| Hai Ba Trung Walking Street, Hue City
Considering the product models
In July 2023, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued a plan called "Some models for developing night tourism products" with the aim of attracting more tourists, increasing visitors' spending, and extending the length of stay for both domestic and international tourists. This plan has contributed to making night tourism to become a leading service for nighttime economic development in Vietnam.
The plan sets the target to strive for by 2025, the provinces and cities, including Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa, Hoi An (Quang Nam), Da Lat (Lam Dong), Can Tho, Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), Ho Chi Minh City, and Ba Ria - Vung Tau will all have at least one model for developing night tourism products. Among these, Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City would also establish their own separate nighttime entertainment complexes.
The plan also sets the objective of increasing the average length of tourists' stay to at least one night in the areas implementing these nighttime projects. By 2030, the plan aims to expand the formation of separate nighttime entertainment complexes in major tourist centers such as Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Thua Thien Hue, Hoi An (Quang Nam), Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa), Da Lat (Lam Dong), Can Tho, Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), and Ba Ria - Vung Tau.
From a developmental perspective, it is indeed a good opportunity for Thua Thien Hue tourism. However, achieving this is not simple, as it involves choosing suitable models that create attraction. This has been a longstanding concern for the tourism industry in Hue.
In reality, there are five models proposed in the project for developing night tourism products, along with distinctive services and complementary services. These models include cultural and artistic performance, sports and wellness, shopping and entertainment, night sightseeing, and culinary culture introduction with nighttime dining services. In a competitive context where large localities share the same pool of visitors, the challenge is to avoid duplication among these destinations, especially within the same region.
Over time, there have been night streets and walking streets in Thua Thien Hue. However, objective evaluation of their effectiveness and sustainability is still uncertain. Many questions arise as to why the rate of tourist stays in Hue is still low and in a short period. Perhaps, the answer that most people agree on is that Hue lacks genuine nighttime entertainment and recreational services.
Filling the "gap"
The nighttime economy, including night tourism, generates significant revenue, but it is still an untapped "gap", being a common situation in many localities in Vietnam.
From the perspective of tourism businesses, Ms. Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, Deputy General Director of Vietravel Tourism Company, points out that currently, nighttime expenditure by tourists accounts for about 70% of total spending throughout the trip. However, the current tourism products and nighttime economic services mainly focus on entertainment and nightlife activities (such as food and beverage), while cultural and artistic elements, which are essential for retaining and attracting tourists, have not been fully exploited.
According to Mr. Nguyen Van Phuc, Director of the Department of Tourism, the province has tasked Hue City to coordinate with the Department of Tourism as well as several departments and sectors to develop a research project on "Improving and Developing Night Tourism Products and Services in Hue City for the period 2021-2025, with a vision to 2030."
The project focuses on tourism products and services that take place from 6 p.m. the previous evening to 6 a.m. the following morning, with a focus on the following main types: entertainment services (art activities, theaters, music, entertainment programs, festivals, cultural events), culinary services and shopping (night markets, shopping areas, culinary experiences), and tourism (sightseeing, experiencing tourist attractions, cultural heritage sites, architectural structures, walking streets, pedestrian paths). Currently, there are already four night walking streets established for weekends, and there are plans to expand regular night activities.
The provincial tourism industry has also proposed that the National Tourism Administration have specific working programs with each province and city to determine the development direction of night tourism product models, in order to provide ideas for each locality to develop unique products, avoiding duplication, and creating diversity to attract visitors for longer stays.
In addition to the solutions that the province has been implementing, in order to effectively exploit night tourism, the tourism industry and relevant units need to proactively examine solutions based on the characteristics and strengths of Hue Ancient Capital. According to many locals and tourists, the cultural characteristics, delicious cuisine, and the traditional Ao-dai of Hue are the "memorable factors" that Hue can exploit and find suitable tourism products.
From the perspective of an expert, Mr. Suhash Chandar, CEO of Asia DMC (specializing in bringing MICE delegations from India to Vietnam), suggests that in order to attract more groups, it's necessary for cities in Vietnam to have more large shopping centers. This is because when compared to Thailand or Singapore, Vietnam still lacks shopping and entertainment services. This is also a good suggestion that Thua Thien Hue should consider.