Hanoi wins approval for efforts as member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Domestic and international experts have acknowledged Hanoi’s activeness in implementing its initiatives and commitments as a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, particularly the engagement of the entire community in creative activities.

The evaluation was made at an event held by the municipal Department of Culture and Sports and the UNESCO Office in Vietnam on April 25 to review the capital city’s performance since it became a member of the network in the field of design four years ago.

Do Dinh Hong, Director of the Department of Culture and Sports, said that Hanoi has obtained certain results after four years of carrying out initiatives to promote creative design in its cultural, economic, and social development programmes. Apart from holding national and international workshops and conferences, the city has also devised many mechanisms, policies, and plans to boost the building of a creative city.

Christian Manhart, head of the UNESCO Office in Vietnam, held that Hanoi is moving in the right direction in working to realise its creative city vision.

He said he is impressed with the city’s achievements based on the capitalisation of cultural resources, especially the successful organisation of the creative design festival and the provision of conditions for local residents to take part in creative activities.

Manhart expressed his belief that Hanoi will maintain its role as an active member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network to connect and cooperate with others in the network.

Other experts also shared the view that the capital city of Vietnam has been taking firm steps in implementing its initiatives and commitments to UNESCO.

Dr Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong, Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies, recommended that Hanoi should take appropriate steps to realise its ambition of establishing itself as the capital of creativity in Southeast Asia.

It should pay attention to all groups in society, particularly the young and the vulnerable. Creativity competitions need to attract multiple groups of participants. Besides, Hanoi should build a creative city not only for itself but also a role model for others nationwide to develop into creative cities as well, she added.

At the event, participants also discussed Hanoi’s cooperation with relevant parties to carry out commitments and suggested the issues that need to be addressed in the coming time.

They said Hanoi has much room for designing and creation activities thanks to the diversity of cultural heritage, traditional craft villages, and other cultural resources, which are endless sources of inspiration for creativity.

Many partners also pledged to give assistance in developing the creative city of Hanoi, raise its stature, and attract other parties in creative activities./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Potential of tourism associated with OCOP products needs to be fully tapped

Industry experts have said there is still much-untapped potential for developing One Commune-One Product (OCOP) items associated with tourism activities in the Mekong Delta region.

They said the primary concern is to establish synchronised and coherent cooperation and solutions to simultaneously create sustainable livelihoods for local communities while enhancing product value and promoting tourism development.

Developing tourism associated with local specialities and OCOP products is an important solution to effectively develop tourism in the Mekong Delta region after the Prime Minister approved the OCOP programme for the 2021-2025 period and the rural tourism development programme for the 2021-2025 period.

With the certificated OCOP products, localities have initially implemented the effective development of tourism associated with OCOP products, combining the development of many types of tourism, such as cultural tourism, agricultural and rural tourism, ecotourism, and shopping tourism.

Currently, the country has over 8,800 OCOP products, focusing on six main product groups, including food and beverages, textiles and garments, souvenirs, decorations and interior furniture, herbs, and community tourism services and attractions.

In the Mekong Delta, which produces fruits, rice, and aquatic products with many traditional craft villages, many OCOP products have been recognised and supplied to the domestic and export markets.

The region has taken advantage of its natural conditions, agricultural production, culture, and craft villages to create unique tourist destinations.

OCOP products – a tourist destination

Ben Tre province, with three clusters of islets of Minh, Bao, and An Hoa, has been developing its tourism by promoting local specialities, specifically OCOP products.

Nguyen Thi Be Muoi, Vice Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee, said nearly 160 products had been granted OCOP certification in Ben Tre province.

Visitors can participate in various activities, such as visiting production facilities, experiencing harvesting methods, processing raw materials, and tasting OCOP products associated with coconut trees. These activities create a unique attraction for local tourism in the province, she said.

Phan Thi Ngan from Nguyen Tat Thanh University stated that the university had organised a tour in which tourists can participate in some processing stages of coconut candy and rice paper.

Ca Mau, the country’s southernmost province, is a land rich in unique resources from saltwater and freshwater ecosystems, bringing many exotic products to the locals.

Tran Hieu Hung, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said visitors could experience harvesting of forest products such as reeds, and many other unique OCOP products such as reed honey, salted ba khía fish, eco-friendly crabs, and shrimp chips. Tourists always express their enthusiasm for participating in these activities and trying the unique OCOP products.

In Soc Trang province, the promotion of OCOP products in tourist attractions has been carried out. Visitors can visit the agricultural production facilities and shop at the safe food stores after visiting the floating market in Nga Nam town.

The community-based tourism destination of Farmstay San Tien in Cu Lao Dung district brings special experiences such as cycling through the forest, hiking through the jungle, catching snails, clams and fishing, drinking honey coconut water, and enjoying grilled snail specialities.

Ca Mau province is currently constructing the Dat Mui Cultural Tourism Village, the tourism model associated with local OCOP products.

Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Dat Mui commune said that the commune has gradually perfected traditional craft chains and formed craft villages serving tourism, such as dried fish, dried shrimp and fish sauce-making villages so that visitors can witness and immerse themselves in the most authentic and vivid production activities.

Untapped potential

Experts said that each OCOP product represents the culture of a specific locality and brings special features from its raw materials and production process, and embraces value in cultural and spiritual aspects.

They said many OCOP products have not become popular despite their high quality. Therefore, it is essential to fully exploit the values in OCOP products and introduce them to tourists, they said.

To link tourism with OCOP products, it is necessary to have cooperation among all authorities and sectors to preserve and convey the cultural values of OCOP products.

Nguyen Trung Khanh, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said the administration would continue coordinating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and localities to focus on upgrading and investing in developing rural tourism sites associated with OCOP products.

Tran Anh Thu, Vice Chairman of the An Giang Provincial People’s Committee, said the province would focus on policies to promote the development of OCOPs as well as planning and developing raw material areas in a bid to build distinctive and sustainable OCOP products.

An Giang is focusing on developing its strengths in local handicraft products, such as the Khmer traditional silk weaving village in Van Giao commune, the Cham traditional silk weaving village in Chau Phong commune, and the My A silk weaving village in Tan Chau town as well as ironwork products in Phu Tan district.

To create added value for OCOP products and tourism activities in Dong Thap province, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Doan Tan Buu said the province values the development of ecotourism and agricultural tourism associated with OCOP products, such as village craft tours and cultural tours.

The province is trying to attract investment to develop eco-tourism associated with the value chain of typical products such as lotus, mango, Lai Vung mandarin, and tra fish, he added./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vietnam an important life insurance market in Asia

Vietnam remains a key life insurance market in Asia, the Insurance Association of Vietnam told a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on April 24.

It reported that there were nearly 14 million life insurance contracts as of the end of 2022, a 5% increase from the previous year.

But premiums rose by 12% to over 178 trillion VND (7.6 billion USD).

Of the contracts, 995,000 were through bancassurance, which accounted for 46% of the premiums.

Life insurance claims last year topped 44 trillion VND (1.9 billion USD), a 34% increase.

“The life insurance industry plays an important role in Vietnam’s economy, providing long-term protection to individuals and families,” Ngo Trung Dung, the association’s deputy general secretary, said.

“The general difficulties of the economy and people’s questions about life insurance recently do cause some anxiety,” he said.

He promised that the association would work closely with insurers to provide veracious information to customers and improve the latter’s service quality.

One of the solutions the two are planning is to review agents’ training to improve quality, Dung said.

The consulting, sales and appraisal processes would continue to be improved, he said.

“Our goal is to ensure that customers have full access to the best insurance products and services with clear, transparent insurance contracts that meet their needs.”

The life insurance market has 730,000 agents, Dung revealed.

Last year, over 3,000 were fined and had their certificates withdrawn, taking the number in the last three years to 9,000, he said.

The association and insurers were also committed to handling customers’ complaints quickly, fairly and transparently, he added./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Employers’ regulation-based Eid leave extension to avoid return peak

We have been accustomed to working from home since the pandemic Jakarta (ANTARA) – President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi’s) appeal for employees to extend their Eid al-Fitr leave days to break up traffic congestion during the Eid return flow is subject to regulations of respective employers, the Presidential Secretariat stated.”On his appeal, the president said that ‘the (leave days) are arranged by respective institutions or companies (through various schemes), such as extra leave days.’ Hence, (employees) can extend their leave period, work from their hometowns, or ask for permission from their superiors,” Presidential Secretariat’s Deputy for Protocol, Press, and Media Bey Machmudinnoted in a statement received here, Tuesday. Despite the appeal being directed at all employees, including state apparatuses, military and police officers, and private employees, they must adhere to their institutions’ leave procedures and coordinate with their superiors or the human resources department. “We have been accustomed to working from home since the pandemic, including online attendance recording, performance-based works, and others. However, those already in Jakarta should continue working. They do not need to extend the leave,” Machmudin stated. Earlier, Jokowi had urged employees returning to their hometowns during the Eid al-Fitr exodus period to delay their return to avoid the reverse flow peak expected on April 24-25, 2023, by extending their leave. The president noted that individuals can delay their return until after April 26. “To prevent congestion during the peak return flow on April 24-25, the government is recommending that people, who do not have urgent travel needs, avoid traveling during this time,” he stated in a video uploaded by the Presidential Secretariat monitored in Jakarta on Monday (April 24). The government has been able to properly manage the 2023 Eid homecoming flow despite the fact that it was the highest in history, he stated. baca-jugaRelated news: andgtov’t predicts peak of Eid exodus return flow to start on April 24Related news: Eid exodus travelers urged to delay return to April 26-30Related news: Road accidents down 39% during Eid exodus: Minister

Source: Antara News Agency

SAR team evacuates four foreign nationals in Mentawai waters

The Search And Rescue (SAR) team of the Mentawai Islands District, West Sumatra Province, managed to evacuate four foreign nationals and two Indonesian citizens after their ship encountered an engine failure in the Mentawai waters.”The ship lost its engine, then drifted, and help was then sought to be evacuated,” the head of Mentawai Islands District SAR, Akmal, stated in Mentawai, Tuesday. He remarked that information regarding the ship’s engine failure was first received by the SAR team from the Mentawai Islands Water and Air Police Corps at 00:40 local time. The four foreigners were Santos Junqueira (40), Parker JR David Timothy (40), Papageorge Andreas (52), and Prior Barbosa (34). The two Indonesian citizens who served as crew members were Joni (35) and Suardijen (47). kmal said the 18-meter-long Saraina motor ship drifted around the waters of North Sipora, or precisely between North Sipora Island and Awera Island. t the time of evacuation, the Mentawai SAR recorded wind speeds of 2 to 15 knots, with wave heights of 1.25 to 2.5 meters and in light rain conditions, he remarked. part from the SAR Team, personnel of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), National Police (Polri), the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), the Emergency Response Unit (Tagana), the medical team, and the local community also participated in assisting the evacuation process, Akmal remarked. The Mentawai SAR team also reminded the public, fishermen, tourists, and tour boat entrepreneurs to pay attention to weather conditions before sailing with reference to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency’s (BMKG’s) weather forecast. Moreover, they must ensure the ship’s logistical readiness, including sufficient fuel oil, check the condition of the ship’s engines, and prepare and re-check safety equipment, such as life vests and signal transmitters. In addition, people vacationing at tourist attractions, especially at beaches in the Mentawai Islands, must supervise their children while playing on the beach, Akmal emphasized. baca-jugaRelated news: Local government confirms no damage from Mentawai earthquakeRelated news: Residents flee homes after earthquake hits Mentawai Islands: BPBDRelated news: KPLP begins evacuating crew from tanker aground in Riau Island

Source: Antara News Agency

Laos eyes five gold medals at 32nd SEA Games

Lao athletes are eying five gold medals at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) which will take place in Cambodia in May, according to Lao Deputy Prime Minister Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune.

Speaking at a press conference on the delegation’s preparation for SEA Games held in Vientiane recently, he said the Lao athletes will compete in 32 out of the 46 events of the Games.

According to Lao officials, national teams and coaches participating in the biggest regional games have attended a rigorous training programme over the past 50 days.

The National Olympic Committee of Laos has hired coaches from Cuba, Cambodia, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Germany, Singapore and Myanmar to train athletes.

He also called on coaches and athletes to compete at the 32nd SEA Games in the spirit of friendship and solidarity.

More than 400 athletes from Laos participated in the 31st SEA Games in May 2022 in Vietnam, earning two gold, seven silver, and 32 bronze medals, placing ninth on the medal tally.

Source: Lao News Agency