Hue city, the gloomy tourism holy land
The ancient city of Hue has successfully organised the tourism festival 2008. It has been recognised by the government as the tourism city, the festival city. However, it still has the discouraging appellation of ‘gloomy tourism holy land’.
Gloomy tourism holy land’ are the words Trinh Quang Thang from Vietnamtourism used to describe Hue city, which is proud of its nearly 900 relics and the fact that it spends several thousand billion VND a year to organise festivals.
In fact, the number of tourists visiting Hue rises year after year, from 1.1mil in 2006 to 1.5mil in 2007. The number of tourists visiting the city by the end of September 2008 had increased by 24% over the same period of 2007.
However, the average number of days tourists stay in the city has just increased from 2.03 days in 2007 to 2.05 days in 2008.
Thang said that it is because Hue does not have many attractive tourism products to retain tourists.
“For the last many years, Hue has only had the Perfume River, royal tombs and Hue traditional songs to attract tourists. I consider Hue a tourism holy land, but the holy land is now gloomy,” Thang said.
Providing what tourists want or what Hue wants to provide?
Nguyen Ngoc Thien, Chairman of the Hue city People’s Committee, affirmed that Hue needs to provide what tourists want, not what Hue has already. However, when asked if the local authorities had taken any surveys on the demands of tourists, Phan Tien Dung, Director of Hue’s Culture, Sports and Tourist Department, said that no such surveys had been conducted.
In fact, Dung said that there was a survey conducted by the local Tourist Junior College. However, the main purpose of the survey was to serve the training plan of the college. Therefore, the local tourism industry still does not know what tourists want so as to better serve them.
Hue now has only several small supermarts and Dong Ba Market to serve the shopping demands of tourists. There are a lot of souvenir shops, but they offer the same things.
Hue has traditional non bai tho (hats made of the highest-quality latania leaves), rush fans, sesame candy and royal tea to offer to tourists, but it does not have luxury items to offer to satisfy the shopping demands of rich tourists.
Tourists who want to go places at night can only go listen to Hue traditional songs or walk around Trang Tien Bridge, as Hue still does not have any big entertainment complex, and because local residents go to bed at 10 pm. Hue serves tourists from the morning to the evening, but it does not serve them from the evening to the morning, when many tourists want to go out and spend money.
Hue needs tourist development strategy
Experts say that in order to develop Hue’s tourism, the province needs to push up the popularisation of its images through cultural events like Hue Culture Week, road shows or television advertisement pieces.
The Hue Culture, Sports and Tourist Department has also emphasised the need to introduce Hue to tourists via the Internet, which has hitherto not been given much attention. Meanwhile, according to the World Tourist Organisation, 78% of US, 50% of French and 10% of Chinese tourists seek tourism information on the Internet.
Nguyen Phu Duc, Chairman of the Vietnam Tourist Association, has suggested 10 ideas to develop Hue’s tourism. Duc thinks that cultural events like ‘Royal night’, 'Perfume River Mystery’ should be organised more regulary to attract tourists instead of only organised annually during festivals.
Responding to experts, Thien said that the local economy in the future will be ‘service, service and service’. However, he said that it will take time to turn the plan into reality.
(Source: Dan Tri, URL:http://english.vietnamnet.vn/travel/2008/10/808617/)
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