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Take a swim in Ninh Binh

Speaking at a conference on promoting the province's tourism destinations in HCM City yesterday, Le Huy Hoang, a representative of the province's Tourism Promotion Information Centre, said: "Authorities have instructed the tourism sector to focus on the province's strengths."

In the short term, it would focus on weekend, leisure and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) tourism.

From 2015 it would intensify golf, shopping, homestay and river tourism.

It looked to France, Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, North-east Asia and places like Ha Noi, HCM City, Hue and Da Nang for visitors.

Ninh Binh is endowed with a system of beautiful grottoes and two sources of mineral water.

Its well-known tourist attractions include Tam Coc (Three Grottoes), Cuc Phuong National Park, Trang An Grottoes, and Van Long Nature Reserve.

There are also historical relics like the ancient capital Hoa Lu, Bich Dong Pagoda, Phat Diem Stone Cathedral, and Tam Diep Defense Line.

In all, it has 78 national historical relics, 160 provincial relics, and 46 traditional handicraft villages and celebrates 76 annual festivals.

"All of them make Ninh Binh a charming land of myth and unique landscapes," Hoang said.

It is also located near the key economic areas of the north, forming a tourism quadrangle with Ha Noi, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh.

Tourist numbers to Ninh Binh increased by 29 per cent annually between 2006 and 2010.

Last year it received around 3.3 million visitors, 700,000 of them from abroad tourists, who spent VND550 billion (US$26 million).