The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has launched the ninth national tourism photo contest, entitled “Explore Vietnam”.

First launched in 1990, the contest aims to introduce Vietnamese culture, land, and people to domestic and foreign travelers while attracting more visitors to the country, thus contributing to transforming tourism into a spearhead economic sector.

The contest is open to professional and amateur photographers who are Vietnamese citizens or expats living and working in Vietnam.

Applicants are encouraged to capture the natural beauty, historical sites, cultural practices and values, customs, festivals, and people of the country. Entries close on June 5.

One first, two second, and three third prizes are on offer, of VND15 million ($650), VND10 million ($430), and VND5 million ($215), together with an outbound trip for each. There will also be five consolation prizes of VND2 million ($85) and a voucher for a hotel room in Vietnam for each.

The eighth contest in 2018 attracted over 1,000 entries with 16,370 photos.

This year’s contest is also in celebration of the 60th year of the foundation of Vietnam’s tourism sector (July 9, 1960), and will contribute to the sector achieving its target of welcoming 20.5 million foreign visitors this year, according to VNAT.

Vietnam welcomed a record 18 million foreign arrivals in 2019, up 16.2 per cent year-on-year, and catered to 85 million domestic travelers. Revenues from tourism-related activities reached VND726 trillion ($31.2 billion).

The target this year is 20.5 million international tourists and 90 million domestic travelers, with over VND830 trillion ($35.9 billion) in revenue.