Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism: an attractive destination

Wednesday, 2017-02-08 14:17:42
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Lo Lo ethnic minority people from Ha Giang Province are reproducing their traditional dance at the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism.
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NDO—The number of visitors to the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in Dong Mo Tourism Area in Son Tay Town, Hanoi, reached 500,000 on December 26, 2016, marking an increase of 200% compared to last year.

With numerous unique cultural activities from the ethnic minority group’s culture, the village has become an attractive destination, particularly on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.

According to Decision No.667/QD-TTg, which was released on August 21, 1997 by the Prime Minister, on approving the master plan for the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Minority Culture and Tourism, the destination will become a national cultural centre, reproducing, preserving, promoting and exploiting the traditional cultural heritage of 54 ethnic groups around the country. The village also meets the demands of healthy entertainment, sporting and arts activities for both domestic and foreign visitors.

Through cultural and arts activities with rich and attractive content imbued with national culture, the village is expected to contribute to fostering the love of nature and the country among the people. Initially, the village consisted of models and artefacts, introducing the tangible cultural values of 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups to visitors; however, this idea was not efficient. In addition, the degradation of the outdoor artefacts decreased the number of visitors to the tourism area.

The Management Board of the village made changes to management and access to the ethnic culture, creating positive efficiency. They created conditions in which for ethnic minority people to live and reproduce their living space, daily activities and festivals, as well as produce in the fields and buy products typical of the village.

The national cultural space seems to have been completed thanks to the hearts and hands of ethnic minority people who are living here. In addition to their cultural and tourism events, various activities by artists from traditional arts theatres and clubs are being held in the village.

In 2016, nearly 1,000 artisans, old people and village patriarchs of ethnic minority groups from 20 provinces and cities around the country attended 12 events and 30 festivals in the village, featuring numerous performances of folk dances and singing, culinary fairs and exhibitions of traditional crafts. Ethnic minority people proudly introduce and teach their intangible cultural heritage, contributing to promoting the value of Vietnam’s traditional culture.

According to Nguyen Thanh Son, Director of the Department for Management of Ethnic Minority Areas under the Management Board of the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism, every year, in addition to the regular activities of seven ethnic minority groups, visitors can participate in events with specific themes, such as festivals welcoming the New Year in January and February and programmes praising the beauty of the landscape and people of regions around the country.

A wide variety of activities associated with major national holidays also took place in the village in the presence of many Party and State leaders as well as domestic and foreign visitors, such as the National Great Unity Week, the Vietnamese Ethnic Groups Cultural Day, Ha Giang Culinary Culture Space, festivals, folk games, the programme of making banh chung (square glutinous rice cake) for the poor and the performance of don ca tai tu (traditional musical art form of the south).

Towards becoming an attractive cultural tourism destination

It can be said that activities imbued with the tradition of Vietnamese ethnic groups at the tourism area just 40 minutes away from the capital by car is the best way to attract a large number of visitors.

The Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism has become an attractive destination for visitors in the capital and other provinces and cities to discover and relax on weekend days and holidays. According to a statistic, the number of visitors to the site reached over 500,000 in 2016, up 200% over 2015 and exceeding the target of 167%. There are also 72 travel companies from 17 provinces and cities that have selected the village as a tourist destination.

Practical experience is also one activity attracting visitors, particularly students on weekends. The village’s Management Board has coordinated with localities to mobilise thousands of ethnic minority people to participate in activities reproducing their daily lives and festivals. Visitors to the village can feel the peace and beauty of the villages with rice and corn full of terraced fields, boisterous laughter, folk songs and the colour of traditional festivals.

In addition to preserving, introducing and promoting national cultural values as well as enhancing the mutual understanding and solidarity among ethnic minorities, the Management Board set a target of stably and effectively operating the ethnic minority areas, attracting more investment to two functional areas and inviting more representatives of minority groups to live in the village. The managers have also paid much attention to the maintenance and repair of outdoor works, signs and indications and the collection and display of artefacts as well as the improvement of the quality of services, striving to make the village become an attractive cultural tourism destination.

The construction and operation of the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism are unprecedented. So far, the Management Board has effectively operated under Decision No. 667/QD-TTg, which was released by the PM on August 21, 1997, on the master plan for the village, said Temporary Head of the village’s Management Board Lam Van Khang.

NAM PHONG