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Vietnam opts for royal blood for tourism ambassador to S. Korea

By Vy An   November 22, 2017 | 07:30 pm PT
Vietnam opts for royal blood for tourism ambassador to S. Korea
Ly Xuong Can, the new tourism ambassador of Vietnam. Photo courtesy of his Facebook page
The 26th descendant of a Ly Dynasty prince will be touting tourism overseas.

Vietnam has appointed a new tourism ambassador who will be working to promote the country in South Korea over the next three years.

Lee Chang Kun recommended himself for the position in a letter sent to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

He said Vietnam needs an ambassador for the South Korean market, and that by understanding both Vietnamese and South Korean culture, he would be an ideal candidate.

Born in 1958, Ly Xuong Can, as he is known in Vietnam, is the 26th descendant of Ly Long Tuong, a prince of Vietnam’s Ly Dynasty (1009-1225).

When the Ly Dynasty was overthrown, Ly Long Tuong fled for Korea in 1226 and later became Lee Yong-sang. The exiled prince is believed to be an ancestor of one branch of the Lee family today in both South and North Korea.

In 1994, Lee Chang Kun came to Vietnam to visit his forefather's homeland for the first time and decided to stay.

In 2010, he was granted Vietnamese citizenship and has been a member of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, an umbrella group of all political and social groups in Vietnam, since 2014.

This will be the first time Vietnam has had two tourism ambassadors focusing on different foreign markets.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of the blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island” that was filmed in Vietnam, is now in charge of the U.S. and U.K. markets.

Vietnam appointed its first tourism ambassador in 2011.

Official data shows Vietnam received more than 9.4 million foreign visitors in the first nine months of this year, up 28.4 percent against the same period last year.

At a meeting of the legislative National Assembly last month, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said Vietnam needs to stop relying on crude oil and focus on tourism to ensure its economic growth, saying mining output of fossil fuels has been falling for the past two years.

"It is better to welcome one million tourists than trying to find one million tons of crude oil because tourism is more eco-friendly and safe for the economy,” Hue said.

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