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HCM City travel agencies start to roll out new tours

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Tourists enjoy a one-day tour to Củ Chi earlier this month. — Photo tuoitre.vn

HCM CITY — HCM City’s tourism industry is implementing a recovery roadmap and building tourism products that can be deployed immediately.

At a recent meeting between authorities and travel agencies, Deputy Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Phan Thị Thắng stressed the importance of safe and suitable tourism products to be introduced at the moment.

The severe and prolonged impact of COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected targets set for the city’s tourism industry this year.

Statistics from people’s committees of Thủ Đức City and districts have shown that up to 90 per cent of small- and medium-sized travel agencies specialising in the international tourism market have suspended operations since April 2021.

From the beginning of 2020 to September 25, 2021, a total of 190 agencies withdrew their travel business licences.

Despite various difficulties, HCM City has planned to warm up the industry, following the positive vaccination rate of Thủ Đức City and all districts.

More tourism activities that are friendly with the current COVID-19 situation will be restored in the end of 2021 and early next year, according to city Department of Tourism.

The industry will open up depending on the level of safety and the domestic market will play a key role during the recovery period.

“Safe human resources, destinations and tourism services, together with strong connectivity with neighbouring provinces, will be emphasised,” director of the city Department of Tourism Nguyễn Thị Ánh Hoa said.

The roadmap to restore operations of the tourism industry is expected to be carried out in three phases.

The first phase, taking place this month, involves reopening of attractions only in “green zone” areas. Tourists must travel in groups, visit and leave attractions in places where the epidemic has been effectively controlled, including Củ Chi, Cần Giờ, Nhà Bà and District 7, during the day.

Travel agencies, accommodation establishments and attractions must ensure safety in accordance with guidance from relevant authorities. 

HCM City will reduce the scale and scope of tourism activities in case the epidemic worsens.

“It is crucial to review the human resources situation of the tourism industry and soon find ways to attract quality manpower for effective recovery process,” Chairman of the city Tourism Association Nguyễn Thị Khánh said.

Closed bubble tours

Along with a number of closed tours piloted to serve the frontline forces against the pandemic recently, HCM City needs to soon reconnect with neighbouring localities to build a series of safe destinations, Khánh said. 

“When activities of the aviation industry resume, it is possible to build closed tours from the city to other localities,” she added.

According to Võ Anh Tài, deputy general director of Saigon Tourism Corporation (Saigontourist Group), connectivity across cities and provinces is necessary to create diverse tourism products.

However, it is important for all destinations to agree on safety criteria as handling of epidemic prevention in some places is very strict.

Introduction of “closed bubble” tours is possible, especially when HCM City is becoming a safe destination due to high vaccination rate, General Director of Vietravel Company Trần Đoàn Thế Duy said.

Travel agencies will have the power to decide on organisation of tourism activities while ensuring safety based on guidance from relevant authorities, Thắng said, adding that a detailed plan for every programme is required.

Official tours

Travel agencies in HCM City have started to offer green tours to Cần Giờ and Củ Chi after HCM City reopened on October 1.

While day tours to Cần Giờ are sold from VNĐ1.6 million (US$75) per person, those to Củ Chi cost VNĐ680,000 a person. They will be available after October 15 on weekends.

A representative of Saigontourist Travel said that the decision to launch official tours were made after eight successful tours for over 1,000 doctors and nurses to Cần Giờ and Củ Chi last month and bookings from some business firms.

“Our tours have received positive responses. Since there is a very fast recovery of supply and service chains in the two destinations, we are confident to offer tours,” the representative said.

The tours are helping restore economic activities and providing travel agencies with valuable insights to launch quality tourism products in the next stages, an expert said. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1058731/hcm-city-travel-agencies-start-to-roll-out-new-tours.html

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Vietnamese students of Chinese universities yearn to resume offline classes

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Vietnamese students of Chinese universities are desperate to get their higher education back on track as online classes are rife with difficulties including disruptions and lack of access to textbooks.

Nguyen My Duyen, 25, is feeling unsettled and uncertain about her immediate future.

The native of Quang Ninh Province is pursuing a master’s degree in tourism management at the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in Fuzhou City, China’s Fujian Province.

She returned to Vietnam in January 2020 to celebrate the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival with her family, intending to return immediately after.

However, the international border closures because of Covid-19 have prevented her from returning to China for almost two years, during which period she has been taking online classes.

She was initially encouraged and comforted by her professors who said she would be able to return to China in September. But two Septembers have come and gone, and she is still at home.

“Waiting without an exact return date makes me feel really unsettled,” she said.

Nguyen My Duyen during during a hike in Guilin City, Chinas Guangxi Province. Photo courtesy of Duyen

Nguyen My Duyen during a hike in Guilin City, China’s Guangxi Province. Photo courtesy of Duyen

Nguyen Thi Hai of Hanoi’s Hoai Duc District has recently begun her second year in International Economics and Trade at the Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in Zhejiang Province. She was granted a partial scholarship from the Chinese government last year. She has never attended in-person classes and has only been studying online.

Hai has lessons on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Classes begin at 7 a.m. every day and end at around noon. Her class has 40 students, only five of whom are learning remotely.

Hai says the two years have been a struggle. There are days she finds it difficult to log back into the online class because of bad Internet connections. And even if she manages to log back, she has no idea what the professor was talking about. She said some professors have refused to email students the power points used, so she has to ask a friend to film the lecture and email her afterward.

“When I listen to the video, it doesn’t seem clear and is difficult to comprehend. I have to continuously text and ask the teacher, but I’m worried about asking too many questions…,” Hai said.

With just online classes, Hai has a hard time keeping up with friends and feels she still has not gained much knowledge even though she is already in her second year. But she can’t bear to give up and start again at another university because it would be a colossal waste of time.

Nguyen Thi Hai. Photo courtesy of Hai

Nguyen Thi Hai. Photo courtesy of Hai

International students like Duyen and Hai have been unable to attend in-person classes after China closed its borders to most foreigners from March 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Last August, China restarted issuing visas for South Korean students, who make up the largest number (10 percent) of all international students in the country. Meanwhile the majority of international students from developing countries have not received any information about their return. In February, thousands of Indian medical students staged a protest on social media, with the hashtag #TakeUsBackToChina.

Tran Ngoc Duy, who is taking online classes for his master’s degree in Chinese Teaching at Yantai University in Shandong Province, said international students have suffered “many deadlocks and interruptions,” because of the pandemic.

Duy is the admin of an online group of international students studying abroad in China, which has around 54,000 members.

Adding to the worries and frustrations of foreign students was recent information that China’s Ministry of Education and universities was planning not to support online learning with scholarship funds.

Some schools have also said they find it difficult to organize online classes because they do not find them effective.

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Duyen (pink jacket, second from right, top row) and Vietnamese students at a cultural event at Fuzhou University, China’s Fujian Province, November 2019. Photo courtesy of Duyen

On hold

Many students have been forced to put their academic programs on hold since they are struggling financially to cover living expenses while paying full tuition fees.

Online learning has also meant that some subjects have not been taught yet, and Duyen said this is affecting her chance to retain her scholarship. Each term, the school reviews a student’s academic performance and in order to retain her scholarships, Duyen can only have two subjects with less than 80 percent scores.

In September, when she began the first semester of her second year, Duyen received an email from the school, suggesting that international students reserve their seats with the current program, but temporarily suspend their studies till the pandemic situation stabilizes and they can return. She did so without hesitation.

When she was in China, Duyen studied materials in both Chinese and English. But after returning to Vietnam, she has not been able to find the books that her lecturers suggest. After reserving her seat and suspending classes, Duyen has begun working part-time for a Taiwanese website, teaching Vietnamese online to earn an income.

Duyen’s case is not an exception, Duy said.

Results from a quick survey in his online group show that of about 60 participants, five students had temporarily suspended their academic program, three had dropped out and the rest were studying online.

Most students said they have “ineffective” lessons and have “extremely frustrating” experiences because of poor internet connections, lack of practice and interaction with peers.

Some students have actually given up their scholarships and looked to continue their education in Vietnam.

Pham Phuong Thao won a Chinese government scholarship this year to study marketing at the China University of Petroleum in Shandong Province. She wanted to experience a new learning environment and meet people from different cultures, an important factor in deciding to study abroad.

She spent a week deciding between studying temporarily at a school in the countryside while studying online in China or giving up her scholarship and returning to Hanoi.

“Instead of living with the uncertainty of returning to China, I can complete my studies in Vietnam. Online learning is not suitable for me, so I gave up the scholarship,” she explained.

Thao is a student majoring in Chinese at Thang Long University now. Since she scored 6 points in the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), a Chinese proficiency test, she was able to advance to the second year.

China currently ranks third in the world for the number of international students after the U.S. and the U.K.

According to December 2020 statistics compiled by Chinese social network Tencent, Vietnam has 13,549 international students in China, the fifth-largest contingent after South Korea, the U.S., Japan and Thailand.

The Chinese government said in July that it always valued international students and would consider “synchronous” arrangements for their return to China in keeping with pandemic-related safety requirements.

Since there has been no mention of possible dates mentioned, Vietnamese students of Chinese universities continue to remain in limbo.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/life/trend/vietnamese-students-of-chinese-universities-yearn-to-resume-offline-classes-4374269.html

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Comics illustrated by Vietnamese painter published in Japan

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The Vietnamese version (left) and the Japanese version of the comic book Friends. Photo courtesy of Kim Đồng Publishing House

HÀ NỘI A children’s comic book called Friends featuring illustrations by a Vietnamese artist, has been published by Japan’s Sunny Side Publishing House.

The picture book, or Ehon in Japanese, was written by Aihara Hiroyuki, a Japanese writer who has published more than 100 Ehon books, and illustrated by Vietnamese painter Đôm Đốm. The book, a project by Hà Nội-based Kim Đồng Publishing House, was released in both Vietnamese and Japanese in 2020.

In the letter to readers Hiroyuki wrote: “As a Japanese, I wish to become friends with Vietnamese readers, and that we could travel together to explore Việt Nam’s nature like the two main characters Brown Bear and Black Cat in this story. It would be so much fun if that wish could come true, and that’s why I’m writing this story.

“Artist Đôm Đốm has illustrated my feelings with wonderful paintings. I really like her paintings and hope you do too. Have you seen the images of the Japanese through the calm Brown Bear and of the Vietnamese through brave Black Cat? Beginning with an accidental meeting then embarking on a journey together, two of them gradually understand and support each other, and finally win each other’s trust. I would be very happy if children of the two countries would also share such a strong bond of friendship in the future.”

After reading the Vietnamese version, the author expressed his wish to have the comic published in Japan by Sunny Side Publishing House. He presented his book to the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan when the Japanese version was released.

 “I hope this wonderful book will be read by many Japanese children and therefore more Japanese and Vietnamese kids could be friends,” said Vietnamese ambassador in Japan Vũ Hồng Nam.

Previously, the copyrights of two other books published by Kim Đồng Publishing House, Chang Hoang Dã – Gấu (Saving Sorya – Chang and the Sun Bear) and Đúng là Tết (This is Tết), have been purchased by two publishing houses in the UK and Germany respectively. The latter is also in the process of being negotiated for publication in France.

Vũ Thị Quỳnh Liên, Deputy Director and Editor-in-Chief of Kim Đồng Publishing House, said: “More Vietnamese books have been copyrighted and published abroad, which show the increasing interest of international readers in Vietnamese authors’ topics and expressions. This is a great joy for people working in the field of creativity in the country.”

Artist Đốm Đốm, real name is Vũ Thủy Ngọc Hà. Photo thethaovanhoa.vn

Đốm Đốm, whose real name is Vũ Thủy Ngọc Hà, is an illustrator of children’s books and comics. Some of her illustrations have since been published, including Hoàng Tử Rơm (The Straw Prince), Bàn Tay Của Bố (Father’s Hand, Cuộc Phiêu Lưu Của Jenny Ở Vương Quốc Ham Chơi (Jenny’s Adventures in the Gluttony Kingdom), and Chuyện Này Chuyện Kia (This and That Story).

She was awarded the first prize at Scholastic Picture Book Award 2019 for her book The Girl on the Roof and the Boy on the Beach. The book has been recently published by Scholastic Corporation, an American multinational publisher.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1063161/comics-illustrated-by-vietnamese-painter-published-in-japan.html

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Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland

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Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan on October 21 presented a decision to officially appoint Dr. Philipp Rosler – former Deputy Prime Minister of Germany, as the first ever Honorary Consul of Vietnam to Switzerland.

Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland hinh anh 1

Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan presents the decision to Dr. Philipp Rosler. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan on October 21 presented a decision to officially appoint Dr. Philipp Rosler – former Deputy Prime Minister of Germany, as the first ever Honorary Consul of Vietnam to Switzerland.

In her speech at the handover ceremony, Ambassador Lan congratulated Dr. Rosler on his new role and emphasised the importance of Switzerland to Vietnam and the potential for cooperation and partnership between the two countries.

Especially, 2021 will mark the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations, and 30 years of development cooperation between the two countries, she said.

In recent years, the Vietnam-Switzerland cooperation has developed strongly, with Switzerland becoming an important trade, investment and economic partner of Vietnam.

Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland hinh anh 2

At the handover ceremony. 

In 2019, two-way trade reached 3.6 billion USD. About 140 Swiss companies including world-class names such as Nestle, ABB, Novartis, Roche, and Holcim, have invest in Vietnam and reaped success with a total investment capital of nearly 2 billion USD.

Switzerland is currently the sixth largest European investor in Vietnam.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Switzerland, Rosler said many Swiss companies want to make field trips to Vietnam to explore business opportunities in the Southeast Asian nation.

Swiss businesses pin high hope on the upcoming visit of Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Switzerland, he said.

At a roundtable on business prospect and opportunities in the field of digital transformation and startup ecosystem in Vietnam which took place after the handover ceremony, representatives from Swiss businesses shared their experience in doing business in the Vietnamese market.

They said that Vietnam is a dynamic country and an open market for foreign investors.

A number of Swiss businesses that have been operating in Vietnam such as Zuellig Pharma and Bellecapital believed that Vietnam’s economy will continue to maintain a fast growth rate in the next 10-15 years.

Algerian Ambassador honoured with friendship insignia

Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland
Algerian Ambassador to Vietnam Mohamed Berrah (L) receives the “For peace and friendship among nations” insignia.

Algerian Ambassador to Vietnam Mohamed Berrah has been honoured with the “For peace and friendship among nations” insignia for his contribution to promoting the friendship between people of Vietnam and Algeria.

At a ceremony held in Hanoi on October 21, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga said the Vietnam-Algeria friendship and cooperation have flourished during Berrah’s six-year term.

The two sides successfully held the 11th meeting of the InterGovernmental Committee which provides the basis to effectively implement joint activities and cooperation projects.

Bilateral economic and trade relations remain stable despite the difficulties triggered by COVID-19 for the global economy.

Nga spoke highly of the Algerian diplomat’s contributions to enhancing solidarity and people-to-people exchange between the two countries, as he had regularly worked with the Vietnam-Algeria Friendship Association to discuss measures to bolster cooperation, and met with Vietnamese experts who used to work in the African nation.

Of note, he has been working with relevant agencies in Vietnam since early this year to adapt a famous Algerian author’s work on President Ho Chi Minh into a play, in a hope of bringing the warm feeling of Algerian people for their Vietnamese counterparts and for the late President of Vietnam to the Vietnamese audience on the occasion of the 60th founding anniversary of the diplomatic ties in 2022.

For his part, the Algerian Ambassador pledged that in any future position, he will continue to contribute to the friendship and cooperation between people of Algeria and Vietnam.

Honorary Consul General of Vietnam in RoK honoured

Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul to Switzerland
Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tung (L) presents certificate of merit to Honorary Consul General Park Soo-kwan

Vietnamese Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (RoK) Nguyen Vu Tung on October 20 presented Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s certificate of merit to Honorary Consul General of Vietnam in the RoK’s Busan-Gyeongnam region Park Soo-kwan in honour of his active and effective contributions to bilateral economic, cultural and educational ties.

At the ceremony, Park pledged to do his best to continue contributing to the Vietnam – RoK relationship.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam, Park actively joined in pandemic prevention and control, and offered suggestions to the Vietnamese Government, together with the RoK business community, to ensure the dual goal of fighting the pandemic and restoring economic development.

In his capacity as Honorary Consul General of Vietnam in Busan-Gyeongnam region since 2010, he has worked closely with the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK to bolster bilateral trategic cooperative partnership, especially friendly ties between twin cities of Ho Chi Minh and Busan via trade-investment promotion and exchange activities, and sharing of information on culture and education.

He also supported activities of the Vietnamese community in the RoK. Notably, Vietnam received martime training ship Hannara donated by the RoK Government, thanks to his assistance.

Earlier in 2021, Park was also awarded with the Friendship Order of the Vietnamese State./. 

Source: VNA

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/vietnam-world/appointment-decision-presented-to-vietnam-s-honorary-consul-to-switzerland-785043.html

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