Cruise tourism yet to take off
QUAÛNG NINH Vieät Nam should invest more in infrastructure, cruise terminal facilities as well as shore itineraries and develop unique tourism products to tap its cruise tourism potential.
The statement was made by Vice Chairman of Vieät Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Ngoâ Hoaøi Chung at a seminar on cruise tourism, held in t he northern province of Quaûng Ninh yesterday.
Cruise tourism has been the fastest growing sector of the travel industry for the past few years globally. Often chosen by wealthy people, cruise tourism can make a significant economic impact for the locality.
Sea and island t ourism, which includes cruise tourism, is considered one of the priorities in t he t ourism development strategy of Vieät Nam, said Chung.
Vieät Nam has numerous advantages to become an attractive cruise tourism destination with its location in the centre of Southeast Asia, some 3,200 km of coast, more than 3,000 beau- tiful islands and diverse and unique culture, said Chung.
However, Vieät Nam has not witnessed any considerate uplift in cruise tourism development.
In the first 11 months of 2018, Vieät Nam welcomed more than 400,000 cruise tourists, accounting for only 2 to 3 per cent of total international tourists.
The growth rate of cruise tourist numbers to Vieät Nam is relatively low compared to the total number of tourists and has even decreased some years.
Vieät Nam still faces challenges including a poor seaport system, substandard cruise terminal facilities, bad infrastructure, unattractive tourism products and a lack of long-term action plans to attract cruise tourists, according to Chung.
The seminar was held by the VNAT to connect travel agencies and cruise lines, exchange experience in cruise tourism development and propose solutions to develop cruise tourism. It attracted more than 100 participants including representatives from Departments of Tourism of provinces, Departments of Border Gate, the Ministry of Transport, international cruise lines and Vietnamese travel agencies.
To make Vieät Nam a viable cruise destination, the country should improve its itineraries, cruise facilities and shore excursions, said Ahmad Kamal Bin Abdollah, manager of Cruise Port Development of the NV Terminals in Malaysia.
The various destinations within Vieät Nam have a solid mix of excursion offerings. The challenge remains in developing new facilities at these destinations and where such facilities are not optimal, improving the overall experience such that the inconvenience is minor and the rewards are great, said Abdollah.
Vuõ Duy Vuõ from Saigontourist suggested visa procedures be simplified and made more flexible for cruise tourists.
The VNAT should also attend more international cruise fairs and seminars to promote Vieät Nams cruise tourism, learn from the international experience and stay updated on global trends, he added. VNS AMMAN When Rabee Shrouf put on his first pair of ballet shoes two years ago, he knew he had found his calling. The Jordanians lifelong dream was to be on stage and as a ballet dancer in Amman, he wanted to shatter stereotypes along the way.
When you are immersed in the world you love, everything around you disappears, the 22year-old said. This is what it feels like when Im on stage.
Shrouf, who dances in his spare time while studying languages and translation at university, is one of few male dancers in Jordan, where his hobby often carries a social stigma for men.
Why did I choose ballet? Because it is a very difficult art form, one of the most difficult in the world, he said.
The youngest of six children, Shrouf grew up in an artistic household. His father was a singer and musician who encouraged his performing dreams.
But while confident dancing on stage, Shrouf has struggled telling people about his ballet passion, worried how it would be perceived. He has faced some pressure to pursue other interests, but has refused to give ballet up.
If you dont pursue what you love, and if you dont persist and believe in yourself, then those around you will not believe in you, he said.
Shrouf last week danced in a show directed and choreographed by Rania Kamhawi, who founded Jordans first ballet and contemporary dance company, MISK, in 1996.
Kamhawi, who trained in bal- let in Britain, said ballet was growing among Jordanian audiences, who usually prefer performances by folklore or contemporary dance groups.
There is a niche audience that loves ballet, but what I have noticed is that there is a huge audience for folklore, she said. So we are incorporating techniques from folklore into ballet in order make it more lively and attract a wider audience.
Today, MISK, which puts on shows at least once a year, counts 12 dancers. Shrouf is the only man.
Its a worldwide problem, not just in Jordan but I think this stigma is fading with the emergence of (television) shows like So you think you can Dance, Kamhawi said of the lack of male ballet dancers. This is breaking some old stereotypes.
Shrouf hopes to form a male dance group, even if he acknowledges he may have to hang up his ballet shoes for a more traditional career: I wont give up, I will continue to work hard and pursue what I love. REUTERS
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