Hanoi renews traditional products to attract tourists
Quoc Oai, a suburban district in western Hanoi, is expected to be a special historical and cultural destination, especially for international visitors.
Quoc Oai District, located about 30 kilometers southwest of Hanoi, has attempted to revitalize traditional tourism products, including investing in spiritual cultural tourism and developing a new tour connecting Thay Pagoda, Tuan Chau tourist site in Sai Son Commune, and So communal house in Cong Hoa Commune.
|Thay Pagoda will be received the title "the Special National Monument of Thay Pagoda". Photos: Mai Huong|
On April 21 and 22, the district will hold the program "Thay Pagoda Cultural and Historical Tourism Journey in 2023" at the special national relics site of Thay Pagoda and the area around Sai Son Mountain and Hoang Xa Cave.
The program's opening ceremony, scheduled for April 21, will include activities such as "A Day to Explore Quoc Oai," which will honor various types of intangible cultural heritage in the region and introduce the capital's cultural and historical tourist attractions.
In the event, travel agencies will introduce cultural and historical tours with coupons and promotions to visitors.
In particular, visitors to Thay Pagoda can experience a space showcasing culinary specialties and products rated by the One Commune One Product (OCOP) program, and traditional local goods, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
As part of the program, there will be a ceremony to announce the recognition of the "Special National Monument of Thay Pagoda" and Sai Son Rocky Mountain.
A series of activities will be organized to kick off the Thay Pagoda Festival from April 24 to 26 (from the fifth to the seventh day of the third Lunar month) and the public holidays from April 30 (National Reunification Day) to May 1 (International Workers' Day).
According to Nguyen Duc Nam, Head of the district's Culture and Information Department, this year visitors to the annual Thay Pagoda Festival will experience the re-enactment of rural daily life and production, and folk games such as human chess, swinging, blindfolded pot-banging, and tug-of-war. "In particular, visitors can enjoy traditional cultural and artistic performances, including water puppetry, gongs, quan ho (love duet singing), UNESCO-recognized intangible cultural heritage."
|The major attraction of Thay Pagoda Festival is Quan ho singing performance. Photo: Thanh Hai/The Hanoi Times|
These various activities are expected to enable Quoc Oai to welcome up to 500,000 visitors in 2023, the same as in 2019. In the first three months of 2023, the district welcomed more than 100,000 tourists, including more than 60,000 visitors to Thay Pagoda.
Mai Huong, who lives in Thanh Xuan District and visits Thay Pagoda annually with a frequency of four trips a year, said it is one of her favorite tourist destinations.
"My family and I often return to this place because of the ancient architecture of the pagoda, the beautiful scenery of mountains and caves, and the surrounding service facilities," she told The Hanoi Times.
Huong said the trip from central Hanoi to the relic site is short, making it ideal for visits by groups of family or friends.
|Mai Huong and her friends visit Thay Pagoda in March.|
The renovated infrastructure and appealing cultural activities regularly held at the relic site have helped Thay Pagoda and other tourist sites in Quoc Oai District to retain visitors like Huong's family and attract new ones.
The topography of Quoc Oai District characterized by a semi-mountainous terrain that combines hills and mountains provides many magnificent natural sites that are conducive to the development of cultural heritage tourism and ecotourism.
The district authority has focused its resources on building and developing a number of special and outstanding tourist areas and attractions, such as health resorts, and community-based tourist sites in Dong Xuan and Phu Man communes. In addition, the district has piloted five models of agricultural and rural tourism development linked to relics in Cong Hoa, Tan Hoa, Sai Son, Dong Xuan, Phu Man, Hoa Thach, Phu Cat, and Dong Yen communes.
Hoang Nguyen Ung, Vice Chairman of Quoc Oai District People's Committee, said that the district has invested in infrastructure and parking lots at relics site, lighting system, and new tours to Thay Pagoda.
In addition, the district will offer various tourism products around the Day River and Tich River areas, and organize a pilot system of electric vehicles at Thay Pagoda.
"With the advantage of convenient transportation and diverse tourism products, we hope to develop Quoc Oai District into an attractive destination on the outskirts of Hanoi, partly building Hanoi a safe, friendly, high-quality and attractive destination," Ung stressed.
Quoc Oai, along with other suburban districts of Thach That, Son Tay, and Ba Vi, is a focus of the city's plan to improve the tourism quality related to heritage, relics, and handicraft villages.
In 2023, Hanoi is expected to welcome 22 million arrivals, an increase of 17.6% year-on-year.
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