Pedestrian street – cultural brand of Hanoi

Friday, 2019-10-25 16:01:22
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Various attractive cultural and art activities have been held in the pedestrian streets around Hoan Kiem Lake. (Photo: ND/Ngoc Mai)
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NDO – After three years of pilot operation, the pedestrian streetsaround Hoan Kiem Lake and surrounding areas have become a community cultural space as well as a ‘stage’ for many national and international cultural and tourism activities, attracting more visitors to the capital city.

The Hanoi municipal People's Committee today has asked Hoan Kiem District to arrange transport and ensure security and order to promote the values of the pedestrian streets to move to the official operation stage as well as research the expansion of the walking space to the south of the old quarter.

Creative cultural space

Previously, coming to the space around Hoan Kiem Lake, tourists could only visit landscapes and relic sites. However,since September 2016, residents and visitors have immersed in a giant outdoor stage, with various cultural activities, at weekends. As many as 410 major cultural events have taken place in the pedestrian streets over the past three years. In addition to events of the capital city, numerous activities promoting the culture, arts and tourism of 20 provinces and cities around the country as well as international exchange programmes have been held, such as Ha Giang’s Mong ethnic minority cultural space in Hanoi, Cherry Blossom Festival, Vietnam – the Republic of Korea Friendship Festival and ‘European village’ programme.

Coming to the pedestrian streets, anyone can become an ‘actor’. The city has created spaces for all people to show their talents and creativity. In addition to performances held by relevantagencies, those who have registered to management agencies can perform in the space around the lake. Therefore, both professional and unprofessional individuals as well as bands of different genres, including jazz, classical music, traditional music and pop, select Hoan Kiem Lake as a performance space. This uniqueness has contributed to nurturing the culturalcreativity and passion of arts among many people of differentages.

The attraction of the pedestrian streets is shown through the number of visitors to Hoan Kiem District. The pedestrian streets attract an average of around 3,000 – 5,000 tourists during the daytime and 15,000 – 20,000 during evenings. The number of tourists to the District (with accommodation) has continuously increased over the years, from 1.3 million in 2016 to 1.9 million in 2017 and nearly 2.2 million in 2018. By the end of September 2019, Hoan Kiem District received 1.2 million tourists.

Accordingly, the trade, service and tourism activities have been developed. There are now 176 travel agencies and 528 hotels and accommodation facilities with 12,404 rooms. In recent years, around 60 accommodations have been established annually and hundreds of households have turned to providingservices in association with tourists’ demand. As a result, the District’s budget revenue has increased sharply, from over VND5.2 trillion (US$224 million) in 2016 to over VND7.7 trillion (nearly US$332 million) in 2018. The budget revenue from tourism is expected to reach around VND9.5 trillion (over US$409 million) in 2019.

Promoting cultural values

Hanoi municipal People’s Committee asked Hoan Kiem DistrictPeople’s Committee to coordinate with relevant agencies to improve the quality of cultural and art activities and street festivals as well as continue to ensure parking, order and security and streamline transport to move the pilot operation of pedestrian streets into official operation. The District was also required to set up a cultural space in Dinh Le – Nguyen Xi streets to expand the pedestrian streets, while planning and managing the organisation of entertainment activities for children and street art performances, creating momentum to further promote the cultural and economic values of pedestrian streets.

According to Vice Chairman of Hoan Kiem District People’s Committee, the five pedestrian streets are expected to be added, including Dinh Liet, Gia Ngu, Cau Go, Hang Be, Hang Dau and Cau Go and Trung Yen lanes. The expansion will not only bring about benefits to the city but also require further efforts of the authorities in the management of cultural activities, security, order and traffic safety. Hoan Kiem District has drafted a regulation on managing activities in the pedestrian streets around Hoan Kiem Lake and has transferred it to the municipal Department of Justice for appraisal before submitting to the Hanoi People's Committee for approval. It is hoped that the regulation will create a legal corridor for better management of the pedestrian streets in the near future.