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Hoi An Thrives through Protecting Heritage

2011-05-31 (GMT + 7)

As an unknown town in the past, Hoi An has now been well-known all over the world after being recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1999.

Since its recognition, Hoi An travel has dynamically developed. According to the Hoi An Department of Trade and Tourism, in 2010, the trade and service sector accounted for more than 70 percent of the city's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). From 2006-2010, the total number of tourists to Hoi An was 3.5 million, with an increase of 11.02 percent annually. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, 376,000 tourists visited Hoi An, an increase of 9.48 percent compared to the same months of last year.

To attract more tourists to the town, Hoi An has effectively exploited cultural and community tourism. Architecture, especially its wooden architecture and small charming streets have made a deep impression on the millions of tourists and researchers in the fields of history, culture and architecture.

Located on the north bank of the Thu Bon River where the river joins the sea, and situated in an attractive place along the Central region's tourism route, Hoi An has many favorable conditions to develop ecotourism. Tourists are lured by beautiful landscapes such as rows of coconuts trees lying alternately among interlacing channels, peaceful countryside and charming city. Cham Island is also recognized as a world biosphere reserve with diverse oceanic ecosystem including shrimp, fish, shell-fish, coral reefs and sea birds. Cam Thanh salt marsh and the Bay Mau coconut forest which has become well-known, is also a component part of the world biosphere reserve. The local authorities currently are implementing a project to develop the salt marsh into an eco-village which preserves the natural values of the reserve. In addition, the traditional village of Kim Bong has created a motive force for the development of the town.

People in the old city of Hoi An have continued to maintain the intangible cultural heritages through festivals and religious and folk cultural activities. Hoi An remains a living place of thousands of people, yet resembles a museum of architecture, city planning and urban living. Simple, hospitable, warm-hearted people with traditional cuisine style has lured millions of tourists through folk dishes such as cao lau (noodles, pork, and herbs), hoanh thanh (egg noodle wonton soup), Quang noodles, sweet corn, mussels mixed with different vegetable spices and many types of traditional cakes. Those dishes contribute to attracting millions of tourists to Hoi An, protecting tangible and intangible cultural values which while originating in the past, have been maintained in modern life. Therefore, Hoi An has become an ideal model for effectively protecting and exploiting heritage in the interest of tourism development.

Along with global tourism development trends of exploiting cultural and natural values, in tourism development, Hoi An strives to become a high quality and sustainable destination of Vietnam tour, for tourists all over the world. Hoi An and Quang Nam province in general will develop tourism based on preserving and enriching cultural and natural resources. Tourism development must be combined with protecting cultural, historical heritage, natural resources and the environment. In addition, there is a need for Hoi An to have policies to struggle against downgraded cultural, historical and natural values. It is necessary to appeal the community to take part in tourism development, while maintaining these precious values.

Source: VEN

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