Vietnam News Today (Dec. 25) notable headlines
Severe cold spell to end early this week in North
Vietnam promotes development of green industrial parks
Vietnam-US trade exceeds US$100 bln in 11 months
More foreign travelers to visit Vietnam
Vietnam hoped to become healthcare destination
Religion unity creates Vietnam strength
Over 1,500 runners compete at Son Tra Run Challenge 2023
Export results in 2023 provide stepping stone for rice sector next year
Ho Chi Minh City International Music Festival opens
Severe cold spell to end early this week in North
The severe cold spell, which has blanketed the northern region as well as the north-central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An for about 10 days now, is expected to end early this week.
The National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting has warned that the severe cold weather will continue hitting the northern mountainous provinces with the lowest temperatures of 4-7 degrees Celsius. The mercury will drop to 3 degrees Celsius in some high mountainous areas.
In the meantime, the lowest temperatures in other areas of the northern region and the two north-central provinces will be 8-11 degrees Celsius.
Due to the severe cold spell, frost will appear in midland and northern mountainous areas, cited VNA.
Heavy rain is also forecast to hit central localities from Ha Tinh to Khanh Hoa. Especially those from Da Nang to Binh Thuan are forecast to experience hefty rain and thunderstorms at the weekend.
The heavy rain might cause flash floods on small rivers and streams and landslides on steep slopes.
Low temperatures can affect crops and livestock.
People are told not to use traditional coal stoves for heating in closed rooms to avoid incidents causing fatalities, as happened in some localities in recent years.
Vietnam promotes the development of green industrial parks
Many localities in Vietnam have promoted converting traditional industrial parks to eco-industrial parks and also developed new green industrial parks.
This is a crucial task of the National Green Growth Strategy 2021-2030, vision to 2050, and the National Action Plan for implementing the 2030 sustainable development agenda.
According to experts, developing a circular economy has become a trend among countries, especially as the world’s resources are increasingly depleted.
The transformation of traditional industrial parks into sustainable green ones is achieved by promoting green production, efficient use of resources, and exchanging energy and by-products among enterprises within the parks.
This transformation has mobilized significant capital from the private economic sector for green industry solutions, ensured energy security, sustainable development and response to climate change, and improved the community’s quality of life surrounding the industrial parks.
For the long term, besides converting existing industrial parks, Vietnam would build new ecological industrial parks meeting the requirements of design and planning and attracting investment projects that have environmentally friendly production processes and technologies, efficient use of resources, waste reduction, and re-use of raw materials and energy, according to VNS.
In recent years, many industrial parks have successfully converted to ecological environments, such as Khanh Phu Industrial Park, Gian Khau Industrial Park (Ninh Binh), Hoa Khanh Industrial Park (Da Nang) and Tra Noc Industrial Park 1 and 2 (Can Tho).
Those industrial parks have about 72 enterprises implementing about 900 energy-saving and clean production solutions, saving VND76 billion per year, about 22,000 MWh of electricity, 600,000 cu.m of water, 140 TJ of fossil fuels, and nearly 3,600 tonnes of chemicals and waste. These solutions have also reduced carbon volume each year. Implementing these solutions has also attracted a total investment of about VND76 billion from the private sector.
Vuong Thi Minh Hieu, deputy director of the Department of Economic Zones Management, Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the ministry has coordinated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to further replicate the eco-industrial park model in Hai Phong, Dong Nai and HCM City via the project on deployment of eco-industrial parks in Vietnam according to the approach from the Global Eco-Industrial Park Program. That effort has achieved very encouraging results.
As of October 2023, the project supported 68 businesses in three industrial parks of Deep C – Đình Vũ, Amata Đồng Nai and Hiệp Phước, contributing to optimizing the efficiency of resource use in the industrial parks and adjacent urban areas. They implemented about 300 solutions for efficient use of resources and cleaner production, and 62 solutions saved 23 million kWh of electricity, 384,000 cu.m of water and US$31 million per year, and reduced CO2 emissions by 24,000 tonnes yearly.
|The transformation of traditional industrial parks into sustainable green industrial parks is achieved by promoting green production and efficient use of resources. Photo: baoxaydung.com.vn
However, there are some limitations in developing industrial parks because industrial park development planning has not clearly shown a strategic and overall vision.
In some locations, industrial park development planning does not reflect the actual development needs and ability to attract investment. That has led to the quality and efficiency of investment attraction falling short of expectations in terms of effectively using land for national socio-economic development and ensuring sustainable and balanced development of economic, environmental and social pillars.
Besides, the traditional industrial parks in the same locality still lacked cooperation to increase competitiveness and connection with industrial parks in neighboring localities.
The enterprises in the same industrial park have not taken full advantage of each other to have effective production and business development, save costs and take advantage of available resources.
Vietnam is attracting more high-quality foreign direct investment (FDI) to promote economic growth and international economic integration. Therefore, preparing industrial infrastructure is an urgent requirement to meet the increasingly strict requirements of foreign investors.
Of which, the development of eco-industrial parks is considered vital to solve environmental limitations and inadequacies, reduce resource waste, and increase value chain engagement.
Therefore, Vietnam must continue innovating and improving existing institutions, policies and regulations and adjusting goals and orientations for developing industrial parks and economic zones. These steps will adapt to the new context and contribute to implementing the national socio-economic development strategy.
Vietnam-US trade exceeds US$100 bln in 11 months
Bilateral trade between Vietnam and the US hit over US$100 billion over the last 11 months of this year amidst the global trade slowdown. The figure has been recently announced at the US-Vietnam Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Joint Council Meeting in Hanoi.
During January-November, the US remained the biggest importer of Vietnamese goods with US$88 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 13 percent. Meanwhile, Vietnam spent US$12.6 billion on imports from the US, down 6.4 percent.
The Southeast Asian nation enjoyed a trade surplus of US$75.45 billion with the US in the first 11 months, cited VNA.
Last year, trade in goods and services between Vietnam and the US was estimated at US$142 billion, a 422 percent increase compared to 2012.
US foreign direct investment flows into Vietnam was US$3.5 billion in 2022, a 27 percent increase from 2021.
More foreign travelers to visit Vietnam: Travel sites
Vietnam this year has consistently grown in attractiveness to travelers worldwide, according to online travel platforms.
Digital travel platform Agoda recently unveiled its 2023 Search Data report highlighting increased travel-related searches to and within the country.
Accordingly, the data, which showcases the evolving travel patterns of both international visitors to Vietnam and Vietnamese travelers looking to explore global destinations, revealed an extraordinary 298% year-on-year increase in inbound searches for Vietnam.
“Vietnam this year has consistently grown in attractiveness to travelers around the world, with the nation becoming ever more accessible,” said Lam Vu, Vietnam’s country director at Agoda.
Authorities have effectively promoted the nation to markets abroad. The popularity of Vietnam has also increased because of liberalizing visa policies and, of course, through the great travel deals available daily on Agoda, he said.
The top five nations looking to travel to Vietnam were the Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore.
“The increase in travel searches for Vietnam is a testament to the country’s appeal as a destination and the growing wanderlust among its residents. The data reflects a heightened interest in exploring international destinations and a strong desire to discover the diverse landscapes and cultural richness within Vietnam itself,” Lam said.
In a report by Booking.com, when it comes to top nationalities visiting Vietnam for winter, travelers from the Republic of Korea, followed by Australia and the USA, are at the top of the list.
The platform said that the top five nationalities visiting Vietnam with check-in dates between December 1, 2023, and February 29, 2024, that saw increases compared to the same time in 2022 were the Republic of Korea, Australia, the US, Singapore and the UK.
Vietnamese feel more alive when traveling
In terms of outbound travel, Vietnamese travelers were also looking further afield to satisfy their hunger for travel, with outbound searches from travelers here surging by 45%.
According to Agoda, Thailand, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Malaysia are the top five searched international markets for Vietnamese travelers.
Capital cities from the most popular markets also feature in the top five destinations list, with Bangkok, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo taking top honors among travelers from the southeast Asian nation—Taipei rounds of the city destination rankings.
Interestingly, even with the appetite of Vietnam’s travelers for international getaways growing by 45%, domestic searches for Vietnamese destinations also increased as there were 17% more searches for travel within Vietnam’s borders.
Within Vietnam, the top searched destinations by local travelers were HCM City, Vung Tau, Da Nang, Hanoi, and Da Lat.
Booking.com revealed that beach destinations seem to be favorites with Vietnamese travelers this winter, with five out of the top 10 most searched cities being beach destinations.
With a coastline of over 3,000 km, it’s no surprise that these destinations offer the perfect winter getaway for those seeking sun, sand and relaxation. While beaches continue to be popular, Vietnamese are also looking at city trips, with HCM City and Hanoi making it to the top five most searched destinations by Vietnamese travelers from December 1, 2023, to February 29, 2024.
|A view of Hang Dau Water Tower in Hanoi Capital City. Vietnam remains the destination of many foreign tourists. Photo: Truong Vi
Varun Grover, country head of Vietnam at Booking.com, commented: “As per our Travel Predictions 2024 research, 81% of Vietnamese travelers revealed that they feel more alive when they are on vacation, and we are pleased to see travelers embrace this travel enthusiasm as the holiday season approaches.”
According to Booking.com, the top 10 most searched domestic destinations by Vietnamese travelers with check-in dates between December 1, 2023, and February 29, 2024, including Hoi An, Da Lat, HCM City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Vung Tau, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Sapa and Mui Ne.
While hotels remain the most popular accommodation type for Vietnamese travelers, they also explore alternative accommodations while on holiday. Hotels, followed by resorts, apartments, homestays and apart-hotels, are the top five most searched accommodation types for festive travel between December 1, 2023, and February 29, 2024
Vietnam hoped to become healthcare destination
Thanks to significant achievements in medicine, increasing quality, and reasonable costs of medical examination and treatment services, Vietnam’s healthcare establishments have attracted more and more foreign patients, including those from developed countries such as the US and Canada.
Hospitals in Vietnam have successfully treated foreign patients many times.
Recently, a Cambodian underwent a spine endoscopy surgery at Duc Giang General Hospital, and 24 hours after surgery, the patient was able to move independently without absolutely no pain.
In early December, doctors at Saint Paul General Hospital in Hanoi successfully treated a 4-year-old Australian girl diagnosed with a common bile duct cyst. The patient was treated after a single-hole laparoscopic surgery through the navel, which only Vietnam and China routinely perform.
|Illustrative image (Photo: medlatec.vn)
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Department for Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health (MoH), has noted that in recent years, the development of medical techniques has attracted many overseas Vietnamese to come back to the country for medical treatment. Several major hospitals in Vietnam have recently attracted a significant number of foreign patients for medical check-ups and treatments.
Vietnamese doctors have attained high professional qualifications through systematic training and succeeded in mastering many high-level treatment techniques such as using robotics, endoscopic surgery, and organ transplant.
One of the strengths of the domestic healthcare system is its lower costs compared to those in other countries with the same quality, he added.
Khue, however, noted that Vietnamese people still spend US$2 billion on medical treatment abroad each year.
The MoH has set a goal to retain domestic affluent patients and attract half a million foreigners working in Vietnam to use local healthcare services rather than seeking medical treatment in other regional countries or returning to their home countries for treatment.
In the national health system development plan for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision towards 2050, the ministry proposed to upgrade five special-grade hospitals to modern hospitals with healthcare services meeting international standards.
The proposal aims to reduce the number of Vietnamese people going abroad for treatment, as well as to attract foreign patients to Vietnam.
By 2030, the rates of central- and provincial-level hospitals with high-quality international treatment areas are hoped to reach 95% and 80%, respectively. Meanwhile, the rate of foreigners using healthcare services in Vietnam is expected to grow by at least 1% per year.