Ky leads tourism ambassador race

Published:  10:59 Thursday - March 14, 2013

Ky leads tourism ambassador race

Model-turned-actress and businesswoman Ly Nha Ky, the first and last year’s holder of this position, is currently prevailing over the lesser-known but academically accomplished beauty Huynh Thi Ngoc Han, and the late applicant Do Thi Hong Thuan, an English teacher, in the heated race to become Vietnam’s new tourism ambassador.<br><br>


Actress Ly Nha Ky

According to statistics from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s International Cooperation Office during a March 13 meeting held to gauge opinions from 40 local journalists, Ky is currently leading in the headhunt.

Despite mixed public opinion on her performance as last year’s ambassador, Ky, who is one of those credited with successfully promoting Ha Long Bay in the race to gain worldwide recognition as one of the new natural world wonders, stands a very good chance of becoming the new tourism ambassador, which is a voluntary and unpaid position, VN Express reported.

Armed with attractive looks, great popularity, excellent foreign language skills and good relations in art and business circles, Ky is capable of calling for financial support for Vietnamese tourism as well as making tourism promotion products on her own, Tran Nhat Hoang from the ministry noted.

The high-profile beauty is also very dedicated to the job, as she spent a considerable amount of time and her own money in promoting Ha Long Bay and helping Vietnam become the host of the Asian Games (ASIAD) in 2019, Hoang elaborated.

Meanwhile, Han, who won the Miss Tourism subtitle of the 2011 Miss Ethnic Vietnam, holds 2 Master’s degrees in International Trade and Public Relations in Australia.

The 26-year-old beauty is currently working as a PR executive at Brisbane City Hall, as well as providing international trade counseling in Australia.

Han, whose popularity was considered to be limited compared to Ky’s, was honored by the mayor of Queensland state’s Brisbane city last year for her outstanding performance as an ambassador for international students.

She also took part in many student volunteer activities in Ho Chi Minh City.

Thus Han’s range of activity and influence is mainly in Australia, Hoang noted.

Meanwhile, Thuan, 28, who graduated from the Hanoi Foreign Trade University and earned a one-year scholarship to study at Australia’s Hinders University, currently works as an English teacher at a Hanoi high school.

Though Thuan also has some strong points, including being active in students’ social activities, having a wide circle of foreign friends and a good command of English, her popularity to the mass media is almost zero and her ability to mobilize support for the promotion of Vietnam’s tourism has yet to be proven, Hoang pointed out.

The three candidates also specified their plan of action.

Han said she will make the best of her relations and resources in Australia to promote Vietnam’s tourism in the country.

Meanwhile, Ky will mobilize international support, call for large companies to invest in tourism and continue to make tourism promotion products, including films.

The least-known, Thuan will take advantage of her good English writing skills to introduce Vietnamese tourism to the world via international cooperation channels, Vietnamese embassies and forums.

Concerns voiced

However, the possibility of Ky’s reelection has raised concerns among the press that Ky’s scandalous lifestyle may taint Vietnam's tourism reputation.

The hesitation mostly stemmed from some shocking recent public statements and scandals, including showing too much skin and showing off her wealth and deluxe costumes on the internet.

“We’re only responsible for Ky’s public statements as the tourism ambassador, we don’t care much about her personal life or scandals,” said Nguyen Van Tinh, head of the ministry’s International Cooperation Office.

The office also garnered media opinions on some other issues, including whether it should designate Vietnamese tourism ambassadors in key countries or regions.

The office will also collect expert opinions from tourism watchdogs and major local tour providers before presenting their findings to the ministry’s committee to decide on the winner.

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