Culture Culture

08/06/2019 - 08:47

Introducing audio guide to Hue heritage sites

Automatic guide service (Audio guide) is an electronic technological application that supports guide automation for visitors, especially international solo travelers and visitors using rare languages.

A tour guide in the Citadel introducing Hue Imperial Palace to visitors

Currently, the guide team at tourist sites under the management of Hue Monuments Conservation Center includes 58 members with 30 English speaking guides, 5 for French, 4 for Russian, and 2 for Japanese language.

Despite an increase in annual revenue, the number of visitors using guide services stands at only about 500 thousand times per year as opposed to the total number of tourists visiting Hue monuments annually (2.9 million visitors), which means the guide team only serves approximately 17.25% of total visitors.

One of the reasons for the limited number of visitors using guide service is the lack of on-site tour guides, especially foreign language speaking guides. When the audio guide comes into operation at Hue heritage sites, the problem is very likely to be solved.

Many domestic tourist attractions have applied technological advancements in automatic guide such as Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam (the Temple of Literature - Imperial Academy), the National Museum of History, the Museum of Ethnology of Vietnam and the Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh City.

This service is highly appreciated in its ability to support and complement the traditional way of communication and guide service while ensuring higher management and operation quality.

In Hue heritage area, audio guide service is expected to operate at 5 tourist attractions, including the Imperial Citadel, Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, Tu Duc King's tombs, and Thien Mu Pagoda. This service operates at no conflict and impact on the current traditional form of guide being held at Hue Monument Complex.

According to Mr. Hoang Van Trieu, Director of Hue Relic Services Development Center (part of Hue Monument Conservation Center), up to now, the content of audio guide at tourist spots have been built and approved by the Council of Arts and Sciences of Hue Monuments Conservation Center to ensure the accuracy of the destination’s cultural, historical and architectural values.

In addition to Vietnamese, the guide content is translated into 11 other languages, including English, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian and Portuguese. The service is very suitable to meet the diverse needs of visitors, especially international solo travelers and those who use rare languages not spoken by the available guide team.

The investment resources to deploy automatic audio guide services in Hue Monument Complex are completely socialized. With 5 participating tourist attractions, the initial investment stands at about 17 billion VND.

Unlike other activities, the instalment of audio guide does not accompany any additional constructions such as service houses or kiosks in the heritage zone. Necessary equipment will be arranged at the ticket counter.

The audio guide service packages at the Imperial Citadel are expected to last from 150-180 minutes; Thien Mu pagoda, 40 minutes, and the remaining sites, 60 minutes, at Khai Dinh, Tu Duc and Minh Mang King’s tomb.

As for the Imperial Citadel, due to its vast area and large number of architectural sites, Vietsoftpro will offer three exclusive audio guide packages. Accordingly, the packages can meet the needs of visitors visiting the Citadel all day, half day, or only for a short time.

The widespread operation of audio guide at Hue heritage sites is expected at the end of May 2019, after the first pilot tests at the Imperial Citadel and Tu Duc King’s tomb. This information has been confirmed by Mr. Hoang Quoc Viet, Chairman of Viet Professional Solutions and Software Joint Stock Company (Vietsoftpro) - the project’s implementation unit.

Vietsoftpro is making the final steps to ensure timely implementation of the project. "Hue Citadel is a heritage site with many tangible and intangible cultural and historical values. Therefore, audio guide service must convey condensed and scientific information but at the same time highlight these values. Among the automatic demonstration projects deployed by Vietsoftpro so far, the audio guide project in Hue heritage area has taken our greatest effort and passion,” added Mr. Hoang Quoc Viet.