988 to study at university and then worked for a large Vietnamese corporation after graduation. When the corporation moved to Vietnam, Kien set up his own business and went on to become the owner of a number of companies.

Most notably, he first began investing in the hotel sector in 2014. During that time, the United States and other western nations imposed sanctions against Russia following its annexation of Crimea. Simultaneously, the depreciation of the Russian ruble led to a decline in the real estate market in St. Petersburg. Capitalising on the chance, Kien decided to purchase old properties and invest in the hotel sector.

This came at a period when, due to the local currency depreciation, travel to Russia was becoming more affordable for foreign tourists. As such, his company received a huge number of Vietnamese travelers keen to visit the vast nation. An annual growth rate of between 200% and 300% enabled him to open three more hotels to serve foreign tourists.

Kien has set up a popular PHO'n'Roll restaurant brand in Russia 
Kien has set up a popular PHO’n’Roll restaurant brand in Russia 

“We have five cars, outskirt houses, hotels, restaurants, and a group of 15 tour guides who have huge love for Russia and consider the country as their second motherland,” Kien confides.

Over the past four years, Golden Age Group has developed a professional management system, consisting of three hotels, including Moika 5, Golden Age, and Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky, three Pho’n’Roll restaurants, and numerous tourism consulting services.

Working as an employee of the Pho’n’Roll restaurant chain in St. Petersburg, Nguyen Quoc Nguyen says the dishes have been modified to cater to the diverse tastes of Russian people, although they still keep the traditional Vietnamese flavour.

Foreign customers enjoy Vietnamese traditional food in Kien's restaurant 
Foreign customers enjoy Vietnamese traditional food in Kien’s restaurant 

Nguyen adds that the working environment at the restaurant is very comfortable as the company always creates the ideal conditions in which staff can develop their skills whilst earning a decent salary.

Kien also hails the authorities of St. Petersburg for actively supporting businesses.

“The St. Petersburg government considers small businesses and the Vietnamese community an integral part of their operations. They let us realise that we are friends and Vietnam is a bridge connecting Russia to ASEAN”, notes Kien.

According to Kien, the company pays up to 30 million rubles in taxes, whilst he has also ran a number of trips to Vietnam for Russian veterans who had worked in the country. In addition, Golden Age Group has also contributed to promoting co-operation between various Vietnamese localities and St Petersburg.

Moreover, early 2020 saw his garment factory also provide personal protective equipment and transfer them to a hospital in support of nearly 600 doctors and medical staff in an effort to cope with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

To develop a co-operative relationship between St. Petersburg and Vietnamese cities, Golden Age Group has contributed to forming new co-operation projects in the areas of economics, culture, and tourism between both nations.

For Kien, Russia, especially St. Petersburg, will always represent a place where he finds potential business opportunities, trust, and love.




Tourism workers discuss promoting domestic market



Ninh Bình hosts many spectacular landscapes. The province this year has been chosen as the main destination for the National Tourism Year 2021 in the second consecutive year. Photo

NINH BÌNH Thousands of representatives from tourism management agencies and enterprises gathered in the northern province of Ninh Bình on Thursday and Friday to discuss ways to promote domestic tourism.

At the national domestic tourism forum with the theme ‘Domestic Tourism – Power Force for Recovering Việt Nam’s Tourism in New Normal Situation’, the participants heard various speeches.

Vũ Thế Bình, Vice Permanent Chairman of the Việt Nam Tourism Association, said promoting domestic tourism is the lifebuoy for the whole sector.

“However, domestic tourism has never been considered a main power force of the sector; as a result, it has not been properly cared for,” he said. “Tourism enterprises have not defined clearly the demands, interests and favourite products and services that Vietnamese people like, which is a weak point of the sector.”

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Văn Hùng said domestic tourism plays a key role in tourism at present.

“It is high time for the whole sector to review the way, find new approaches, change the methods as well as thinking among tourism workers to revive the tourism market,” he said.

The Vietnamese tourism sector should focus on the market of nearly 100 million Vietnamese people, who like to go on holidays as the pandemic is under control, he said.

The minister suggested tourism companies introduce more products suitable for domestic customers.

Phùng Quang Thắng, chairman of the Hà Nội Travel Agents Association and director of Hanoitourist, said the trend of relaxing tourism, sport tourism and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism is among the most popular ways of travelling.

Tourists tend to go in small groups, book online and use their own means of transportation, he said.

Nguyễn Quang Trung, head of Vietnam Airlines’ Department of Planning and Development, said customers now pay the most attention to pandemic prevention. They tend to book flights closer to the departure day, he said.

Representatives shared lots of solutions to enhance the efficiency of tourism promotion activities.

Lại Minh Duy, vice chairman of HCM City Tourism Association and general director of TST Tourism Company, said localities and travel agents should focus on exploiting the strength of golf tourism, MICE tourism, driving tours and upgrade their services so customers can book services online instead of buying tours directly as before.

Cao Trí Dũng, chairman of the Đà Nẵng Tourism Association, said localities with sea tourism should work together to offer diverse products.

Many participants proposed connecting localities and products.

Deputy director of Vietravel company Nguyễn Lê Hương suggested localities offer special products connecting regions, with the countryside a strong point to exploit. 

Bình suggested further exploiting local cuisine. 

Minister Hùng said localities and companies should promote co-ordination to offer more fresh products and develop sustainable tourism.

The event hosted various signing ceremonies between Ninh Bình Province’s authorities, the Ninh Bình Tourism Department, Ninh Bình Tourism Association and Xuân Trường Construction Enterprise and various agencies and localities including Vietnam Airlines, the Việt Nam Tourism Association, the HCM City Tourism Association, authorities of Đà Nẵng City and Cần Thơ City and the Việt Nam MICE Tourism Club.

The forum is the opening activity of the annual Vietnam Travel Mart (VITM) 2021, which will take place in Hà Nội on May 5-8. 


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Vietnam voices concerns over escalating violence in Yemen



Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese Mission to the UN, joined speakers in voicing concerns about military escalations and cross-border fighting in Yemen, while attending a videoconference of the UN Security Council on April 15.

Vietnam voices concerns over escalating violence in Yemen hinh anh 1

Vietnamese Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese Mission to the UN (Photo: VNA)

As reported at the meeting, COVID-19 has unleashed itselfagain on Yemeni people, while fighting in Marib, Taizz and Houdaydah is showingdangerous signs of escalating, with the local population and internallydisplaced persons both in the line of fire. Nearly 21 million people in Yemen,including 11.3 million children, are facing the risk of hunger and pandemic.

Participating UN member states called upon the internationalcommunity to tackle hunger and COVID-19 impacts in Yemen and make commitmentsto providing financial assistance to the nation.

They also called on the relevant sides in Yemen not tohamper oil tankers from entering the Houdaydah port, to protect civilians, andto implement the Stockholm Agreement and the Riyadh Agreement on Yemen.

For his part, the Vietnamese ambassador said all concernedparties should immediately cease hostilities and resume the political process,and the conflict parties must stop attacking civilian infrastructure andneighbourhoods and protect the most vulnerable.

The diplomat urged the international community to furthersupport the Middle East country and called on the sides involved to step up theimplementation of the Stockholm and Riyadh Agreements.

In the council’s discussion over the humanitarian situationin the Tigray region of Ethiopia under “any other business”, Quy acknowledgedthe Ethiopian Government’s efforts in facilitating the operation of the UNOffice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

He stressed ensuring humanitarian aid is yet to meet currenturgent needs, particularly in West and South Tigray.

Concerning over a report on murders, violence, anddestruction of civilian infrastructure, the ambassador urged the Ethiopian Governmentto make greater efforts in protecting civilians and speeding up investigationson crime targeting the group. He said the top priorities now are to end fightingand start dialogues and a political process./.



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Japan – Việt Nam Fest to open in HCM City at weekend




The Japanese four-member girl group Elfin’ will perform to open the seventh Japan – Việt Nam Festival on April 17 and 18 at September 23 Park in District 1. Their performances will be broadcast from Japan. Photo courtesy of the organiser

​HCM CITY — The seventh Japan – Việt Nam Festival will be held on April 17 and 18 at the September 23 Park in HCM City’s District 1.

The event will offer a wide series of cultural and sports activities introduced by artists from the both countries.

The festival will open with performances of the famous Japanese four-member girl group Elfin’, which will be broadcast from Japan at 10am on April 17 and 18.

The featured events will be two music shows featuring Japanese singer Exile Atsushi, boy bands Da Pump and Amatou Dansi.

Takayuki Nakanishi, leader of Wadaiko Syo, a group of performers of Japanese drums, or taiko, will also perform at the event.

All performances of Japanese artists will be streamed from Japan.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese singers Đông Nhi, Ông Cao Thắng and Minh Hằng, boy group UNI5, and girl group SG048, will provide live performances on the festival’s main stage.

The festival will offer a Bon Odori dance to honour the spirits of the ancestors, and a Yosakoi dance performed at festivals and events.

In addition, the Awa Odori Vietnam Dance Association will provide dance performances from Japan, which will be broadcast at the festival.

The event will introduce visitors a workshop on the history of áo dài (Vietnamese traditional dress) and quan họ (love duet singing) performances.

The HCM City flower artist Shimaken will give a presentation on Japanese flower arrangement.

Japanese martial arts of Kendo, Alsok and Karate will also be sowcased at the event.

The World Cosplay Summit (WCS) Việt Nam will organise the TOUCH Cosplay Cup HCM City to find a winner in the national contest.

The organiser will also host exchange meetings between students from HCM City and Kitami City in Hokkaido.

The festival will include stalls showcasing Japanese cuisine, healthcare products, appliances and cultural products such as manga and dolls.



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