Tuyên Citadel Festival promoted as national, international 'tourism product'

September 22, 2023 - 13:02
Tuyên Citadel Festival, held during the Mid-Autumn Festival every year, has become a famous event at home and abroad, attracting tens of thousands of tourists.
Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Tuyên Quang Province Hoàng Việt Phương

The 14th tour programme themed "Qua Những Miền Di Sản Việt Bắc" (Through Việt Bắc Heritage Areas) and Tuyên Citadel Festival 2023 are among the most prominent cultural and tourism events to take place this month in the northern mountain province of Tuyên Quang. Vietnam News Agency talks to Hoàng Việt Phương, Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Tuyên Quang Province, about the festival, and its highlights and lessons learnt after nearly 20 years of organising the events as well as solutions for the province to develop it into a 'tourism product' with a national and international brand.

2023 is the first year implementing a project on reforming the Tuyên Citadel Festival in the period 2023-25. What is this project's goal?

Tuyên Quang is a mountainous province located between the Northeast and Northwest of the country. It is a locality rich in historical and revolutionary traditions and is known as the 'capital of the liberated zones' and ‘resistance capital’, where living there are 22 ethnic groups with extremely abundant and diverse cultural treasures.

A model of Việt Bắc war zone - an important historical relic will be shown at the Tuyên Citadel Festival.

Moreover, Tuyên Quang is known as a locality with beautiful natural landscapes, many unique and impressive legends and traditional folk festivals. Among them, Tuyên Citadel Festival, held periodically during the Mid-Autumn Festival every year, has become a famous event at home and abroad, attracting tens of thousands of tourists to admire and experience it.

Based on their affection and love for children and with their talent and ingenuity, Tuyên Quang people have created a very creative, unique, brilliant, and impressive festivity programme for children during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

After nearly 20 years of creation, maintenance and development, the Tuyên Citadel Festival has become an outstanding cultural event, an attractive tourist destination for a large number of tourists including children from across the country and abroad. The festival has established Vietnamese records three times for having the largest traditional lantern models shown at the mid-autumn night, the largest tray of offerings and the largest pair of revolving lanterns (đèn kéo quân) for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

In 2022, Tuyên Quang welcomed over 2.37 million visitors, of whom 300,000 attended the Tuyên Citadel Festival, the largest ever number of tourists to attend the event.

The festival has created opportunities and favourable conditions for Tuyên Quang to introduce and promote images of its land, people, unique cultural values, potential, strengths and tourism products attracting domestic and foreign visitors, and creating momentum to lure more investments in tourism while contributing to building an important economic sector of the province.

The provincial People's Committee on December 27, 2022 issued decision No 698/QD-UBND approving a project on reforming the Tuyên Citadel Festival during 2023 - 2025. The project aims to develop the festival as a tourism product associated with promoting the province's tourism sector amid the trend of globalisation and international integration, ensuring the preservation and promotion of local cultural identity as well as effectively exploiting the potential and strengths of local tourism.

A lantern model of Hai Bà Trưng (Trưng Sisters) - the two well-known Vietnamese national heroines.

Accordingly, the project includes reforms that adjust and innovate the scale, content, methods, space and time. It proposes fundamental tasks and creative plans and solutions for the festival to be relevant to current local conditions.

Tuyên Quang Province has pledged to build the Tuyên Citadel Festival into a unique tourism product on a regional, national and international scale by 2025 as a way to boost local economic efficiency, increase local incomes, create more jobs for organisations, individuals and businesses, and partly contribute to the provincial budget.

What is the difference of this year's events compared to previous years?

Tuyên Quang Province organises Tuyên Citadel Festival 2023 and the 14th tour programme "Through Việt Bắc Heritage Areas" from September 20-27.

The events attract the participation of six provinces in the Việt Bắc Region, the southern province of Bình Thuận and a number of foreign localities with co-operation and friendship with Tuyên Quang, including: Xiangkhouang (Laos), Imsil (South Korea), Wenshan Zhuang (China).

The highlight of the activities within the framework of this year's festival is the Tuyên Citadel Festival Night programme themed "Sparkling Colours of Tuyên Citadel Festival Night" which will be held on a national scale and broadcast live on national television channel VTV1 from 8:10pm on September 23 at Nguyễn Tất Thành Square, Tuyên Quang City.

The highlight of the Tuyên Citadel Festival is a parade of giant mid-autumn lantern models made based on legends, folk tales, historical figures, and animals.

The opening ceremony of the tour programme and the festival will open at 8:00pm on September 22. It will be broadcasted live on the provincial radio and television channel TTV and by nearly 40 other local radio and television stations throughout the country.

As a key activity this year, the festival night programme will include a procession of hundreds of giant, colorful mid-autumn lanterns, designed by people and residential groups in Tuyen Quang City and districts. The lanterns are elaborately and majestically made to bring the most vividly unique and special models to entertain teenagers, children, and all people and visitors at the festival.

Within the framework of the tourism programme and the festival, many other special activities will take place, such as a festival for community cultural and tourism villages from the six Việt Bắc provinces on September 23 in Tuyên Quang City, the "Cinema - Connecting heritage and tourism in Tuyên Quang" programme to take place for four days on September 21-24, the Tuyên Quang Province Trade and Tourism Fair 2023, a programme to display and introduce the quintessence of Vietnamese cuisine, the Hà Nội Beer Festival 2023 and other sideline sport and cultural activities.

What are solutions for Tuyên Quang to fulfill the goal of building and developing the festival into a national and international brand and to bring traditional cultural values into a unique tourism product?

Tuyên Quang Province focuses on implementing five key tasks and four groups of solutions stated in the Tuyên Citadel Festival Reform Project, period 2023-25.

Regarding the key tasks, first, it will embark on preparing documents and procedures to submit trademark registration for the product/service of Tuyên Citadel Festival.

Second, it will create specific, highly attractive tourism products and build recurring and sustainable tourist destinations to bring income and jobs to the community and contribute to the provincial budget.

Third, it will innovate the organisation of the event starting from 2023 to advance the festival to become a regional, national and international event and effectively exploit economic, cultural and tourism resources that benefit from the event.

Fourth, the province will also focus on developing and improving the quality of accommodation, dining and entertainment services, facilities and infrastructure in tourist destinations in Tuyên Quang City and district centres.

Fifth, all resources will be mobilised for developing and perfecting infrastructure to meet the development requirements of the festival. Appropriate support and encouragement will be offered to villages and groups of local people to actively participate in the festival.

The lantern parade from above at the Tuyên Citadel Festival. — Photos courtesy of the festival organisers

Regarding solutions, the province will focus on synchronously implementing measures to enhance investment and policy mechanisms, socio-economic activities, culture, tourism, propaganda, promotion, organising and management of the festival.

Accordingly, capital will be prioritised for infrastructure projects related to the organising space. There will be a reward mechanism for creative activities during the festival and a programme for improving the quality of social activities during the event.

At the same time, the province will actively disseminate and raise the awareness of all sectors, businesses and people about integrated tourism development as a way to bring high economic efficiency, change the social status and stimulate positive social relationships.

Tuyên Quang determines to reform and develop but must maintain the identity and tradition of the festival targeting teenagers and children and to meet the demands of tourists in the current time.

Organising work for Tuyên Citadel Festival thus needs to be supplemented with modern elements and focus on developing a system of accommodation services, homestays, hotels, and restaurants with improved quality to meet tourists' demands and create a good impression of the image of Tuyên Quang as a friendly province rich in hospitality. VNS