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Actress Ly Nha Ky.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on September 21, appointed actress Ly Nha Ky as its first tourism ambassador for one year, starting from September 2011. The actress started her new role by a press conference in Hanoi on September 28. The decision has stirred up a public outcry.

Hue said that if Vietnam needs to have a beauty to welcome international visitors, Ly Nha Ky is a good choice, but she is not appropriate to be the country’s Tourism Ambassador. “Whether Ly Nha Ky has good knowledge of Vietnam’s tourism and the world tourism to do her job?” he wondered.

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, Fiditour’s representative, said that the tourism sector made a decision that is related to thousands of travel firms in Vietnam but it did not consult their opinions.

Phan Xuan Anh, director of Vietnam Travel Company, said that it is not important to have a tourism ambassador at this moment. He said the tourism sector should focus on key markets and profound activities rather than on surface activities.

“Ly Nha Ky does not make any considerable contribution to popular art, culture or tourism. On hearing her name, I can only think of someone who likes to expose her body,” said Ta Thi Cam Vinh, from the Ben Thanh Tourist.

Vu Huy Ngoc, from Vacation Travel Company, said that he wondered how Ly Nha Ky could persuade foreigner tourists to visit Vietnam when she herself is unpopular among travel agencies.

Cao Tri Dung, from Vitour, said choosing ambassadors should be publicized so that tourism businesses can nominate and vote.

Tran The Dung, from Young Generation Travel company, said a cultural ambassador should have a clean past while Ly Nha Ky involves with many scandals.

In May 2011, the actress angered many audiences when she wore a dress that showed part of her chest in a play titled “General Vo Nguyen Giap”, and the symphony of Dien Bien which was broadcast live on the national television channel.

At the Nha Trang Sea Festival in June, she was criticized for exhibiting 500 photos of herself in swimsuits and revealing clothes for a charity event. She is also criticized for taking many sexy photos. In addition, Ly Nha Ky is rumored with some love scandals.

Nguyen Van Tinh, head of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Department of International Cooperation, explained why Ly Nha Ky was appointed as the Tourism Ambassador.

According to Tinh, a tourism ambassador needs to be a celebrity who contributes to the society. Ly Nha Ky had nominated herself and expressed a strong desire to contribute to Vietnamese tourism. She can also speak English, German and Chinese. Besides, Ky was an ambassador for Operation Smile Organization in 2009, and vice-chairwoman of the Sheen Hok Charitable Organization in Vietnam in 2008. She is thus capable of raising funds to promote tourism.

This official also said that Ly Nha Ky has agreed to campaign for Ha Long Bay, suggested inviting Jackie Chan to come to Vietnam and promote this campaign, and said she would herself sponsor a conference on cultural industry in Hong Kong to promote Vietnam tourism.

As for the several scandals Ly Nha Ky had gotten herself into, Tinh said they belonged to the past.

The decision to appoint Ly Nha Ky as Vietnam’s first tourism ambassador for a year, therefore, will remain unchanged despite her past scandals, confirmed the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s spokesman To Van Dong.

“It’s not that everyone is against the decision. I read online news and saw many people supporting Ly Nha Ky. Her scandals aren’t about burning up anyone’s house or related to murders,” said Tinh. He said that his department had invited 10 beauty queens but none wanted to join them.

In an interview with local press, Ly Nha Ky affirmed that she would be prudent with everything she does and says.

“Everyone has two sides: instinctive and controlled. With a new role attached to national image, my words and actions will be adjusted accordingly. I hope everyone will look at the present me and the future me instead of the past me,” she said.

Born in the beach city of Vung Tau, Ly Nha Ky moved to Germany to pursue studies when she was 16. At 24, she returned home, started her acting career and became known for several TV series and movies.

Robert Tan, a Singaporean tourism expert, who has had close attachment with Vietnam’s tourism, said that some countries have chosen famous Vietnamese singers and actors as their tourism ambassadors in Vietnam, for example singer My Linh as tourism ambassador of South Korea and singer Hong Nhung as tourism ambassador of Malta. “Vietnam, thus, is impatient to seek someone as its tourism ambassador?” he questioned.

“If the tourism body chooses Ly Nha Ky as tourism ambassador, it should tell travel firms about tourism marketing programs that are based on her image. What will we advertise in the coming time? Her scandals should also be considered. However, the most important thing of Vietnam’s tourism now is keeping domestic tourists, because more Vietnamese choose foreign countries as their destinations,” Robert Tan said.

Some countries also appointed famous characters as their tourism ambassador, for example Jackie Chan of Hong Kong or Hello Kitty cat of Japan. Some others appointed tourism ambassador for specific markets.

Representative of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in HCM City said: “We only choose tourism ambassadors for specific markets that need promotion, for example India or Malaysia. It is very difficult to select a national tourism ambassador for the global market because each market has its own characters.”
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Create date : 04-10-2011 22:20:42

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