The 2017 National Tourism Year kicked off in Lao Cai city, the northwestern mountainous province of Lao Cai on February 11. Attending the opening ceremony were representatives from the Party and Government, local officials and cultural counsellors from Laos, Thailand, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. This is the first of a series of culture and tourism events that will be held throughout the year in different localities with the aim to attract more local and foreign investors to the northwestern region. The 2017 National Tourism Year, themed “Northwest colours”, creates a good chance for regional localities to introduce and promote their tourism potential and strengths, thus attracting more and more domestic and international visitors. The event is also considered as a bridge to boost tourism cooperation among localities nationwide. Speaking at the opening speech, Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission and the Steering Committee for the Northwestern Region, stressed the significance of the event, adding that it aims to start an array of activities towards realising the target of turning tourism into a spearhead economic sector of the country. He expressed his belief that tourism in the region in particular and Vietnam in general will make breakthrough developments in 2017. Binh noted that tourism development in Vietnam is still yet to match the potential and advantages, citing limitations in the quality of tourism products, human resources, infrastructure and environmental sanitation. Head of Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh attends the event….