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ITE HCMC perfectly organized by Informa Global Exhibitions Asia

September 16, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Under the theme “Your Gateway to Tourism in Asia” the 13th International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC) was perfectly organized by Informa Global Exhibitions Asia from Singapore, who did a great job to streamline some 280 seller booths of domestic and international travel companies along with nearly 350 hosted buyers,media and acclaimed bloggers from all over the world to attend this year’s show at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC) in Ho Chi Minh City on 7-9 September 2017.

Co-organized together by Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), HCMC Department of Culture, Sports & Tourism, and Vietnam Trade Fair & Advertising Joint Stock Company (VINEXAD), the show held all the high-staked expectations and was based on the spirit of co-operation between the five so-called “Mekong River” countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMVT), which share similarities in their rice-growing economy and cultural history. Also celebrating the 50 Years Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the show promoted “Five countries – One Destination” and showcased tourism products of Vietnam, ASEAN and some other Asian countries such as China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

Arriving on September 4 in the evening by Nok Air from Chiang Mai and Bangkok at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, I was transferred to the newly built and elegant “The Myst Dong Khoi Hotel” at District 1 to be able to join the pre-show city tour in the afternoon of September 5. We visited the Ao Dai Museum at 75 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, where an impressive exhibition introduces the history of Ao Dai Vietnam traditional costumes and long robes of nobility. After that we did a short stop at the Minh Phuong Lacquer Ware Factory and continued for a relaxing boat trip on one of the canals of Old Saigon. On the way back to the hotel, we passed the centrally located Independence Palace and Notre-Dame Cathedral, before enjoying a welcome dinner at the legendary Rex Hotel, followed by a cocktail tasting at its famous Roof Garden.

On September 6, we had time for a “spa” visit, where special treatments were given such as a foot massage or anti aging facial massage for an energy lift. For lunch, authentic cuisine of Vietnam and wine was offered at “EON51” located on three consecutive levels of the highest building in Ho Chi Minh City, namely the Bitexco Financial Tower, where visitors have unparalleled views over the city. In the afternoon earnest work began, when attending the seminar “Ho Chi Minh City: A new international MICE hub in ASEAN” at the GEM Center, including a panel discussion at the end. In the evening, there was an invitation to the Opening Ceremony of ITE HCMC 2017 and Gala Dinner themed “Amazing Vietnam” at the Gem Center, where H.E. Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thien, Minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism addressed the heads of the tourism delegations of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand, also Italy, the mayors of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) cities and the leaders of many provinces of Vietnam.

The highlight of the Gala Dinner was the cultural performances of a myriad of ethnic groups, musicians and singers, including a special fashion show. The Organizing Committee had tried its best to entertain the guests and especially congratulated Vietnam Airlines (VNA) on winning the top honors and being certified as a four-star airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards Ceremony at Farnborough International Air Show in England in December 2016.

The Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of ITE HCMC 2017 happened exactly on 8.00 o’clock in the morning of September 7 at the SECC in District 7. Actually, the three-day event was endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism, Vietnam, and the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, as well as was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia, Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism, Lao PDR, Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, Myanmar, and Ministry of Tourism & Sports, Thailand. Full of attractive events and many exciting activities for consumers at ITE HCMC made the show very successful, culminating with a public day for visitors on September 9.

For two days, hosted buyers and media had a lunch in a restaurant at the SECC lobby, while on September 7 in the evening was “Cambodia Night” hosted by H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Cambodia, at the Rex Hotel. The starting program saw the well-known “Apsara Dance”, while the dinner reception was accompanied by famous songs, a traditional costume show, Khmer Ancestral Heritage Dance and Music, and last not least, the Charm of the Northeast Area, performed by the artistic group of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia. The entertaining evening ended with a photo session.

In the afternoon of September 8, there was a special tour to Cho Lon or District 5, Ho Chi Minh City’s China Town. After first visiting the “History Museum” with outstanding exhibition rooms of Funan and Champa art objects, we continued to visit two marvelous Chinese temples in busy Cho Lon, namely the intriguing Thien Hau Temple and the big Nghia An Assembly Hall at Nguyen Trai Street. At the centrally located Opera House we finally enjoyed the charming and acrobatic A O Show, before having the farewell buffet dinner at the restaurant on the 12th floor of The Myst Dong Khoi Hotel, where the General Manager, Miss Hanh Lam, was a perfect host.

As there was a choice of five post-show tours for hosted buyers and media, I opted for going to the Phu Yen seaside town of Tuy Hoa (2 nights/3 days). Early morning at 5.30 o’clock on September 9, our group departed to Tan Son Nhat International Airport to leave for a short flight (VJ206) toTuy Hoa International Airport in Central Vietnam. Arriving there at around 9.00 o’clock, we headed straight to the hill sanctuary of the Cham Tower Thap Nhan to pay respect to the Hindu mother goddess Uroja. After having lunch at the Yasaka Huong Sen Seafood Restaurant, we checked in at the four-star KaYa Hotel in town. Later in the afternoon, we took an excursion south along Da Bia Mountain to the Dai Lanh Lighthouse (CapeVarella) and swimming at the idyllic and pristine Bai Mon Beach. Back in town, most of the participants were so tired that we only had a tuna fish dinner at Ngon Restaurant and then went early to sleep.

Next morning we took another excursion north of Tuy Hoa to explore Ganh Da Dia Reef, which is a natural beauty spot with volcanic basalt columns in the Eastern Sea. Even a Vietnamese wedding couple was among the visitors there. On the way back to Tuy Hoa, we made a stop at the oldest church in Phu Yen called Mang Lang. Nearby inside a hill, there is hidden an old bible book written in the Latin script by the French Catholic priest Alexander de Rhodes from 1651. After having lunch at a modern Astop Restaurant in Song Cau Village, we checked in at the astonishing five-star VietStar Resort & Spa, where in the evening we had a farewell gala dinner with dance performances of a Cham dancing troupe. Hosted by the provincial Tourism Promotion Information Center, the time passed quickly enjoying local liquor and Saigon Beer.

Next morning, after early breakfast on September 11, we had to fly back from Tuy Hoa International Airport to Ho Chi Minh City (VJ207). The final day of the journey to Vietnam has arrived and I had to wait for the Nok Air flight in the evening to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Hopefully, there will be the next ITE HCMC on 6-8 September 2018 and I’m looking forward to participate again at Vietnam’s largest and most established travel show.

Written by : Reinhard Hohler

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