Hanoi’s Rise to World-class Destination
According to Hanoi’s Department of Tourism, the city welcomed around 24 million visitors in 2017, a nine percent increase compared with 2016. Among these, international tourists were estimated at 5 million, with 3.5 million international visitors choosing to stay in Hanoi during their visit, an over 20 percent increase compared to 2016.
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Total revenue from tourists in Hanoi was estimated at almost VND71 billion, increasing 15 percent compared with 2016.
Countries with the highest numbers of international visitors to Hanoi include China, Korea, Japan, France, the US, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Canada.
This positive development is largely thanks to the opening of the weekend walking street around Hoan Kiem Lake in September 2016. Providing a safe space for a weekend stroll around the lake, live music in various forms and other cultural activities, the weekend walking street has become a part of life for Hanoi residents and a must-have experience for visitors to the capital.
The Added Value of the Weekend Walking Streets
Before the weekend walking street was opened, Hanoi was considered less attractive as a tourist destination compared to the surrounding provinces in Northern Vietnam, including the cultural heritage town of Sapa on the edge of Mount Fansipan and the World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay. Previously, many tourists only chose to stay in Hanoi for a one day stop-over before travelling to other destinations on their journey. This was especially true for those travellers who had booked a tour.
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Hung Vu, managing director of HA Travel said that because of the close proximity between the city’s major attractions such as the Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature, tour operators could easily pack everything into a day tour.
There were not many activities suitable for tours at night, except for the water puppet show at Thang Long Theatre and the Dong Xuan night market. The addition of the weekend walking street, connected to the night market, has created more room for tourists to explore the life and culture of the city, alongside its natural sights and historical buildings.
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Following this development, a completely new walking street, named after Vietnam’s well known composer Trinh Cong Son, was opened in August 2017 near West Lake. This area has become increasingly popular with international tourists and expats in recent years, due to the availability of spacious, luxurious hotels and Airbnb apartments that cannot be found in the Old Quarter.
Travelling for Comfort and Culture
As Luong Ngoc Khanh, general director of H&K Hospitality told #iAMHCMC, other parts of the city that are a popular choice for foreigners include Hai Ba Trung District, to the south of the Old Quarter, and Cau Giay and Nam Tu Liem Districts, to the west of the Old Quarter. These areas are filled with modern buildings and facilities, which help them stand out as a wise choice for both leisure and business travellers.
As Hanoi continues to expand and develop its tourism facilities and services in coming years, professionals in the field expect to see a rise in five-star hotels specially geared for tourists and business travellers who are choosing Hanoi as a single stop destination rather than as part of a pre-packaged tour. The focus will be on trips which combine comfort and culture.
One thing that everyone can agree on is that tourism is just beginning in the nation’s capital. The city was the only destination in Vietnam listed on TripAdvisor’s 2018 list of “The Top 25 Destinations in the World”. Now the challenge is making sure Hanoi maintains its status year after year.
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