Spring festival season sees surging visitors with improved safety measures

February 02, 2023 - 08:43
Since the beginning of the season, the culture ministry has issued many documents requesting localities strengthen management and organising works for all festival activities
FROM ALL OVER: Tourists enjoying spiritual ceremonies at Đông Cuông Temple Festival in the northern province of Yên Bái's Văn Yên District. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Authorities and experts are reporting a surge in the number of visitors at festivals held across the country, as the country gears up for the festival season after three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) reported on its website that after three years of impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the halting and reducing scales of many cultural festivals nationwide, this year's festivity season has returned with a spike in the number of visitors, though safety hasn't been compromised.

Since the beginning of the season, the ministry has issued many documents requesting localities strengthen management and organising works for all cultural activities. Local authorities have undertaken sufficient measures to ensure participants in the 2023 Spring Festival season are "safe, joyful and healthy".

Meanwhile, experts say the Spring Festival Season 2023 of the Year of the Cat is considered as an occasion for the community to reach a 'boom' in travelling to enjoy the traditional and cultural celebrations in famous spots, which were halted for a long time due to the pandemic.

So far, most of the famous spring festivals have opened, including the Hương (Perfume) Pagoda Festival, Sóc Temple Festival or Cổ Loa Citadel Festival in the North. They have attracted tens of thousands of visitors everyday, with no reports of violations in security and social order.

BACK WITH A BANG: After three years of COVID-19 delays, the festival season has returned this year with a spike in the number of visitors. Photo toquoc.vn

Nguyễn Bá Hiển, head of the Management Board of Hương Sơn tourist site in Hương Sơn Commune, Hà Nội's suburban Mỹ Đức District, said the Hương Pagoda Festival 2023 was taking place with the theme "An toàn, Văn minh, Thân thiện" (Safe, Civilised, Friendly).

This year, the festival has seen a reform in organisation with ticket sales changed from traditional to the electronic application model.

On the opening day of the festival, which fell on January 6 of the lunar calendar (Friday last week), the festival welcomed more than 40,000 visitors without any congestion, according to the official.

"We print e-invoice tickets and complete a new ticket control system via QR Code at 10 ticket control entrances," Hiển said.

"A bus service has been piloted to deliver and pick up tourists on three routes. The first route starts from Hội Xá bus station to Yến Vỹ wharf, the second is from Đục Khê bus stop to Đồng Cừ in front of Trình Temple and the third is from Bus station 1 to Tuyết Sơn Pagoda wharf. Congestion has been controlled," he added.

TIMES ARE CHANGING: The pig sacrifice ritual of the Ném Thượng Festival in Ném Thượng Village, in the northern province of Bắc Ninh, is now performed behind closed doors instead in public on the communal house's yard. Photo toquoc.vn

Ném Thượng Festival, in Bắc Ninh City's Ném Thượng Village in the northern province of Bắc Ninh, in the past few years has organised its pig sacrifice ritual behind closed doors instead on the communal house's yard. The once-controversial practice has changed its way of organising following a direction of the culture ministry and the People's Committee of Bắc Ninh Province.

Ninh Thị Thu Hương, director of Grassroots Culture Department under the culture ministry, said the department had sent inspection teams to localities since October 2022 to help them boost the organisation and management works in spiritual ceremonies and festivals at heritage sites.

AND THEY'RE OFF: The Gò Thì Thùng traditional horse racing festival in the central province of Phú Yên's Tuy An District. VNA/VNS Photo Tường Quân

This was instructed in the ministry's Directive 274 on strengthening State management of local cultural and artistic activities and festivals to protect and promote heritage values as well as restore and develop tourism.

"As has been forecast that the 2023 festival season will see a sudden increase of visitors and contents of activities, the department has worked with some localities which still organised controversial activities in the previous season, such as buffalo fighting in the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc and some others that need to undertake better organising measures, plans, and scenarios so that to have the best results," said Hương.

In addition, the ministry also asked authorities to enforce inspection before, during and after the festivals, while requiring an improvement in awareness and management among local authorities. VNS