HCMC Hosts International Tourism Exhibition

Fifty foreign and 80 Vietnamese tourism firms have come to the 2005 International Tourism Exhibition in HCMC.

The exhibit, which runs from Friday to Sunday, provided local tourism agencies a chance to showcase their products to domestic clients and scout for foreign partners, La Quoc Khanh, deputy head of the HCMC Tourism Department, said.

On the first day, some 60 tour operators from neighboring countries expressed a desire to send tourists to Vietnam soon, he said.

Vietnam to Launch Third Airline Next Year

Vietnam Airlines is working on a project to transform a service company into an independent carrier, Vietnam’s third.

The Vietnam Aviation Service Company Ltd. (VASCO) was expected to begin operations in January 2006, deputy head of Vietnam Airlines’ Enterprise Reform Department, Tran Dinh Hung, said.

Once approved by the government, VASCO would take wings internationally rather than domestically, he said.

WTO Secretariat: Vietnam Making Important Progress

Vietnam has made important progress in its negotiations for WTO admission, particularly after the Working Group on Vietnam's entry carefully studied the first revised draft of the group's report last month.

This assessment was made by Shishir Priyadarshi, representative of the WTO Secretariat, at a national seminar, "Vietnam's WTO accession: Opportunities and Challenges," held by the foreign ministry in Hanoi Thursday.

Vietnam among Top 10 Asian FDI Destinations: UN Report

Vietnam is among the top 10 Asian foreign direct investment (FDI) destinations, Vietnam News Agency quoted a report as saying Wednesday.

The World Investment Report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said the country, which attracted fresh investment of US$1.6 billion in 2004, came ninth in the list led by mainland China with an estimated $60.6 billion.

The report, which was released September 29, showed Vietnam received $500 million more than Thailand.

Vietnam to Tap Global Market with First Bond Issue

Vietnam, which has considered the idea of tapping global capital markets since the 1990s, has approved the country's first sovereign bond issue, local media reported Thursday.

The Finance Ministry will issue the dollar-denominated bonds sometime this month, but local newspapers did not say how much the issue was intended to raise.

Ministry sources told Reuters in August the plan was to raise $500 million and the debt issue would help create a benchmark for Vietnamese bonds abroad.

Vietnam Cares for Repatriated Highlanders, UN Agency Finds

Vietnam provided the best possible care for the highlanders who had been repatriated from Cambodia, and helped them integrate into the community, an official at the UN refugee agency has said.

The country representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Vu Anh Son, said after a field trip to the Central Highlands province of Dac Nong October 5-6, where he met eight of the 13 returnees, that he and other members of the mission had directly talked with them.

Vietnam Strengthens Detoxification of Poultry

Vietnam has launched a mass nationwide disinfection of fowl farms in provinces and cities amidst fears of possible bird flu outbreaks in the approaching winter.

Poultry quarantine checkpoints would be established in heavy traffic areas in order to inspect the flux of poultry transport among provinces, said the veterinary department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Vietnam Hopes Listed Shares Will Equal 10% of GDP

A draft stock exchange strategy calls for efforts to increase Vietnam’s market capitalization to 10 per cent of GDP by 2010.

The draft, for the 2006-2010 period, was discussed at a forum in Hanoi Thursday and is expected to be submitted to the Government in October. The market capitalization, or the total value of shares and bonds listed on Vietnam's five-year-old stock market, is now a mere 0.9 per cent of the GDP.

Hanoi Selected Top Five Asian Tourist Cities for Second Time

A leading US magazine has again selected Hanoi as one of the top five leading Asian cities for tourism for 2005.

Travel and Leisure magazine made the selection, heeding millions of readers on the basis of the city's landscapes, culture, people and food. The other four cities are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hong Kong and Kyoto.

The capital city of Vietnam ranked fifth this year, compared with fourth in 2004.

Vietnam Southern Hub Starts Online Customs Clearance

Vietnam’s commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City has for the first time launched official customs clearance via the Internet with US$1.5 million worth of goods being cleared.

The HCMC Customs Department approved up to 30 online customs declarations of five local companies on Wednesday.

The department said it had to spend only 2 minutes to approve one declaration, while the time could reach seven or eight hours for normal clearance.

From now to September 10, about 11 companies will get their goods cleared by the department via the internet.