Attending the opening ceremony were Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Lao Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavath among other foreign guests.
Speaking at the event, PM Dung said that the National Tourism Year is an opportunity for regional localities to promote their cultures and heritages for tourism development.
He said that over the past time, Thua Thien-Hue province has actively coordinated with ministries, localities, domestic and foreign organisations in mobilising resources for the successful organisation of consecutive festivals with a wide range of activities honouring the region's cultural values and precious heritages, gradually turning the region into a cultural and tourism centre.
The Hue Festival also offers a chance for people from around the globe to gather and demonstrate their unique cultural identities, thus opening up cooperation opportunities towards a peaceful and prosperous world on the basis of a multiplicity of different cultures, he added.
The Government leader advised Thua Thien-Hue province and other regional localities to fully tap their potential, maximise domestic and foreign support and cooperation to successful organise activities during the National Tourism Year and Hue Festival 2012.
Hue city should step by step affirm itself as a distinctive cultural and tourism centre and a festival city of Vietnam , he stressed.
The biennial Hue Festival from April 7-15 will feature unique Vietnamese arts, especially Hue Royal art, and special performances by 40 foreign art troupes with around 450 artists.
A wide range of activities will be held during the event, including the Nam Giao Offering Ritual to pray for prosperity and peace for the nation, the multi-activity Imperial Night and the "A Peaceful World" concert on a floating stage on Huong River .
There is also the "Oriental Night" show featuring traditional costumes of Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Mongolia, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Seminars and conferences will be held for scientists, diplomats and businessmen forums to discuss issues relating to cultural and tourism development and challenges facing the community.
The 13 th annual Conference of the League of Historical Cities (LHC) will also be organised on the occasion, drawing the participation of 124 delegates from 23 cities in the world.