There is no doubt that Vietnam has a spectacular coastline. Earlier in the year, when the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) announced a round of the global series in the country, they looked at the resort beach of Nha Trang to host the regatta. While the deal fell through, the Saigon Times Daily reports that Vietnam is still working with the WMRT to find a suitable venue for a future race.
This time the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the Vietnam National Administration of Exercise and Sports and WMRT are looking into conditions in Halong, further north than Nha Trang and the stopping off point for the spectacular and World Heritage-listed Halong Bay. Vietnamese officials also visited the Asia Match Racing Championships in Malaysia to gain insight into the level of professionalism expected by the Tour.
Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the tourism administration, is looking position the country to a wide inbound tourism audience. He says
“It’s a professional event. So if it is hosted here, Vietnam can get worldwide publicity.”
The publicity will come in the form of a television package that includes 20,000 minutes of broadcasting on networks including Star Sports.
One of the reasons that Halong is being considered over Nha Trang is the presence of an international standard tourist wharf, something that Nha Trang does not have. Whether or not the region can satisfy the other criteria for a World Match Racing Tour host city remains to be seen. The series will have to consider other infrastructure as well as sailing conditions. There is little doubt that if the wind can be found, Halong Bay would be one of the most spectacular sailing venues on earth, but the region is more well known for calm, misty days.