The Panorama Hostel, Restaurant and Cafe on the Mã Pí Lèng mountain pass, Mèo Vạc District, Hà Giang Province. VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism stated on Monday evening that it backed decisions made by Hà Giang authorities over a controversial hostel-café built along one of the country’s most beautiful mountain passes, just hours after the business was told to shut down.
In a document signed by Deputy Minister Trịnh Thị Thủy, the ministry told the Hà Giang People’s Committee that it "agreed with the viewpoint and the solution" of the local authorities regarding the Panorama Hostel, Restaurant and Café situated on Mã Pí Lèng pass.
Earlier on Monday morning, Mèo Vạc District People’s Committee demanded the business to temporarily close following intense public pressure that the seven-storey structure ruined the stunning natural landscape of the area. Tourists, however, can still visit the location to enjoy a view of the famous Tú Sản Canyon.
According to the culture and tourism ministry, the building was located outside the second protection zone of the Mã Pí Lèng national scenery heritage, but was still within the UNESCO-recognised Đồng Văn Karst Plateau Geopark.
Taking that into account, the Panorama failed to comply with Article 36 of the Law on Cultural Heritage, the ministry concluded. The article demanded constructions of structures lying beyond a heritage’s protection zone that might damage the natural scenery and the surrounding biological environment to be approved first-hand by relevant authorities.
The appearance of the Panorama hostel-café was also deemed ‘not suited to the landscape and the traditional culture of the ethnic minorities in the region’, ‘blocking view of the visitors’, and ‘causing harm to the environment’.
The ministry affirmed that the construction of the Panorama was a breach of law and must be strictly handled to avoid negative impacts to the local community and society.
The ministry, however, did not demand the hostel-café be demolished. It instead asked the Hà Giang People’s Committee to renovate and turn the building into a stop-over for tourists. — VNS