Viet Nam News
HỘI AN — The ancient city of Hội An began to expand pedestrian areas on streets of Trần Phú, Nguyễn Huệ (in front of Hội An market), Phan Châu Trinh, Công Nữ Ngọc Hoa and the Hoài River Square yesterday.
The walking area project, which began in 2002, helps create more space for tourists and ease the crowding of tourists in old quarters.
Vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, Nguyễn Văn Sơn, said the pedestrian area in the old quarters is currently overloaded with tourists, which creates a burden on traffic, trading, shopping and tourism service.
He said the city decided to reserve more streets in the city’s western region, near Hội An market and outside of the old quarter, for clean air walking space for visitors.
Sơn said the city also set up more cuisine centres, night markets and folk games entertainment and shopping area for tourists.
As scheduled, the expanded walking streets open from 9am to 11am in the morning and from 3pm till 9.30pm in rainy season or 10pm in summer. Motorbikes or engine vehicles are allowed access for four hours per day and at night time only.
Tourists walk past Hội An market. The city has expanded walking area outside the old quarters for tourists. — VNS Photo Công Thành
In 2015, Hội An, a UNESCO heritage site, designated Nguyễn Phúc Chu Street a walking street where only pedestrians and non-engined vehicles are allowed.
Since 2002 Hội An has earmarked several streets for pedestrians and non-engined vehicles to reduce noise and ensure safety.
The ancient city has made efforts to build a green and clean city based on sustainable development.
Hội An was the first city in Việt Nam to host a Car Free Day and the first location in the central province to launch the 3-R (reduce, reuse and recycle) programme while promoting the use of reusable bags and the operation of a solar-powered lighting in the city’s square.
The city plans to promote bicycle use among public agencies, as well as boost bicycle use among local residents, with a goal of 100,000 local bicycles in use.
Most foreign tourists use bicycles while touring the city, beaches and villages during their visits to Hội An.
Hội An was chosen for the 2013 Townscape Award by the UN-Habitat Regional Office in Asia. It was also listed among the top 10 Asian cities in US magazine Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards in 2012.
Hội An alone hosted 1.7 million tourists last year. — VNS