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Vietnam news in brief - January 7

Read The Hanoi Times for more updates about Vietnam.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan urges strong support for earthquake victims

Food, water and shelter must be the top priorities for those affected by the earthquake in Japan's central Ishikawa Prefecture, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Pham Quang Hieu told Vietnamese associations and volunteers on January 6. He noted that aid must be provided quickly and transparently to the victims, regardless of nationality.

The earthquake struck Ishikawa Prefecture on January 1, killing 110 people, while around 200 were still missing as of January 6. No Vietnamese have been reported injured or killed, according to local authorities.

Ho Chi Minh City company to introduce gold-plated items for Tet

A golden-coated bodhi tree on display at Viet Dragon Golden Apricot Corp's showroom. Photo:

Viet Dragon Golden Apricot Corp in southern Ho Chi Minh City is launching new gold-plated trees for the upcoming Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) in mid-February. The items include peach blossom trees and bodhi trees, which vary in size and price.

Prices range from a few million to billions of dong. The most valuable item, the Bodhi tree, will sell for US$1 million, or about VND24.4 billion. They will be on display in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Three must-see destinations in Vietnam for international tourists: Lonely Planet

Australian travel guide publisher Lonely Planet has recommended the central highland city of Buon Ma Thuot in Dak Lak province, the southern city of Chau Doc in An Giang province, and Lang Co Town in the central coastal province of Thua Thien Hue as Vietnam’s top destinations for international tourists.

According to Lonely Planet, these destinations are Vietnam's "wonders without the crowds". Buon Ma Thuot and Chau Doc are the kingdoms of coffee and fish sauce, while Lang Co is known as "a treasure trove of natural wonders".

Vietnamese passport ranks 73rd in global power rankings: Arton Capital

Vietnam has been ranked 73rd in the latest Passport Power Index by global citizenship consultancy Arton Capital. Holders of a Vietnamese passport can travel with ease to 70 countries, of which 24 require no visa and 46 grant a visa on arrival.

In the global rankings, the United Arab Emirates has the most powerful passport. Among Southeast Asian countries, Singapore shares 6th place with Japan, the US, Slovakia and New Zealand.

Khanh Hoa targets 40 international cruise ships by 2024

The central coastal province of Khanh Hoa expects to welcome 40 international cruise ships in 2024, according to the province's Department of Tourism. In 2023, the province received 25 ships with a total of nearly 46,000 tourists worldwide.

In 2023, more than 7.2 million tourists came to Khanh Hoa Province, an increase of 182% over the previous year. The number of foreign visitors rose eightfold to around 2.4 million. Total revenue from the tourism sector is estimated to soar 143% year-on-year to VND33 trillion ($1.35 billion).

Vietnam's motorcycle sector shrinks in 2023: National Motorcycle Association

Vietnam's motorbike sector shrank in 2023 due to regulations restricting the number of motorcycles on the road, the availability of electric vehicles and strong car consumption, the Vietnam Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers has reported. Accordingly, total motorcycle sales in 2023 were more than 2.5 million units, representing an annual market decline of 17%.

According to the association, motorcycle sales fell in 2023 after having recovered in 2022. The sector had declined sharply in 2019-2020.

Ho Chi Minh City sets economic growth rate of no more than 8% for 2024

Ho Chi Minh City's economy is expected to grow by 7.5-8.0% in 2024, a meeting heard on January 6. The local government and its subordinate units will take drastic measures to pilot some policies that will benefit the city and surrounding areas, remove bottlenecks for investors and businesses, and continue administrative reforms to boost economic performance.

In 2023, Ho Chi Minh City's gross regional domestic product (GRDP) is estimated to be around VND1.6 quadrillion ($66.5 billion), up 5.8% from the previous year. The city has allocated about VND42.9 trillion ($1.76 billion) for public investment projects. (check lại con số và đổi tiền)