Travel Sustainable badge for Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago, Booking.com lists seven sustainable properties in Vietnam worth visiting for your next trip

October 21, 2022 By Uncategorized Comments Off

With the gradual return of traveling comes a shift in behavior among travelers from around the world. According to Booking.com’s 2022 Sustainable Travel Report*, an encouraging 87% of Vietnamese travelers say they have stayed in a sustainable accommodation over the past year, and they are encouraged to do so again soon.

Nearly half (42%) of Vietnamese travelers mentioned that they prefer to stay in a sustainable accommodation as it helps reduce their impact on the environment, and more than a third (34%) believe sustainable properties treat the community better.

​Encouraging travelers to practice sustainability as they go back to travel, Booking.com lists some of the top properties awarded with a Travel Sustainable Badge, recognizing the sustainable practices of these accommodations. Explore these unique accommodations and experience the beauty of staying in a property that practices sustainability which benefits the local communities, and the environment!

Topas Ecolodge – Sapa

Topas Ecolodge is a boutique resort situated atop a beautiful hillside deep in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, Sapa, Northern Vietnam. Nominated as one of the best places to stay if you care about the Earth by National Geographic, Topas Ecolodge provides the perfect setting to indulge in guilt-free modern convenience all while protecting the surrounding environment and local cultures.

The sustainable property offers 41 rustic mountain bungalows designed out of local white granite in a minimalistic chalet-style, providing all comforts while giving way for the magnificent and raw natural beauty of Vietnam to take the center stage.

From its first day of operations, Topas Ecolodge has been working with DANIDA (Denmark’s development cooperation, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to become a showcase of sustainable tourism in remote areas. Apart from built-in facilities and their different sustainable practices, Topas Ecolodge also supports the community by spreading awareness and educational support to their staff as well as local residents.

Heritage Cruises Cat Ba Archipelago

With over two decades of expertise in the cruise and luxury tourism industry, Heritage Cruises Cat Ba Archipelago is the first heritage and boutique cruise company to operate sustainably in both Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang of Vietnam. Each cruise ship is a one-of-a-kind vessel which brings on the inspirational art, tradition and culture of the local region.

The vessel is built using sustainable material and designed in a way that would maximize natural light and airflow to reduce the need for air conditioning. Apart from that, there is no plastic used on the cruise and the cruise’s staff frequently clean up the trekking trails, island and beach areas to ensure the pristine beaches and coves in their operating areas. 

Banyan Tree Lang Co – Hue

Located in Central Vietnam, Banyan Tree Lăng Cô is a multi-awarded property that offers an escape to a paradise of luxurious all-pool villas nestled between the azure waters of the East Sea and the Truong Son mountain range.

The resort provides tourists with a luxurious hideaway, while being close to destinations that promise cultural and historical exploration such as the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Hoi An Ancient Town, the Imperial Citadel of Hue and My Son Sanctuary.

Sustainability and social responsibility have always been at the heart of the Banyan Tree brand. Apart from vernacular architectural styles and locally-sourced materials, the property employs an efficient energy and waste management system and maintains a supply chain of partners who share matching values.

Four Seasons Resort the Nam Hai – Hoi An

With an idyllic location on Vietnam’s culturally rich central coast, the Nam Hai offers a portal to three extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage sites and a breezy respite on the country’s most celebrated beach. You’ll have a chance to reconnect with your loved ones through various activities  – whether you take to the East Sea by kayak, explore the glory of imperial Hue or simply savor quiet moments in your own tranquil villa.

Since it was founded in 1960, the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts embraces the Golden Rule – a simple idea that the company should treat others the way it would want to be treated. Today, this vision is deeply embedded in the company’s culture and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) programs that proactively seek to preserve and regenerate the beautiful places in which the company operates.

Deeming sustainability as a serious commitment and business strategy, the Four Seasons Resorts has been a member of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA) since 2012, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) Sustainability Committee – the largest hotel association in the US, and the Corporate Eco Forum (CEF), an invitation-only membership group for large companies.

Six Senses Con Dao – Con Dao Island

Six Senses is among the first luxurious and sustainable villas and resorts in Vietnam and has since then played an active and daily role in improving the ecological impact and carbon footprint of the resort and spa.

Offering an exclusive island hideaway resort amidst a pristine marine and national park, Six Senses Con Dao consists of 50 sea-view villas built from wood and eco-friendly materials with large windows for catching natural light, equipped with solar energy system to save electricity.

To protect the green turtle on the island, Six Senses Con Dao has been launching an ambitious project in cooperation with Con Dao National Park authority to help optimize egg laying for green turtles and decrease the mortality rate of turtle hatching. The project includes a safe incubation to protect the turtle’s eggs from threats. If you are lucky enough, you can get to watch mama turtles laying eggs right on the resort premises.

The sustainable efforts of Six Senses Con Dao were recognized by the National Geographic Traveler as one of the world’s top eco-friendly resorts. In September 2022, the resort was voted the No.1 resort hotel in Southeast Asia by Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards.

Komorebi An Son – Da Lat

Da Lat is known as the land of dreamy and romantic souls because of its atmosphere and green natural scenery. The city also attracts visitors for its beautifully decorated cafes and homestays hidden in the hills throughout the city, where there’s a place for anyone to watch nature and slowly enjoy the beauty of life, a luxury that is hard to find in metropolitan areas.

Sustainable tourism, therefore, is a way to preserve and keep the inherent beauty of Da Lat intact for ourselves and future trips. Komorebi An Son, a sustainable property recognized by Booking.com, offers a diverse selection of rooms for the dreamers. Equipped with a shared kitchen that is full of appliances for cooking enthusiasts, one can enjoy relaxing in the garden of this hill villa, or visit nearby attractions such as Truc Lam Pagoda, Yersin Park, Palace 3.

Sala Grand TuyHoa – Phu Yen

Phu Yen is a central coastal province in the South Central Coast region, where the untouched beach and poetic natural scenery can immediately steal one’s mind away.

Located in Tuy Hoa, a few steps from Tuy Hoa Beach, Sala Grand TuyHoa Hotel – a Sustainable Property recognized by Booking.com – provides accommodation with a restaurant, free bikes and an outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is equipped with water-efficient toilets and showers, provides the option to opt out daily room cleaning or towels changing, and prioritize locally sourced food supply.

One spectacular attraction among many that Phu Yen offers is Ghenh Da Dia. The attraction has a unique and one-of-a-kind structure. From a distant look, one can see the basalt rock folds up like a giant honeycomb, creating a mysterious and strange beauty that is like nowhere else on earth.

Planning for one’s sustainable trip has been made easier with Booking.com’s Travel Sustainable badge – a credible, globally relevant sustainability measure that will provide highly coveted information to travellers all over the world  looking to make more sustainable travel choices. The Travel Sustainable badge and an overview of individual property sustainability efforts are visible to travellers on property pages across the Booking.com app and website globally.

From Vietnaminsider

HANOI: The former capital of French Indochina and now the heart of the nation

October 8, 2022 By Uncategorized Comments Off

In autumn of 1010, Emperor Ly Thai To decided to move the capital of the kingdom to Dai La (Hanoi today) from Hoa Lu (present Ninh Binh). He was mindful that the place was an ideal location with many advantages for wet rice farming and traffic thanks to a number of waterways, especially the Red River, the backyard of Ba Vi mountain, promising the long-term prosperous development of a capital and a nation. After moving the capital and renaming it Thang Long, Ly Cong Uan ordered the construction of a citadel to protect the city. Since then, Thang Long has become the political, economic, and cultural center of the country.

When the Nguyen dynasty was established in 1802, Emperor Gia Long moved the capital to Hue. Thang Long was no longer the capital, its Chinese characters was changed from 昇龍 (“Rising dragon”) to 昇隆 (“Ascent and prosperity”), aiming to reduce the sentiment of Le Dynasty. Emperors of Vietnam usually used dragon (龍 long) as a symbol of their imperial strength, and power. In 1831, the Nguyen emperor Minh Mang renamed it Hanoi (河內, “Between Rivers” or “River Interior”). Hanoi was occupied by the French in 1873 and passed to them ten years later. As Hanoi, it was located in the protectorate of Tonkin and became the capital of French Indochina after 1887.

The city was occupied by the Imperial Japanese in 1940 and liberated in 1945, when it briefly became the seat of the Viet Minh government after Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam. However, the French returned and reoccupied the city in 1946. After nine years of fighting between the French and Viet Minh forces, Hanoi became the capital of an independent North Vietnam in 1954. The French Army withdrew that year and the People’s Army of Vietnam and International Control Commission occupied the city under the terms of the 1954 Geneva Conference. Following the end of the Vietnam and US war, Hanoi became the capital of a reunified Vietnam when North and South Vietnam were reunited on 2 July 1976.

Today, Hanoi is still a city of rivers, of which the Red River is the largest. For Hanoians, the Red River is not only a source of life, it is also a reflection of Vietnamese history and the capital city’s long prosperity. Heritage buildings such as churches, grand cathedrals, opera houses, clocks, colonial buildings, villas, museums, palaces, river ports, and iron bridges remain unchanged though some have disappeared. Many boulevards with French names have changed to Vietnamese names. Regrettably, the heritage street Bach Thai Buoi was changed to Nguyen Huu Huan alley in 1954 on the bank of Red River, but his former two-story office houses in Hang Muoi Street remain intact facing the clock with his former inland waterway port near Chuong Duong Bridge.

High-rise buildings are rare in this city which is striving to retain its character. Grand colonial buildings, tranquil lakes, and a maze of narrow streets provide intriguing contrasts. Hanoi is an elegant city with tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake (Grand Lac on postcards) at its heart. North of the lake are the bustling 36 guild streets of the Old Quarter, each street named after the trade that used to take place there. Hanoi is truly a city of contrasts with areas of wide boulevards and large colonial buildings, reflecting its period as a French Protectorate, and other areas truly Vietnamese with a muddle of narrow streets which bustle from dawn to dusk.

Similarly to the guilded age of Europe, “Hanoi’s 36 districts” is Vietnam’s version of the guild concept. In the past, as artisans moved to the capital city to do business, they gathered together in this area to share the resources and built communal houses and their temples. As a result, many of the streets were named after the crafts sold at that individual street. Pho Hang Muoi (Rue du Sel or Salt Street), Pho Hang Bun (Vermicelli), Pho Hang Ma (Paper Product), Pho Hang Bac (Silver), Pho Hang Non (palm-leaf conical hat), … are examples of the streets carrying the name of the products sold there. Explore my rich collection of postcards about Hanoi’s old guild streets and iconic buildings of the capital of Indochina and now the heart of Vietnam.

WTM London 2022: Lux Group to WOW travel agents and tours operators in the UK with new cruises, secret hideaway collection, authentic and unique travel products.

(Hanoi, Vietnam, September 27, 2022) With consumer behavior and booking patterns now changing, the upcoming 43rd edition of World Travel Market London will be showcasing how the industry has evolved and reshaped itself over the last two years to meet the demands of the new consumer market. This is truly a must-attend show that will bring the industry together and really determine the direction in which it is headed.

The entire world is looking forward towards the biggest event of the tourism and hospitality industry to be held from November 07 – 09, 2022 in London. Since its inception in 1980, this gala event of travel and tourism welcomes thousands of exhibitors and attendees from all corners of the world and from all related disciplines of the industry starting from travel agencies, leisure to business travel operators, tourist boards and associations, group tour organizers, destination management companies, MICE and speciality tourism experts, tourist attractions, cruise and ferry service providers, airlines, hotels and resorts, reservation systems, technology, telecommunication, and mass media.

Lux Group at WTM London 2019

Restoring confidence in travel, through its unmatched global reach and network, this internationally recognized platform creates and contributes immense opportunities for industry professionals to execute business while sketching new dimensions for business expansion and innovation. This year in November, WTM 2022 will be welcoming 5000 exhibitors with a hope to experience a footfall of nearly 51,000 attendees and over one million on-stand business meetings. WTM London is more than just a tradeshow that paves the way for the growth and development of the industry while shaping the future of travel and tourism. It is like a global meet where industry professionals, investors, influencers, journalists, students, and tourism ministry departments connect, learn and identify commercial opportunities to do partnership business with an aim of sharing economy.

Lux Group is highly optimistic about WTM 2022 edition because of its revolutionary approach towards tours and activities sector through digitalization. The company’s Founder CEO, Mr. Pham Ha will be attending the event at Stand: AS870 with VNAT/VITA with a special focus towards “WOW Vietnam” With great hope and expectation towards new business alliances and ideas, Mr. Ha said, “WTM London is always the most important annual business meeting for the global industry to develop and deepen our business alliances with our existing and new merchants to expand our brand reach and luxury travel services to broader audiences in an efficient way. This year, WTM 2022 will add value to our expertise of highlighting the trendy tours and activities sector that still seeks for digital development.

“It is time to reconnect, recover, we are delighted to launch the Secret Hideaway Collection (www.secret-hideaways.com) for travel connoisseurs who want to discover, dream, explore, relax, indulge, experience and immerse in the natural and cultural heritage of Vietnam and Asia. They enjoy the best of Asia’s hospitality experiences through our curated collection of boutique hotels, resorts, river boats, yachts, and our unique Asia travel itineraries. Travel with a difference where the difference is the exclusive collection by Lux Travel Dmc – full service travel solutions for leisure and business that make a positive difference in the destinations you visit”. Said Pham Ha Founder of Lux Group.

A World Travel Awards winner 2022, non-stop working for the last two years of pandemic Covid 19, Lux Travel Dmc responded, resolidified, reinvented, restructured, and recovered under the umbrella of Lux Group, a group of small giants, an award-winning Asian travel and hospitality group with more than 20 years delivering authentic and unique experiences. Complementing its all-inclusive 5-star Lux Cruises (www.lux-cruises.com) services in Halong Bay and Nha Trang and soon Quy Nhon and Phu Quoc under the brand name of Emperor Cruises (www.emperorcruises.com), this year Lux Group (www.luxgroup.vn) will be introducing its latest launch, Heritage Cruises that has been conceptualized and designed to touch the heritage of Vietnam through the Red River and Gulf of Tonkin.

Launched in September 2019, Heritage Cruises is the first 5-star boutique cruise in Vietnam that will be sailing through the Red River and Gulf of Tonkin reconnecting culture and heritage of Northern Vietnam. This will be an exclusive cruise experience for 40-60 guests aboard with a medley of experiential activities with the locals like spotting endangered wildlife in secluded lagoons and Cat Ba National Park, fishing and visiting in Lan Ha Bay fishing villages, kayaking through the Gulf of Tonkin and so on. Heritage Cruises (www.heritagecruises.com) phenomenal experience is ideal for charters, honeymooners, heritage enthusiasts, free independent travelers, families, leisure travelers, and celebrities. The onboard floating exhibition at L’Art de l’Annam art gallery is one the gems that sparkle amidst the emerald ripples of Gulf of Tonkin.

Owing to location advantage of WTM London, Lux Group highly focuses on British and Irish markets along with other global regions as these are one of the major markets for promoting Southeast Asia tourism. Overall Southeast Asia is one of the most attractive zones in the Asia Pacific that is attracting millions of tourists every year and the steep rise indicates a positive and sustainable growth until 2025. Besides highlighting its luxury travel packages with experiential traveling as the key focus for leisure and business trips, Lux Group is also keen to develop some new business alliances and close deals in WTM London for its MICE services and special interest tourism in all its five countries of operation in Southeast Asia. The plethora of luxury travel services and packages from Lux Group will undeniably augment the opulence of Stand: AS870 at Excel London during the 3-day event of WTM 2022 and all industry professionals and leaders are cordially invited to join and meet Mr. Pham Ha at this show.

What is a travel management company?

Global business travel industry spending was expected to hit USD 1.7 trillion by 2022, and despite the crisis, business travel is bouncing back fast. It means many businesses are now looking for a TMC: Travel Management Company so that they’re as prepared as can be for when business travel returns to 100%.

A travel management company is essentially a travel agent or travel agency for corporate travel needs. As technology evolves, we’re beginning to see more personalized TMC solutions providing so much more than the ability to only book travel. Business travel programs need TMCs that are more tech-savvy than ever before.

The Definition of a Travel Management Company (TMC)

A Travel Management Company (TMC) is a travel agent that fully manages the business travel requirements delegated by an individual, company or organisation to fundamentally save clients both time and money.

A TMC is also commonly known as a business travel agency or corporate travel provider.

As opposed to the traditional travel agent, which will usually deal with occasional leisure travel needs, a travel management company provides on-going services with the aim of providing cost savings, keeping control of a travel policy and allowing the client to spend less time on time-consuming travel arrangements.

A travel management company will typically use a GDS (Global Distribution System like Sabre or Amadeus) displaying real time availability to book flights, hotels and cars as well as other trusted software systems like Evolvi for train bookings.

Services Provided by a Travel Management Company

As well as simply making flight or hotel reservations, the TMC will offer many other ancillary services such as aircraft charter, airport lounges, parking and transfers, hotel bed requests, car hire, chauffeurs, foreign exchange, group travel, hotel bill backs, insurance, leisure travel, marine travel, meal requests, meet and greets, passport and visa procurement, rail tickets, roadshow services and venue sourcing.

Company and individual profiles are safely stored ensuring all personal travel requests are adhered to within an overall travel policy with every booking.

Other management services will often include MIS reporting, account management, risk management, cost/expense management, traveller tracking/security and travel policy adherence. Many TMCs will now also provide online self-booking tools whereby organisations can make their own flight and hotel reservations and bookings. Travel management companies will also typically negotiate with vendors/suppliers to provide discounted fares and loyalty programs.

The Future of the Global Travel Industry

What’s the future of the global travel industry? As economic prosperity rises throughout the world, the travel industry will be flooded by people from all over the world, and businesses are going to be at the forefront of this growth pushing their services to meet demand.

Expect the top 20 travel companies in the world to continues pushing the industry to new heights. The main thing to keep in mind going forward as more people travel from all over the world is that the future will be about more travelers and easier to reach places.

Rank Company Sales (USD billions) Headquarters No. of employees
1 Expedia Group $99 billion Bellevue, Washington, USA 24,000
2 Booking Holdings $92.7 billion Norwalk, Connecticut, USA 24,500
3 American Express Global Business Travel $33.7 billion Jersey City, New Jersey, USA 17,400
4 BCD Travel $27.1 billion Utrecht, Netherlands 13,800
5 CWT $25 billion Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 18,000
6 Flight Centre $16 billion Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 20,600
7 Travel Leaders Group $7.12 billion New York City, New York, USA 4,000
8 American Express Travel $6.27 billion New York City, New York, USA 5,000
9 Direct Travel $5.4 billion Centennial, Colorado, USA 2,000
10 Corporate Travel Management $5 billion Denver, Colorado, USA 725
11 Fareportal $4.32 billion New York City, New York, USA 3,700
12 American Automobile Association $3.94 billion Heathrow, Florida, USA 4,401
13 Travel and Transport $3.2 billion New York City, New York, USA 1,610
14 Frosch $2.05 billion New York City, New York, USA 1,125
15 Omega World Travel $1.41 billion Fairfax, Virginia, USA 540
16 JTB Americas Group $1.37 billion Torrance, California, USA 2,234
17 World Travel $1.26 billion Exton, Pennsylvania, USA 523
18 World Travel Holdings $1.2 billion Wilmington, Massachusetts, USA 1,239
19 Ovation Travel Group $1.16 billion New York City, New York, USA 585
20 ATG $857 million New Albany, Ohio, USA

Vietnam Attracts the High-End Traveler

September 12, 2022 By Uncategorized Comments Off

Luxury Travel in Vietnam on the Rise and Affordable

Vietnam is emerging as a luxury destination in the world tourism map, Mr. Pham Ha, a travel guru in the tourism industry in Vietnam reveals the current luxury travel trends and his products for 2022. Ha is the founder and CEO of Lux Group which is group of small giants including Lux Limo, Lux Mice, Lux Hotels and Resorts, Adventura Travel, Secret Hideaways, Lux Travel Dmc, Luxury Travel, Emperor and Heritage Cruises.

The Travel Experts of Virtuoso in the U.S. just completed a trend survey of its member agencies, each of whom specializes in catering to the needs of luxury travelers. The survey indicates that Vietnam and Cambodia are the hottest destinations in Southeast Asia.

“With new luxury hotels and world class golf courses having recently opened or set to open soon, and the introduction of luxury train journeys, exclusive cruises and upscale private tours spanning the length of the country, Vietnam is fast emerging as an exciting destination for the high-end traveler.” said Pham Ha.

Today’s luxury travelers want to be entertained and stimulated, rather than simply pampered, and Vietnam offers a magical mix of tropical beaches, post-colonial charm, a string of world heritage sites, stunning inland scenery, world-renowned cuisine and a home-grown flair for hospitality.

“Today, luxury travel is about experiences and doesn’t need to be limited to the super rich. Indeed, it is a little-known fact that almost anybody can afford to travel in style, elegance and comfort without breaking the bank or even spending much more than traveling ordinarily. The world of luxury travel is actually a very accessible one.” reveals Pham Ha.

Upscale tours today also offer “off the beaten track” experiences. In a credit crunch environment, high end tourists also expect efficiency, seamless travel, value for the money and a return on personal values. Many will opt for short trips for their families which offer a slice of local culture, a splash of adventure, and authentic experiences.

Upscale tailor-made tours in Vietnam now come replete with yacht, cruises, helicopter tours, limousine services, and the whole nine yards.

There is also plenty of flexibility for all tours. Travelers are free to request helicopter tours, cycling excursions to craft villages, scuba diving or snorkeling trips, reservations at the finest restaurants in the land, meetings with renowned artists, chefs and designers, shopping recommendations, spa reservations, tours with special-interest lecturers, and exclusive access to local activities and cultural events.

Each day, tours are designed with flexibility to suit travelers’ personal interests, schedule and energy level. When it comes to luxury tours, the sky’s truly the limit. Lux Travel DMC (www.luxtraveldmc.com) has just won a World Travel Awards 2022 as a Vietnam’s leading luxury destination management company confirming this trend and position of Vietnam luxury tourism in the world tourism map.

What is the difference between a DMC and a tour operator

September 9, 2022 By Blog Comments Off

In the middle of the 19th century, after an ideological change brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the need for leisure and recreational activities arose, allowing the consolidation of tourism as a developing industry.

In 1841 the first group trip in history was registered, planned, and organized by “The Father of Tourism,” Thomas Cook (1808-1892).

Time after, he would create the first travel agency, the oldest in the world, “Cook and Son.” These revolutionary ideas would have an impact on modern tourism in the not-too-distant future.

The arrival of globalization and the evolution of transportation means motivating a phenomenon known as the “Tourist Boom” (1950-1973). This exponential growth gives rise to the need to manage destinations.

The tourist can acquire different principal and complimentary services just by contacting a tourist agent. This allowed the development of other organizations or companies in charge of integrating packages to market them and provide a better service to the tourist. And this is when the figure of Tour Operator starts.

Tour Operator History

The first to emerge are travel agencies, retail companies that offer tourism products or services with or without intermediaries; they are focused on the client’s needs, conceive, create, plan, organize and execute tourism packages for small groups to a mass-market (DATATUR, 2006). Unlike other agents, their priority is to sell and manage package programs for their portfolio of clients.

With time and the expansion of mass tourism, the need to mass-produce to satisfy the destination’s demand was born. Tourist agents had to adapt by creating wholesale tourist products, setting up agencies where the experience and service have been reduced for a more accessible price.

These agents are known as tour operators, organizations that participate in tourism activities as intermediaries between the final consumer and the tourism product (WTO, 1998).

In other words, within the tourism market, they are the creators and distributors of tourism products in destinations that are generally commercial, integrating principal services (lodging, transportation, and food) and complimentary services (tours, excursions, guided visits, etc.).

Whose function is to facilitate trips that are difficult to arrange independently, creating large-scale tourism packages and circuits, marketing them to wholesalers at a single price, or distributing them directly to the client.

Benefits of contracting a Tour Operator

Affordable prices.
Provides a selection of destinations in a specific region
Facilitates travel, packages, and transportation to market trends
The convenience of acquisitions. The tourist purchases all the necessary services (lodging, transportation, food, tour activities) from a single tour operator.

DMC History

In Europe in 1977, Tom Wibecker began to use the term Destination Management Company (DMC) to describe organizations that destroy the standards of traditional tour operators or wholesalers they seek to provide a quality service to the customer. In the mid-’80s, the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives (SITE) acknowledged the peculiar meaning of DMCs.

Destination Management Company (DMC) are professional tour operators and product managers. Offering the best principal and complimentary services thanks to their extensive knowledge of the destination.

A DMC company is a specialists in the planning and organizing of any event, designing itineraries and logistic programs based on the client’s needs, capable of coordinating all local suppliers.

Their vast experience allows them to provide consulting services, in addition to their excellent logistics and management. Their dedicated anticipation of the event elements is another crucial point, ensuring comfort and safety. Successful execution will bring a good reputation for the DMC, exceeding the expectations of all participants.

There are three types of DMCs based on the design and needs of the client that hires their services. That is, by the nature of the group: business (congresses, conventions, fairs, and incentive trips). Specialized (they organize pre-designed trips with a focus such as cultural, sun and beach, ecotourism, romance, among others). And the mixed (combination of the two previous ones).

Benefits of contracting a DMC

Personalized service generating an added value in the tourist’s experience.
Design of unique and creative products tailored to the customer’s needs.
They perfectly know the characteristics and conditions of the destination, can provide access to exclusive locations.
Negotiation capacity to determine the costs associated with the requested requirements.
They are skilled in planning, coordinating, organizing, and supervising events.
They provide advisory and consulting services.
High quality (hygiene, attention, reception, orientation).
Solid relationships and connections that maximize the budget.
In addition to functioning as network generating elements through the concentration of the global supply of tourism services provided by small local businesses (Jamal and Getz, 1995). They also function as network .

So, what is the difference between tour operators and DMCs?

In short, the tour operator creates products for a mass market where the main objective is sales volume with limited customer service. On the other hand, the local integrated travel agencies or DMC’s have a specialized approach by niches and provide personalized attention, and customer satisfaction is their principal objective.

Christopher H. Lee, president of ACCESS California, uses a peculiar analogy to refer to this type of organization’s work. His philosophy poses contrasts aspects of a DMC with an architect since this organization can design an event thanks to its vast knowledge and experience in the field to satisfy the requirements of the meeting, convention, congress, or incentive trip, in addition to meeting the client’s expectations by optimizing the destination’s resources and limiting itself to the infrastructure of the area.

With the digital era, tourism has evolved towards new technologies, creating new distribution channels through networks such as the Internet, modernizing its services, and offering new tourism products.

Visit our award-winning destination management compnay at
www.luxtraveldmc.com

Văn hóa là nguồn lực đầu vào cho phát triển kinh tế

Sự khác biệt, độc đáo ở văn hóa, con người, cảnh quan thiên nhiên và ẩm thực là tài nguyên, thế mạnh cho du lịch Việt Nam phát triển một cách bền vững. Với nhiều doanh nghiệp du lịch, đây cũng chính là nguồn lực để họ khai thác, tiếp tục vươn lên mạnh mẽ, đóng góp cho sự phục hồi của du lịch và kinh tế đất nước.

Nhân dịp đầu năm mới 2022, ông Phạm Hà, Chủ tịch Hội đồng quản trị, kiêm CEO Tập đoàn Lux Group chuyên đầu tư, kiến tạo, kinh doanh những sản phẩm, dịch vụ du lịch siêu sang tại Việt Nam đã có những chia sẻ về vấn đề này.

Là doanh nghiệp lữ hành có thế mạnh đón du khách quốc tế đến Việt Nam và đưa người Việt Nam đi du lịch nước ngoài, sứ mệnh quảng bá văn hóa Việt Nam của Lux Group được ông triển khai ra sao?

Lux Group tự hào về văn hóa, di sản, lịch sử của Việt Nam và chúng tôi coi đó là sứ mệnh của người làm du lịch cho khách quốc tế đến và người Việt Nam đi du lịch. Đồng thời, chúng tôi dùng “sức mạnh mềm” văn hóa làm nguồn lực đầu vào cho phát triển kinh tế.

Chúng tôi có một hệ sinh thái bao gồm vận chuyển, lữ hành, du thuyền với hai thương hiệu Emperor Cruises và Heritage Cruises hoạt động tại những vùng vịnh biển đẹp như vịnh Nha Trang, Hạ Long, Bái Tử Long, Lan Hạ. Sắp tới, chúng tôi đưa thương hiệu Emperor Cruises Legend Phú Quốc vào kinh doanh tại Phú Quốc. Lấy cảm hứng từ bài thơ “Tây Tiến” của nhà thơ Quang Dũng, chúng tôi xây dựng khu nghỉ núi Secret Hideaways Pù Luông, Thanh Hóa. Tất cả những thương hiệu này đều giầu cảm xúc, những câu chuyện văn hóa và lịch sử Việt Nam để giới thiệu cho du khách quốc tế.

Trong chiến lược phát triển ngành công nghiệp văn hóa của đất nước, theo ông ngành du lịch có vai trò như thế nào trong việc quảng bá, xuất khẩu văn hóa?

Tôi đi nhiều nơi trên thế giới thì thấy rằng Việt Nam chúng ta có nhiều lợi thế cạnh tranh trong kỷ nguyên 4.0. Ba lĩnh vực chúng ta có thể đi tắt đón đầu và phát triển nhanh chóng vì nhiều tiềm năng và có sự khác biệt độc đáo là du lịch, nông nghiệp và công nghệ thông tin. Du lịch Việt Nam phát triển mạnh mẽ trong thời gian qua và khẳng định là một ngành kinh tế, đóng góp khoảng 10% GDP và tạo ra hơn 2 triệu việc làm trực tiếp và gián tiếp, góp phần xuất khẩu tại chỗ, quảng bá văn hóa di sản, con người đất nước Việt Nam.

So với các nước Đông Nam Á như Thái Lan hay Malaysia, Việt Nam khác biệt, độc đáo ở văn hóa, con người, cảnh quan thiên nhiên và ẩm thực. Đây là tài nguyên và thế mạnh rất lớn để phát triển du lịch Việt Nam một cách bền vững. Với thế mạnh này, Việt Nam cần cụ thể hóa việc coi du lịch là một ngành kinh tế thực sự, phát huy giá trị tài nguyên du lịch, định vị lại thương hiệu du lịch quốc gia như du lịch di sản hay du lịch biển.

Đồng thời, tập trung vào sự thỏa mãn của du khách; tăng chất hơn là lượng, từng bước tháo gỡ những nút thắt như thể chế chính sách, đào tạo nguồn nhân lực có chất lượng, tạo nhiều trải nghiệm du lịch mới lạ, hấp dẫn cho du khách đến dễ dàng hơn để họ đến vui hơn và tiêu tiền nhiều hơn và xúc tiến du lịch sao cho hiệu quả hơn.

Là một doanh nhân rất yêu văn hóa, ông có đam mê sưu tầm tranh, viết sách, bình thơ…. Điều này đã giúp gì cho ông trong việc chèo lái doanh nghiệp trong những thời điểm đầy sóng gió?

Tôi làm trong nghề hạnh phúc. Sứ mệnh cá nhân của tôi là mang lại hạnh phúc (deliveringhappiness) cho cá nhân, gia đình, đồng nghiệp, tổ chức và cộng đồng bằng “5P”, trong tiếng Anh là Passion, Purpose, People, Planet và Prosperity (làm vì đam mê, có mục tiêu rõ ràng, làm vì con người, hành tinh tốt đẹp hơn, xanh hơn, đẹp hơn và vì sự thịnh vượng mỗi cá nhân, của doanh nghiệp và cộng đồng).

Cuộc đời là hàm tổng của các lựa chọn, tôi chọn du lịch và đó là nghề hạnh phúc, tôi mang lại hạnh phúc, chạm vào cảm xúc với những sản phẩm trải nghiệm mình làm ra. Tôi cũng hơi nghệ sĩ trong một doanh nhân nên đâu đấy cũng là những tác phẩm du thuyền nhưng mỗi chiếc là một độc bản giữa thiên nhiên, một câu chuyện hay phản ánh câu chuyện của cuộc đời tôi, giấc mơ thủa nhỏ thành hiện thực.

Tôi diễm phúc cảm được nghệ thuật, biết yêu cái đẹp và sáng tạo ra những tạo tác từ yêu thương và đưa những yếu tố văn hóa và nghệ thuật dân tộc, những câu chuyện lịch sử vào sản phẩm du lịch trải nghiệm. Đó cũng là sự khác biệt độc đáo mà tôi tâm huyết đặt vào mỗi dự án tôi làm.

Được biết, ông rất ngưỡng mộ tinh thần kinh doanh của doanh nhân Bạch Thái Bưởi, vậy trong giai đoạn đầy thách thức hiện nay, tinh thần này đang tiếp lửa như thế nào cho ông?

Cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi là một nhà tư sản dân tộc tiêu biểu kinh doanh thành công và sự ngưỡng mộ của nhiều người Việt, để lại nhiều bài học đáng học hỏi cho nhiều thế hệ doanh nhân. Có thể nói cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi (1874-1932) là một trong những doanh nhân thế hệ đầu tiên của Việt Nam mà tôi gọi là “kinh doanh thời 1.0”, cuối thế kỷ 19 và đầu thế kỷ 20. Cụ là hiện thân của tinh thần dám khởi nghiệp, dám tận dụng thời cơ, dám trao quền, dám tiếp thu tân thư, dám vận dụng tinh thần yêu nước, dám cạnh tranh đến cùng, dám sáng tạo, dám mở rộng thị trường, dám làm lại từ đầu. Tư tưởng xuyên suốt trong văn hóa kinh doanh là dân quốc phú cường giành lại độc lập.

Thành công như cụ xưa nay hiếm, đặc biệt lại là kinh doanh thành công trong nghịch cảnh, muôn vàn khó khăn, đất nước bị người Pháp nắm quyền và người Hoa nhiều tiền kinh doanh chèn ép. Từ thực tế đó càng thấy tài lãnh đạo của cụ với những phẩm chất truyền cảm hứng. Cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi kinh doanh đa lĩnh vực, nhiều công ty, chi nhánh, hoạt động nhiều nơi, theo mô hình mà ngày nay người ta gọi là một tập đoàn kinh tế. Đặc biệt, ngay từ thời 1.0 đó, cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi đã có những phẩm chất lãnh đạo tuyệt vời. Trong đó, tôi đã học được 10 phẩm chất của cụ. Lãnh đạo là nghệ thuật gây ảnh hưởng. Lãnh đạo là phụng sự, tập trung, đam mê, trao quyền, tự tin, chính trực, sắc bén, quyết đoán, luôn tiếp thu cái mới, sáng tạo.

Cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi thành công còn vì đã thực hiện nghiêm túc 10 tôn chỉ trên thương trường, như thương phẩm, thương hội, tín thực, kiên tâm, nghị lực, trọng nghề, thương học, giao thiệp, tiết kiệm và coi trọng hàng nội hoá. Những giá trị và bài học kinh doanh còn nguyên giá trị để soi rọi và vận dụng cho cuộc cách mạng 4.0 hiện nay để quản trị doanh nghiệp hiệu quả và kinh doanh thành công trên thương trường.

Một trong những ân huệ của cuộc đời tôi là được kết nối với gia đình cụ Bạch Thái Bưởi, được nghiên cứu về cuộc đời và sự nghiệp của cụ, đặc biệt là những bài học kinh doanh thành công, thuật lãnh đạo và những phẩm chất của một người lãnh đạo xuất chúng.

Văn hóa được coi là sức mạnh nội sinh của doanh nghiệp cũng như nền kinh tế nhất là trong bối cảnh không ngừng biến động. Ông đã xây dựng văn hóa doanh nghiệp cho Lux Group như thế nào?

Trước tiên phải hiểu là văn hóa doanh nghiệp là niềm tin vào tổ chức, tư duy và thái độ của nhân viên về công việc họ đang làm, người mà họ đang phục vụ và với chính ban lãnh đạo, chủ doanh nghiệp. Triết lý kinh doanh của Lux Group là phụng sự, và thành công bằng sự tử tế. Lãnh đạo yêu quý, hiểu và giúp đỡ cấp dưới và nhân viên phục vụ khách hàng từ tâm với mong muốn họ sẽ hài lòng.

Lux Group luôn xây dựng tinh thần khởi nghiệp ngay cả khi đã lớn. Chúng tôi luôn đi tiên phong như kinh doanh du thuyền đầu tiên tại vịnh Nha Trang, vịnh Bái Tử Long và sắp tới là thành phố đảo Phú Quốc. Lux Group đi vào thị trường ngách, tìm lối nhỏ vào nhà sang và chúng tôi xây dựng văn hóa doanh nghiệp ngay từ ngày đầu thành lập, định hướng rõ ràng tầm nhìn, giá trị cốt lõi.

Trong một thế giới đầy biến động, ông chia sẻ gì về trách nhiệm của doanh nghiệp, doanh nhân đối với phát triển du lịch bền vững?

Bền vững là phải nhắm tới chất hơn lượng. Chúng ta không nhất thiết đặt mục tiêu số lượng khách năm sau phải cao hơn năm trước mà hãy thoả mãn họ, coi họ là trung tâm xem khách thích gì, muốn gì, không thích gì để cải thiện ngay. Với số hoá các hoạt động thì việc này không khó và cần sớm triển khai và Tổng cục Du lịch là đơn vị đóng vai trò dẫn dắt, chủ động, hiệu quả trong các hoạt động tạo sản phẩm du lịch và xúc tiến.

Từ góc độ doanh nghiệp, chúng tôi xác định, du lịch bền vững và có trách nhiệm cần dựa vào 6 trụ cột chính là: Bảo vệ nguồn môi trường sinh thái tự nhiên, trách nhiệm văn hoá xã hội, tạo việc làm tốt cho người dân địa phương, góp phần phát triển kinh tế, khách hàng thoả mãn, doanh nghiệp có lợi nhuận. Theo đó, chúng tôi định nghĩa du lịch bền vững là phải bảo vệ môi trường sinh thái tự nhiên, cùng nhau tạo ra nơi đẹp hơn cho người dân sinh sống và tạo ra nơi đẹp hơn để du khách tới thăm quan trải nghiệm; bảo đảm văn hoá xã hội, gìn giữ, bảo tồn và phát huy di sản, văn hoá, phong tục tập quán địa phương.

Cùng với nội lực của doanh nhân Việt, nhà nước cần có quyết sách nào để ngành du lịch hồi phục, phát triển trong năm 2022 và giai đoạn tới?

Hậu Covid- 19, cơ hội cho các doanh nghiệp lớn nhỏ là như nhau, tầm quốc gia cũng vậy. Đối với du lịch Việt Nam, chúng ta nên lấy mỏ vàng văn hoá, di sản làm trung tâm, định vị du lịch di sản là thương hiệu du lịch quốc gia. Để Việt Nam thành quốc gia về du lịch trong khu vực, chúng ta cần phải có chính sách cho du lịch và vì du lịch; visa, hạ tầng cơ sở, phát triển nguồn nhân lực, phát triển sản phẩm đặc trưng, mạnh, xúc tiến hiệu quả. Không thực hiện được xúc tiến hiệu quả thì thuê chuyên gia, định vị lại thương hiệu và nhận diện du lịch quốc gia.

Mặt khác, nên coi Covid-19 là dịp tốt để nhìn nhận lại quản lý du lịch theo hướng phục vụ để 100% khách đến rồi yêu Việt Nam, muốn quay lại nhiều lần, thay vì một đi không trở lại như trước kia. Với tiềm năng du lịch biển đảo, ẩm thực, văn hoá, thiên nhiên và con người, du lịch Việt Nam sẽ đứng đầu Đông Nam Á và châu Á nếu khơi thông cơ chế, chính sách triển kinh tế du lịch, chất lượng nguồn nhân lực; có nhiều sản phẩm du lịch trải nghiệm với hàm lượng chất xám và phải định vị được thương hiệu du lịch quốc gia, xúc tiến hiệu quả trong và ngoài nước.

Xin cảm ơn ông!

Hoa Quỳnh

Best Boutique Cruise Line

August 30, 2022 By Uncategorized Comments Off

Embark on a journey back in time to Vietnam in 1930s with Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago boutique lifestyle cruise in Lan Ha Bay in Cat Ba Archipelago. Combining the classical charm of French Indochina with a sense of timeless chic that only the Lux Cruises can provide, the cruise is as much an art and heritage space as it is a 5 star cruise. Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan Cat Ba Archipelago invites guests to relive the romance of this bygone era in their boutique cruise which offers all the comforts of the 21st century.
The most luxurious cruise in Vietnam has many cultural features, bringing with it the stories of cultural and historical heritage, fine art, architecture, fashion, and the quintessence of Vietnamese cuisine. The yacht is newly built based on the Binh Chuan ship built by the ship king Bach Thai Buoi, the first Vietnamese to launch a ship from Hai Phong to Saigon. From the point of departure 100 years ago, today’s Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan takes travelers on a journey to discover Lan Ha Bay in style, a vast sea area with hundreds of islands, lagoons, and beaches, large and small, an experience recognized by the world. Channel 14 describes it “as beautiful as a dream” and Leonardo DiCaprio praises the ‘paradise’ beauty of Lan Ha Bay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45UNROguoNM&t
On the cruise, travelers can discover the authenticity of Lan Ha Bay, Binh Chuan Heritage Cruise will bring travelers into a traditional cultural space, the glorious legend of the intangible heritage, and enjoy the beauty of the natural heritage of Vietnam. Heritage Binh Chuan Cruise will bring the most authentic experiences with a minimum of 40 guests and a maximum of 60 passengers on a magnificent and sophisticated cruise operating in the Gulf of Tonkin. Savored travelers will immerse into the culture, history, art, and people of Vietnam when cruising on a unique cruise amidst natural wonders. On this heritage cruise, travel connoisseurs can go upstream of history and culture to learn the business story of “Vietnam’s king of ships” Bach Thai Buoi and the life of the “Vietnamese Picasso“, Pham Luc, through a rich collection of 100 of his works collected and introduced by the owner Pham Ha in various locations.
Heritage Binh Chuan received the most prestigious award, TripAdvisor 2022 Travelers’ Choice Awards “Best of The Best”. Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2020. Lux Cruises to expand the brand to Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc in Kien Giang province, and Cat Ba archipelago in Hai Phong city, for unique yachting experiences in the coming year.” Start our first expeditions on the Gulf of Tonkin and further expand between Hanoi and Halong Bay on the Red River and its tributaries, along the coastline of Vietnam, on the Mekong River and to other Southeast Asia countries.

Cac-Ba

August 23, 2022 By Uncategorized Comments Off

Many legends and mythologies surround the island’s name
From my vintage postcards of French Indochina, I treasure a rich collection about local life, people, landscape, townscapes and villages in the early 1930s, as well as some of the many legends and myths which have been handed down the generations.
The first is the legend of the name ‘Cac-Ba’, which means Island of women in Vietnamese, where, once upon a time the island used to be the realm of women who grew vegetables and supplied food to the men so that they could have the strength to fight off invaders.
Cat Ba island is also characterized by the Kim Giao tree (scientific name Nageia-fleury) whose origin is linked with an ancient legend. These species grow in Cat Ba National Park and the most notable characteristic of these species is that the wood changes color when it comes into contact with any toxic substance. Therefore, in the past, this kind of wood was often used to make chopstick for the king.
The legend surrounds a romantic love story between a talented man, Kim Ngan, and a beautiful princess, Giao Thuy. The man was poisoned by envious and sycophantic courtiers and died. The princess cried so much for her lover that she lay down by his tomb and died with grief. Afterwards, two trees grew from the tomb and local people named the species Kim Giao in their honor.
Cat Ba is the largest of the 366 islands, spanning over 260 km2, that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago, which makes up the southeastern edge of Halong Bay, and is a new hotspot for cruises, cultural activities, heritage travelers, and holidaymakers.

The Picasso of Vietnam – Painter Pham Luc

August 23, 2022 By Uncategorized Comments Off

Painting is like exercising for painter Pham Luc. If he doesn’t paint something every day he feels slightly ill, which perhaps explains his prolific output and reputation as Vietnam’s Pablo Picasso.
Born in 1943, Luc has been around paint brushes for some 70 years. From the age of three he tried to turn things into paint brushes. It could be a piece of brick or charcoal, a tree branch, or a stone, and everywhere was his canvas. Often, he was scolded by his neighbors, whose house walls he used to express himself. Luckily, he later found a wide sand bank by the riverside near his home, where he could paint on the sandy canvas with a tree branch.
Growing up during wartime, the young Luc became a soldier after graduating from the Hanoi College of Fine Arts (now the Vietnam University of Fine Arts). But his passion for painting never ceased. As one of his hands held a gun, the other always held a brush. His constant companion has been paper, a brush, and colors. “The mission of a painter is to record what he observes,” Luc explained, “Life is so colorful. I don’t want to miss a thing.”
At times so focused on not missing a moment of life, he in turn often missed a train or was taken advantage of by thieves. Losing his tools was a disaster because such things were scarce in wartime. Necessity, though, is the mother of invention. Again, he tried to turn things into a canvas, such as sackcloth or a hammock, which these days his fans crazily hunt for.
Luc never limits himself to a particular style either. From his studies he took on styles from the French school of European art, Chinese water colors in Asian art, and four of the most famous and successful Vietnamese painters since 1945. Nghiem, Lien, Sang and Phai, who all graduated from L’Ecole des Beaux Arts de l’Indochine, diverged on totally different paths, with Nghiem’s convention, Lien’s softness and femininity, Sang’s strength, and Phai’s realism, so Luc’s art reflects where East meets West. He also challenges himself to use different mediums including oil paintings, painting on rice sacks, lacquer, silk paintings, paper, and wood engraving.
After finishing his army service, he started different canvases in every corner of his home, which became his work space. When painting a lacquer work and getting some of the materials stuck, he may change it to an oil painting and continue in a different mood. “Just leave me alone in a room with brushes, colors and an old radio playing pre-war Vietnamese music and I’ll work spontaneously, by feeling, without sketches,” he said.


Due to regular headaches from high blood pressure, Luc has suffered from insomnia since he was 14. Many new ideas flash into his mind at night when he tosses and turns in bed. He usually has no idea whether it comes from reality or a dream, but he quickly gets the idea down on canvas. Whenever he touches a brush, his headaches ease and he feels like he is dreaming. The next day he sometimes forgets his nocturnal creativity, waking in the morning to be pleasantly surprised at the new addition to his collection.
Ben Wilkinson, representative of Harvard Kennedy University (now USA Fullbright University) in Vietnam, is a Pham Luc collector. He noted that “Pham Luc’s paintings are like windows that we can look through to understand more about the country and the people of Vietnam, both in the past wartime and the present.”
The characters in Luc’s paintings are also diverse, such as a local market, Tet paintings, heritage depictions of Quan Ho, Ca Tru and A Dao songs, Cheo or Tuong theatre the hero Thanh Giong, or the poet Nguyen Du. Women seem to inspire him more. It may be a woman in an old dress giving her son a bicycle ride during wartime, a woman looking for mussels in modern times, or an old woman selling some fruit.
His sympathy towards and love of women in his paintings brought him true love. A French woman who fell in love with his art bought many of his paintings on credit. Three years later she took him to a villa, which was the payment, and proposed to him. With his wife’s support, his paintings have been displayed in Europe and increased his fan base.
Among modern Vietnamese painters, Luc is the only one who has a fan club collecting his work. More than 100 of its members have some 6,000 of his paintings and regularly hold exhibitions. One, Tony Olive from Australia, who has 100 of Luc’s paintings, opened an exhibition in 2009 and every piece was sold. He felt regret at the scale of the exhibition’s success, however, and negotiated to buy back four of the paintings.

Paintings on Rice Sacks
Paintings on Rice Sacks have become synonymous with the artist Pham Luc in Vietnam. The artist, a former military painter, has experienced many battles in his lifetime. He indicates that the mission of the military painter is honest reflection about the life of people in the battlefield, what he observed and how he felt during the marches. The villages and people who helped him when he got hurt, and the fierce battlefields he passed through are featured in his works.

He painted hundreds of paintings on rice sacks made of jute or synthetic fiber rope from the Soviet Union and China. The idea to use rice sacks came about as he lacked the necessary materials to paint on, and rice sacks were plentiful.

He revealed that the first rice sack paintings were created with the artist Bang Lam in 1965. Pham Luc had to use lubricating oil from cars and trucks to draw because he lacked paints. Every character, image, and depiction in the paintings are associated with his military compatriots. Unfortunately, many paintings were damaged by bombs and ammunition.

War scenes often appear in his paintings, with subjects such as an old mother taking care of wounded soldiers, two teammates piggybacking injured soldiers back to the unit after a battle, a pregnant wife looking up at the image of her sacrificed husband, and militia girls carrying guns. Pham Luc also painted nudes on the sacks, a rather sensitive topic and a taboo in the military.

He had to use his imagination because there were no female models, and the finished pieces were often concealed. In one piece he depicts Vietnamese women soldiers taking a bath in the Truong Son Range after he had accidently come across them. In his paintings, those images bring a pure and romantic setting to the war.

Pham Luc has a distinctive style, one that reflects the culture and history of Vietnam. Many foreign and domestic collectors are proud of owning one or more of his rice sack paintings. In 2013, due to ill health, the artist stopped drawing and exhibiting this type of painting. Because of these changes, the rice sack paintings have become more sought after.

When asked why he had quit painting on rice sacks, the artist explained, “This was my toughest decision, but I’m very happy about my first exhibition without rice sack paintings. In any solo or collective exhibition, the rice sack paintings always make me different. This material reflects the misery of the whole nation at the time, and that has touched many people. But I think nothing is forever nowadays. The artist must also portray life with pen strokes and canvas.”

In a recent interview with writer Nguyen Ngoc about Pham Luc, Thomas J. Vallely, Director of the Harvard Vietnam Program, said his favorite place in Vietnam was not a city or a town but Luc’s concrete studio house. Whenever he visits Luc he talks about art and has learned new things about Vietnam, past and present. He sees Luc’s work as being rich in culture, history and heritage, through varied and diverse themes, with an artistic language on war and the difficulties and sorrows of life, making his creative value not just Vietnamese, but universal.