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Vietnam welcomes 1st Chinese tour groups in three years

HANOI, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's tourism authority and northern provincial people's committee of Lang Son held a ceremony on Wednesday to welcome the first batch of Chinese tour groups in three years since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tour groups of 120 Chinese travellers were greeted at the Huu Nghi International Border Gate with beautiful gifts and traditional art performances.

Deng Guilin, a 67-year-old visitor who came from central China's Hubei province, said this was the first time he came to Vietnam. He would visit Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and Halong Bay in Quang Ninh province "to experience the beauty of 1,000-year-old city and the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam."

Peng Shituan, cultural counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam, said that the ceremony marked a historic moment in the resumption of tourism cooperation between China and Vietnam.

"Every Chinese tourist is a people-to-people ambassador of China-Vietnam friendship," Peng said, noting the tourism industry's significant role in promoting people-to-people exchanges between the two neighbors.

"Tourism cooperation is an important part of the cooperation between Vietnam and China. The tourism industry means a lot to Vietnam as the return of Chinese tourists will contribute greatly to the Vietnamese economy in 2023," Ha Van Sieu, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, told Xinhua.

Tourism, one of Vietnam's leading foreign exchange earners, has suffered a setback due to the pandemic. The Southeast Asian country targets to receive over 8 million international visitors this year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.