Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, is one of several areas of the country chosen as a ‘test region’ to reopen to international travellers following the pandemic.
With the full reopening of Vietnam from March 15, the Hue tourist board has taken the opportunity to launch a host of new initiatives, making it more attractive than ever for travellers.
Hue used to be one of the top destinations in Vietnam for international visitors. In 2019, the province with its UNESCO-listed city recorded some 4.5 million visitors including two million foreign tourists. Further growth was envisioned until the Covid-19 pandemic struck tourism. Vietnam closed its borders to international visitors for over 18 months, partially reopening from last November for travellers to Phu Quoc Island. Authorities implemented further relaxation measures in February before deciding to fully reopen from March 15.
Now that Vietnam tourism is ready to embrace the world again, Hue itself is preparing to welcome visitors with a host of new attractions.
The provincial travel association took the opportunity of closed borders to organise group trips for professionals, surveyed new tourism products at Laguna Lang Co Complex Resort, and designed new tours to notable attractions such as A Luoi and Tam Giang lagoon.
New initiatives to boost Hue appeal
In a recent interview with local media, Tran Huu Thuy Giang, director of the provincial Department of Tourism, highlighted that the local tourism industry has focused on designing new products for visitors. Such as a night street zone around Hue Imperial Citadel, a reshaped Dong Ba night market, and a series of tourist attractions that run along the banks of the Perfume river.
Nguyen Thanh Binh, vice chairman of Thua Thien Hue Provincial People’s Committee, emphasised that the locality has restarted tourism activities in a bid to prepare for receiving international tourists, upgrading infrastructure while simultaneously striving to become a safe and friendly destination in the near future.
As an example, Hue recently launched a new logo for its culinary activities. The ‘Hue – Gastronomy Capital’ affirms the city’s position as the centre of Vietnam’s gastronomy. The culinary brand identity is part of the project ‘Creating, administering and developing the trademark licence ‘Hue – Gastronomy Capital’ for speciality cuisines in the province. With the logo on food outlets and restaurants, travellers can easily identify where authentic culinary specialties are served across the province.
Hue Festival all year around in 2022
Another initiative is to stretch the famous Hue Festival over the whole year 2022. According to Thua Thien Hue People’s Committee, the overarching theme of this year’s festival is the four seasons. It includes, among others, the Xa Tac Sacrifice Ceremony; Hue Poetry Festival and the ‘Hue – the Culinary Capital’ Festival which takes place this month.
The Summer Festival takes place from April to June with performances from national and international art troupes. Ao dai pageant, street pageant ‘cultural colours’, Te Giao Ceremony and the Trinh Cong Son music night will also be held during this time.
The Autumn Festival will take place from July to September with highlights being the ‘Old Fragrance in the Ancient Town’; Hue Nam (or Hon Chen) Temple Festival in July; Truyen Lo Pageant; Conventional boat racing Pageant on the Perfume River; the traditional lantern pageant or the Lan (unicorn) Hue Festival.
The Winter Festival will take place from October to December with applications such as ‘The Bolero Golden Voice of Hue’ Festival, Music Festival – ‘Winter Sonata’, ending with the Countdown 2022.
The reopening of the city does, however, coincide with an employment shortfall caused by the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years. In anticipation of this, the provincial Department of Tourism is expected to run training schemes which will improve the skills of employees and boost online platforms’ services in a bid to meet future market demand.