The five-star Celebrity Millennium cruise ship from Hong Kong was the first ship to dock at the Ha Long International Passenger Port, bringing 2,000 visitors and almost 1,000 sailors to northern Quang Ninh Province. Nguyen Duc Long, Chairman of Quang Ninh, hailed the port as an important milestone in the development of tourism in the province, allowing visitors to go straight on to land without using transferring boats. He said local authorities will create the most favorable conditions for international ships to dock and depart the port so that there will be more visitors to Ha Long Bay. The port, operated by the Sun Group, a major private corporation in the country, has a price tag of VND1 trillion ($42.68 million) raised under a public-private partnership arrangement. The port can receive two ships with a capacity of 8,400 persons each at the same time. Its three-storied terminal covers an area of 4,500 square meters (1.11 acres). The port is expected to welcome 10 international ships this year. The total number of tourists to Quang Ninh this year is estimated to reach 12.2 million, 5.2 million of them foreigners, according to the province’s tourism department. In the first 10 months this year, over 200,000 people came to Vietnam on ships, 2.3 percent lower year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office.