Vietnam backs C&I growth with new convention centre

Vietnam has announced the construction of the country’s largest convention centre. Located in Ho Chi Minh City, it will have four 12,000m2 exhibition halls, a conference hall and a four and five-star hotel. It will cost $25m (£14m), and work will begin at the end of the year with a completion date of early 2007. The centre joins Ho Chi Minh International Exhibition and Conference Centre, which previously hosted an Intel product launch and a Computer World Expo. Vietnam has witnessed a 12.7% rise in UK visitor numbers in the first six months of this year to 39,314, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Bing Tran, second secretary at the Embassy of Vietnam, said that around 4,000 UK visitors were business travellers last year. "The government is currently considering an international convention centre in Hanoi," he added. "At the moment, the conference sector is largely driven by resort hotels but these new convention centres will certainly result in a boost for Vietnam’s C&I sector." DHL, Motorola and Volvo are just some of the corporate names to have held events in the country recently, while The Grass Roots Group took 150 delegates from Coca-Cola out to Hanoi and Da Nang in October 2003. "Currently, Grass Roots views Vietnam as an incentive destination but the development of the new convention centre will certainly feature in our thinking," said head of events services Neil Pace. "The country has got so much going for it – exotic countryside, fabulous cuisine and very welcoming people. New capital investments can only enhance its appeal to the conference market." Meanwhile, Accor is boosting its portfolio with the opening of three properties for C&I groups. The four-star 122-room La Residence Hue opened in July 2005 and two Novotel properties will be opening in Nha Trang and Ha Long Bay in the next 18 months.

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