14/10/2009 | 23:31:00

Ballots available for City poll

Foreign tourists and expatriates in the city can participate in a poll of the 100 most existing sites or activities in HCM City from now until the middle of next months.

Ballots can be obtained at the airport, at a selection of high-profit hotels, and attractions and shopping venues across the city. Votes can also be cast online at www.hcmc100e.info.

The hotels include Kim Do, Huong Sen, Bong Sen, Continental, Rex, Majestic, Caravelle, Vien Dong, First Hotel and May Hotel.

Ballots can also be picked up at Cu Chi Tunnel, History Museum, Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum , and Ho Chi Minh Museum.

The shopping venues include Tax Trade Centre, Miss Ao Dai Shopping Centre, Phuong Nam Lacquerware, and Tay Son Lacquerware.

Candidates are listed in 10 differently coloured ballots for 10 categories, including hotels, restaurants, attractions, dishes, souvenirs, tour programmes, festivals and events, shopping centres, coffee shops, and evening venues.

Voters can tick from one to 10 choices in any category, of which there are 15 candidates each.

The list of eligible names was shortlisted by a panel of advisors from submissions received from local tour operators and international travel agencies.

Guests can access information and images about the candidates via 50 touchscreen kiosks installed across the city.

The poll was launched at the initiative of the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in collaboration with industry associations. The aim was to present to visitors a complete image of the city and attract more guest.

The winners will be advertised at tourist fairs here and abroad and on Vietnam Airlines’ flights.

“We should be more active and reach out to markets in harsh times,” said Ton Nu Thi Ninh, a well-known diplomat and advisor to the programme.

“Vibrant and cosmopolitan,” said Ninh of how the city was viewed by foreign visitors, drawing on her extensive experience. “The vibrancy flies in their faces as a cultural shock, especially to those coming from tranquil cities like Ottawa or Canberra ,” she added.

The city is one of the most open in Southeast Asia , ready to assimilate foreign elements into its culture but remaining truly Vietnamese at heart, she said.

Ninh also noted that the country is well-known for its “unforced brilliant smiles” and a “great tolerance” of different races and religions./.

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