Hue must raise its tourism game

HANOI, 11 January 2018: Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has urged authorities of the former imperial capital of Hue to capitalise on the city’s heritage and culture to draw more international tourists.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the former imperial capital is the main tourist destination in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

The Government’s news website quoted the PM saying the city should take full advantage of its historical values and cultural heritage to make a breakthrough for the province’s tourism sector.

The central city, home of the Nguyen Dynasty, which reigned from 1802 until 1945, has been dubbed the “Kyoto of Vietnam,” due to its abundance of historical and cultural sites, including the former Hue Imperial Citadel and royal tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty kings.

In 2017, the province welcomed 3.8 million visitors, an increase of 16% over 2016. Around 1.5 million visitors were foreigners, representing a 42% year-on-year surge, while tourism revenue hit VND3.52 trillion (USD155 million), up 10% against 2016 the government website noted.

However, tourism experts say the province has failed to reach its full potential, as a tourism magnet. Tourism  contributed 15% to the province’s budget collection in 2017.

The PM said tourism development in Hue should differ from what is taking place in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Danang and Hai Phong.

The city’s imperial palace ruins have World Heritage status similar to Hoi An, My Son sanctuary and Son Doong, the world’s biggest cave and Phong Nha Cave.

Last year, the city created a new tourism product for domestic and international visitors by opening the Hue Imperial Citadel for public viewing at night.

2018 promises to be a busy year for the province’s tourism sector as the biennial Hue Festival is scheduled to take place  27 April 27 to 2 May in the former imperial city, featuring more than 20 art troupes countries around the world.

The cultural event will feature a street carnival, an international food festival and a hot air balloon show, elements that should attract more tourists this year.

This year the province has targeted  4.2 million tourists, with foreign arrivals making up 40 to 45%, and earnings reaching VND4.2 to 4.3 trillion in tourism revenue.

(Source: VNAT)