THỪA THIÊN HUẾ The central province of Thừa Thiên Huế has been drawing in tourists with this year’s Huế Festival, promoting its image after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, announced Nguyễn Thanh Bình, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
The pandemic caused many small and medium travel firms in the province to close and forced many people to seek other employment. However, with the reopening of the country’s tourism sector and the year-round activities of Huế Festival 2022, the number of visitors to the province increased sharply in April and May and should continue to rise.
Many businesses are motivated to upgrade facilities and recruit human resources to meet surging demand.
Nguyễn Thùy Vân, owner of Sunny homestay in Huế City’s Vỹ Dạ Ward, took advantage of the lockdown to upgrade her accommodation, and was ready to welcome guests right away when restrictions were lifted. After tourism re-opened, her facility has been fully booked on holidays and during events for the Huế Festival 2022.
The provincial Department of Tourism has worked with enterprises to organise a series of events such as Huế Festival Day — Culinary Capital and the Huế Lotus Festival in June.
The hot air balloon festival is planned for the end of June, the Huế Hip Hop Festival in July and the Huế Kylin Dance Festival in September and the Healthcare Tourism Week in November. These activities provide a diverse set of events and a festive atmosphere in the city.
Travel bloggers, influencers, and key opinion leaders (KOLs) are invited to join the events in a bid to lure more young people to the central province and its historic tourism products and cultural life of locals.
Nguyễn Văn Phúc, director of the provincial Department of Tourism, said it has collaborated with airlines from neighbouring countries to open more flights to bring tourists directly to Huế City.
The tourism authority also contacted the Hà Nội UNESCO Travel Club to arrange charter trains from Hà Nội to Huế.
Travel firms that bring a large number of travellers to the locality will get support including a reception event, gifts and traditional art programmes at destinations to create a good impression for tourists.
Despite the positive recovery in the province’s tourism sector, numbers are still down compared to the same period in 2018-19. Most travellers are in small groups or on family tours.
The province has welcomed about 600,000 tourists since the beginning of this year, but only 1.7 per cent were international visitors.
Despite some of the best tourist attractions, the industry failed to take advantage of revenue from accommodation, with travellers staying only a few days in Huế.
According to Director Phúc, the COVID-19 pandemic has closed several hotels in the area. Other sites have become degraded and do not qualify for serving guests, leading to shorter stays with a lack of rooms.
It is necessary for accommodation establishments, travel agencies and tourism enterprises in the province to improve their quality and prepare human resources to welcome tourists, he said.
The provincial tourism authority has acted as a “bridge” connecting a number of tourism colleges and vocational training institutions with accommodation service providers to offer support at peak times.
At the same time, the tourism authority has also assisted travel firms and hotels to promote information on tours as well as attractive new products for tourists to encourage them to stay longer when coming to the province.
The Huế Festival 2022 is scheduled to take place from June 25-30 with eight major programmes and many sidelines events. The highlight of the festival was an art programme that opened up the festival at the Ngọ Môn Square on Saturday night.
The provincial tourism authority said about 200,000 tourists are expected to join activities within the festival.
Huế is home to five UNESCO world cultural heritages. These are the Complex of Huế Monuments (a world heritage site), nhã nhạc or Vietnamese court music (Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity), the printing woodblocks of the Nguyễn dynasty (part of the Memory of the World Programme), the imperial archives of the Nguyễn dynasty (part of the Memory of the World Programme), and the Literature on Huế Royal Architecture (part of Documentary Heritage in the Memory of the World Programme). VNS
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