The Hanoitimes - A new expressway scheduled for completion in March 2018 will reduce travel times from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay to just an hour and a half.
The obvious transit point for people wishing to visit the bay is Hanoi, which is 180 kilometers (112 miles) to the west and home to an international airport. The journey currently takes at least three hours.
Hanoi to Ha Long Bay on an hour and a half by new expressway.
Van Don International Airport around 50 kilometers from the bay is also scheduled to open next spring. The US$330 million airport is designed to receive two million arrivals a year by 2020, and there are plans to expand the capacity to five million by 2030.
Officials said the new infrastructure is being put in place so that Ha Long and Quang Ninh Province can host a national tourism year for the first time in 2018 and the ASEAN Tourism Forum in January 2019.
The national tourism year will include a paragliding tournament in April, an international car race in June and a food festival in the fall. Ha Long Bay was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam.
Visitors to Ha Long during the first half of 2017 rose 12% on-year to more than 4.3 million, including 1.7 million foreign travelers, according to Quang Ninh's news portal. The bay was used to film the recent Hollywood blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island”, and has been raved about by many travel bloggers.
Meanwhile, the northeastern border province of Quang Ninh attracted more than 8.6 million tourists in the first ten months of 2017, including nearly 3.4 million foreigners, year-on-year jumps of 18 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
In 2017, Quang Ninh aims to serve 8.5 million visitors, including 3.5 million foreigners, and earn 13 trillion VND (572 million USD) in revenue. The rise was attributed to the creation of more attractive and better-quality products and services along with improved tourism infrastructure and transport, experts said.
Furthermore, several festivals were held such as Yen Tu festival, cherry and yellow apricot blossom festival, Ha Long-Quang Ninh tourism week, and Ha Long art programme. The diversification of tourism promotion activities drew much attention from domestic and foreign visitors.