Central Quang Binh province welcomed nearly 2.5 million visitors in the first six months of this year, including 133,000 foreigners, for growth of 20 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively, against the same period last year, according to the local Department of Tourism.

The province, known as the "Kingdom of Caves", also witnessed a sharp increase in the number of visitors last year, to 3.9 million, including 200,000 foreigners, for a year-on-year rise of 18.2 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively.

Growth in foreign visitors was the result of active tourism marketing and promotion among different tourist segments in the country and abroad, according to the department.

Several outstanding programs have been implemented, such as the first promotion program on Quang Binh in Hollywood, with Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the director of the 2017 blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island”, sharing his experience of filming in Quang Binh, as well as joining in the annual New York Times Travel Show and offering cave experts with trips to discover Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, other caves, and the ecological network in Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Travel operators in the province have also invested and diversified their tourism products as well as improved service quality. Together with classic tours to popular caves, new packages have been introduced such as discovering new caves, river tours, culture and history products, and community-based experiences.

In the next six months, it expects to welcome more tourists to the annual cave festival in July and from promotion events in South Korea and on Google and YouTube. It targets putting Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park and Son Doong Cave among Vietnam’s tourism symbols, together with Ha Long Bay.

The department targets welcoming 4.3 million visitors this year, with some 250,000-300,000 foreigners, and to earn total revenue of about VND5 trillion ($215 million).

Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO twice - once in July 2003 and another in July 2015 - thanks to its impressive scenery and archeological value. Son Doong Cave was recognized in 2016 as the largest in the world by three international organizations: the UK-based Guinness World Records, the Hong Kong-based World Record Association, and the US and India-based World Kings.