Travel Travel

12/07/2020 - 06:52

A Luoi district turns the highland fair into a unique tourism product

Not only introducing and promoting local specialties, A Luoi, a mountainous district, located 70km to the west of Hue city, has integrated many cultural and tourism activities and planned an appropriate location for holding fair to turn the highland fair into a unique tourism product.

Tourists are experiencing indigenous cultural activities at A Luoi highland fair

Having initial attractions for tourists

In late May 2020, A Luoi highland fair was held again after an interruption due to the COVID-19 epidemic. 23 stalls of businesses and cooperatives with a number of A Luoi’s agricultural products, specialties, Zèng brocade fabric, traditional agricultural tools and musical instruments, highland cuisine... were showcased attractively under talented hands of local people in their brocade dresses.

In many corners of the Community Center for Ethnic Groups of A Luoi district, where the fair was taking place, many activities for tourists to experience highland culture, folk songs, rice pounding, and Zèng brocade weaving have been very attractive.

Different from the previous fairs, this one attracted up to 5,000 visitors and local people to the stalls. One special thing was that over 50% of them were non-local tourists.

Ms. Tran Thi Mai, a tourist from Quang Ngai, shared: “My family was visiting Hue city and learned that A Luoi district is holding a highland fair. Therefore, we arranged to visit the district. It is very interesting to experience this fair - not only shopping but also exploring local people and culture”.

This is not the first time A Luoi district organizes a highland fair. Similar markets have been formed on the occasions of  New Year, cultural festivities and festivals. The later fairs have been more attractive to tourists due to the better association of the fair with cultural and tourism activities, especially experiencing community cultural activities, and organizing the fairs on weekends.

An agricultural product stall at A Luoi highland fair

According to Mr. Ho Van Ngoan - Director of the Culture, Information and Sports Center of A Luoi District, the district has speeded up the connection with travel and tourism agencies after the COVID-19 outbreak. The information about highland fair has been spread out very early. Hence, the number of non-local visitors increased. “The combination of traveling with experiencing the fair became a new product and hit tourists’ psychology. Therefore, they really liked it,” said Mr. Ngoan.

Developing a unique tourism product

In many localities in the country, turning highland markets into a unique tourist product is not new. These may include Muong Qua fair (Nghe An), Bac Ha fair, Can Cau fair (Lao Cai), Ha Lau fair (Quang Ninh) or many other markets in the Northwest region.

According to many tourism experts, the differences in culture, ethnography, traditional specialties, the way indigenous people open up their markets in addition to cultural activities has aroused tourists’ curiosity, especially the non-locals. Referring to this to conclude that A Luoi highland fair can become a unique tourism product.

Mr. Nguyen Van Phuc - Vice Director of the Department of Tourism said: “If it is thorough researched and properly organized, the highland fair could become an attractive tourism product. The issue of concern is that the fair is not only for commercial purposes but also for a combination of cultural and tourism factors. So, it is necessary for careful research to organize traditional cultural activities and select typical local products and traditional showcasing style. Along with holding the fair regularly, it is essential to spread out information about the fair early and widely to attract visitors”.

A Luoi’s tourism is thrived in recent years thanks to its favorable transport infrastructure. If the highland market is well organized and combined with cultural activities and festivals, it is not only providing markets for local products but also to creating a new tourism product.

Mr. Nguyen Quoc Thanh - Vice Head of Economic and Infrastructure Section of A Luoi district shared that the district has planned to design a space project for holding the highland fair with an area of about one hectare. In this space, the district expected to design solid stalls and cultural spaces imbued with local traditions to develop tourism.

Story and photos: Huu Phuc