Festival to celebrate Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay, in the north-ern province of Quang Ninh, was officially recognised as a New Wonder early this month. As a result, the authorities plan to upgrade services and improve Carnival Ha Long to promote their achievement. Ha Quang Long, the director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism tells Viet Nam News about the subject.
|Proud: Ha Quang Long, the director of the Quang Ninh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. — VNS File Photo
How will Carnival Ha Long and Quang Ninh Culture and Tourism Week be co-ordinated to mark the celebration of Ha Long Bay's official recognition as a New Wonder?
Quang Ninh Culture and Tourism Week 2012 will be organised as usual from April 28-May 3, Carnival Ha Long as a highlight, on May 1. The reception ceremony for the New Wonder Certificate will take place at the Carnival's opening, both to save money and increase the significance of the festival.
In previous years, the carnival has not taken full advantage of all the cultural and geological features of the region. This year, under the direction of People's Artist Le Tien Tho, the carnival will include art performances, masquerade parties, street art and a parade. We hope all of this will give a more complete picture of the diverse ethnic groups and tourism potential of Quang Ninh Province.
This year will be the first time the carnival will be organised with the full participation of local people and artists from Quang Ninh. For festival-goers, it will offer a chance to experience the everyday life and culture of the province.
Culture, sport and tourism events will spotlight Bai Chay and Tuan Chau, in Ha Long City. There will also be activities organised alongside the festival that will show off the attributes of other areas in the province, including, Mong Cai, Uong Bi, Dong Trieu and Van Don.
Quang Ninh Culture and Tourism Week 2012 will the most successful yet, because of the input and participation of so many foreign groups from China, Laos, South Korea, delegates from the East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (EATOF) and the countries of which localities recognised as World Wonders.
We expect that the event will attract over 50,000 tourists to the province.
As you mentioned, this is the first real expansion of Carnival Ha Long. Have there been any organisational difficulties?
There is always the pressure of time when organising the festival, especially when approaching the opening ceremony. Everyone involved works very hard to prepare.
On the other hand, I believe that we have the experience to put on an extremely successful festival. We hope that it will reflect the uniqueness, culture and hospitality of the people who live here.
The tourism week is not only an important event to promote the image and landscapes of Quang Ninh. It also contributes to our competitiveness in the tourism industry. Further it's a good chance to further promote Ha Long Bay and raise awareness of the importance of conservation among both locals and tourists.
Will special tours or programmes be launched for this occasion?
Entry to all sites at Ha Long Bay will be free of charge for tourists from April 28 to May 1, to show gratitude on behalf of the province to all the visitors and other people who helped in our campaign to earn the title of one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
We are co-operating with a number of tour agencies and coach services to make access easier to the most beautiful spots of the province, such as Ha Long Bay and Yen Tu Pagoda in Uong Bi District.
What do you think is the responsibility of local authorities and the residents of the bay, especially now that it has been recognised as a World Wonder?
We are proud that Ha Long Bay has received this new title, but we're also aware of responsibility that comes with it.
Firstly, the local tourism infrastructure should be renovated. Other tasks include improving services, security and traffic. All these things will be important to making a good impression on visitors. However, being recognised as a World Wonder does not automatically mean prices for goods and services will go up.
Another important responsibility is to protect the environment. We are actively co-operating with international researchers to develop the tourism industry in Ha Long Bay so that it sustainable and meets international standards. This is part of our long-term project through 2020. — VNS