More than 20,000 locals and tourists flocked to the April 2 Square by Nha Trang beach, Khanh Hoa Province, on Saturday to attend the opening ceremony of the biennial Sea Festival.
The event has been organised since 2003 to celebrate Viet Nam's islands and sea, the beauty of Nha Trang Gulf and the rich coastal culture.
President Truong Tan Sang, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh and diplomatic representatives from ten countries joined the event.
The festival includes an art show themed Echo from Blue Sea, performed by more than 500 artists reflecting the region's local life, people and landscape.
According to the director of the show, composer Dinh Trung Can, this year's event utilised modern technology to evoke the beauty, historic values and potential of the local sea.
Addressing the ceremony, culture minister Anh stressed that the central coastal region could contribute greatly to the socio-economy, especially the sea economy.
He stated his appreciation for Khanh Hoa's high economic growth rate in the past few years, which has been a bi-product of a local tourist boom.
He said: "In the ‘Viet Nam Sea Strategy with a Vision to 2020', it states that Viet Nam will try to become a nation ‘wealthy from the sea and strong from the sea'. Our responsibility today is to protect the nation's sovereignty and to steadily develop the economy. Khanh Hoa and neighbouring coastal provinces should implement separate measures and co-operate with one another to achieve these aims."
He added that the sea festival was an event for locals to express their love and responsibility to the nation's sea and islands.
The three-day event has included scientific conferences, exhibitions, folk performances and art shows.
It is estimated that around 100,000 tourists will flock to the city during the event while the province this year aims to receive 2.7 million tourists, of whom 620,000 are foreigners.