Bring legends to life in Vietnam

It all began as a legend. Back in time, in a land where the mountains meet the sea, a beautiful, young fairy, Au Co, falls in love with Long Quan, the Dragon Lord of the Sea. Their children, better known as the Hung Kings, became the early leaders of ancient Vietnam.

In March 2012, Halong Bay’s premier cruise provider, Bhaya Cruises, will be launching two unique, new vessels dedicated to the “Mother of Vietnamese Civilization,” which will soon become legends themselves. The Au Co is the first and only luxury operator to offer a 3-day, 2-night cruise in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Edgar Cayanan, Cruise Operation Manager, said: “The Au Co plans to set new standards in terms of luxury. It will present a journey guaranteeing its guests an experience of a lifetime. The Au Co’s daily trip will not only lead through the natural wonders of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site,Halong Bay, it will also discover the Bays of Lan Ha and Bai Tu Long. Cat Ba Island and its renowned National Park will also be revealed.”

The vessels combine state-of-the-art safety standards and innovative Oriental design, providing luxury and dedication in every detail. Each ship has 32 spacious cabins of minimum 20 square meters each. It also boasts private balconies and well-equipped bathrooms.

The numerous activities en route, the culinary experiences, and the atmosphere will please both the active traveler and those just seeking pure relaxation. Whether you enjoy the stunning scenery, a wellness treatment, or a glass of wine from the Chef’s exclusive selection, the trip promises to be an unforgettable one.

Tran Thanh Nam, CEO of the group, said: “The Au Co strives to provide minimum impact on the local environment and will operate under the concept of sustainable tourism. It’s the owners’ major goal and commitment to support local communities and conserve the beauty of the Gulf of Tonkin for future generations.”

The Au Co’s launching ceremony in Hanoi will take place on August 18 in Hanoi and on August 23, 2011 in Hochiminh City. Travel agents, tour operators, and the press are welcome to meet the Au Co team at IFTM Top Resa in France (September 20-23, 2011) at booth number N11 pavillon 7.2; ITB Asia in Singapore (October 19-21, 2011) at booth number D10, Hall 601; and WTM in UK (November 7-10, 2011) at booth number AS786.

Could Travel Bridge Vietnam’s Economic Gaps with the West?

Over the last decade, Vietnam has emerged as one of Asia’s most accessible and exciting travel and leisure destinations. It’s an unusual development, particularly as the country was one of the world’s most tightly controlled and economically inaccessible just twenty years ago. As Vietnam increases its ties with the United States, the surge in international visitors could speed up development.

It’s the summer of 2010, and Saigon’s large boulevards are showing signs of rapid development and economic improvement. While the rest of the world has spent the last three years fighting off major recessions, Vietnam has been in a state of nationwide development and economic improvement. The economic capital’s streets are teeming with activity, much of it dedicated to tourism and travel.

An estimated 4.2 million tourists visited Vietnam in 2008 – a huge increase from figures released in the previous decade. Development of numerous high-end hotels in Saigon and capital Hanoi seems to be speeding up the process even more significantly, with Vietnam eyeing up Thailand’s fourteen million visitors annually as a potential target.

While the country’s rapidly developing economy brings in the bulk of its income, many within the country believe that exposure to international visitors could help Vietnam’s educational sector and economy. The country, previously a tightly controlled communist economy, is now one of the most open and trade-based in the world, taking on investment capital from the United States and Europe.

Economists claim that international exposure has helped Vietnam’s development, citing its recent military cooperation with the United States as proof that economic interests can override national rhetoric and history. With tourism constantly increasing and overseas investment arriving at speeds unheard of internationally, it seems as if travel could be a major economic bridge for Vietnam.