Vietnam Gives Agents A Taste Of Its Wonders

Here’s some food pho thought from Vietnamese tourism officials – the country’s a major culinary centre.

A Vietnamese tourism delegation visited Toronto Monday night, promoting the attributes of the southeast Asian country, which includes a food scene that drew international attention when late food enthusiast Anthony Bourdain and former U.S. president Barack Obama had lunch together in a modest but popular Hanoi restaurant that serves the likes of pho, a hugely popular dish in Vietnamese cuisine.

Lloyd Coleman of Minh Travel & Tour — Canadian GSA for Vietnam Airlines– in turn told the Toronto audience that Vietnam is the “kitchen of the world.”

In fact, CNN has declared Hanoi one of the top 50 food centres.

But tourism officials added that the country has numerous other attractions for visitors, with Coleman telling the audience that Vietnam has “more than 4,000 years of history” and a lengthy coast “gifted with so many of the most beautiful beaches in the world.”

Vietnam Airlines – a Skytrax four-star carrier – plans to begin Vancouver service within the next two years.

Airlines now serving Hanoi include Japan Airlines, British Airways, and Air France. SkyTeam member Vietnam Airlines counts Air Canada, Etihad, Garuda and Cathay Pacific among its interline partners.

Rajat Chhabra, general manager of the Radisson Suites Hotel Toronto Airport, who earlier worked as a hotelier in Vietnam, praised “beautiful” Vietnam’s hotel infrastructure, saying five-star hotels with excellent service are available.

“It’s absolutely a magical country,” Chhabra continued. “I would go back to Vietnam in a snap.”

Van Nguyen, chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said tourism to his homeland is soaring. Vietnam saw a million visitors in 19900. Last year, over 13 million visited the country.

Linh Le of Hanoi-based Asia DMC, in turn, said that those involved in Vietnamese tourism see Canada as an “amazing market with a lot of potential.”

Seen here are tourism consultant Lisa Lau; Hang Nguyen of Silkstar Holidays: Le; Luong Van Nguyen of Gia Linh Travel & DMC; and Jackie Bishop Martin of Journey the Globe and Anton Martin.