|Visitors look at information provided by tourism booths in the Old Quarter in Ha Noi. City authorities are considering whether to demolish or upgrade the booths. — VNS Photo Thai Ha
HA NOI — Demolish or upgrade them.
These are the two options contained in a proposal that the Ha Noi Department of Culture, Sport, and Tourism has submitted to the municipal administration for dealing with the tourism information booths that were set up in the city eight years ago.
Department director To Van Dong said that under the first option, all 37 booths will be demolished. Under the second, they would be upgraded and made smaller, he said.
"The costs (of the upgrade) will be covered by private enterprises, not the State. Enterprises will be invited to submit bids for the upgrade," he said.
Dong said the department has carried out a pilot project on the second option with two booths, one at the Ha Noi Opera House, and the other at the garden with the statue of Ly Thai To in Hoan Kiem District.
The smaller booths now provide updated information to visitors, he said.
If the pilot project has the desired effect, the remaining 35 booths in other parts of the city can be upgraded, the proposal says.
Mai Tien Dung, deputy director of the department, said they preferred the second option of upgrading the booths to removing them.
"Demolition is the last option we would consider," he said.
Meanwhile, visitors that Viet Nam News spoke to said they opposed the removal of the booths because they have found them useful.
Freddy Mulumba, 29, a Republic of Congo national, said that he totally objected to the demolition.
"Information provided by the booths is very useful, especially for those who do not know much about tourism in Viet Nam", he said.
A French tourist, Jessica Raclot said that she has used the booths several times to book bus tickets and cruises including one to Ha Long Bay, one of the nation's most popular tourism destinations in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
"This type of booth is very useful to tourists because they can be found in many places in Ha Noi", she said.
According to the tourism department, the 37 booths were set up in 2006 to provide tourists with free maps, brochures and information on hotels and tour operators. Each of them costs US$10,000 to set up.
However, most of the booths have stopped working as their physical condition has deteriorated and they are not able to provide tourists with updated information, it added. — VNS