Hanoi is poised to pour millions into creating more tourist-friendly facilities such as shopping malls, nightclubs and entertainment and leisure complexes. Hanoi is the most visited destination in Vietnam, but travellers only stay for an average of 2.1 days.
Whilst other prime tourism Asian destinations offer a wealth of both daytime activities and nightlife, Vietnam has lagged behind. Thailand is world famous for its energetic nightlife scene, Singapore is bursting with top-end shopping malls and Hong Kong has a 24/7 leisure atmosphere. Vietnam now needs to compete in order to grow its tourist infrastructure as its sadly lacking in cinemas, nightclubs, theme parks, shopping malls etc.
Even within the main cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City there is very little for travellers to do in the evenings, outside of a few bars and karaoke clubs. Visitors can take a leisurely dinner then see what entertainment is on offer at their hotel. By 2030 it’s estimated that there will be some 5.1 million visitors heading into Hanoi annually.
Under a joint strategy by the departments for culture, sports and tourism, the center of Hanoi, around the Hoan Kiem Lake district would be developed with the ancient streets being pedestrianised and whole streets set aside to cater for bars, food and shops. The suburb areas could comfortably house larger entertainment complexes with theatres, bowling alleys and theme parks all a consideration. Hanoi currently has one theme park; the Ho Tay Water Park and its suggested that the Thu Le Park could become a leading zoology park, Bach Thao could become Asia’s leader of exotic plant species and Thong Nhat could be redeveloped for elite sports and leisure pursuits.
The growth would need to be approached in a sympathetic manner however so as not to taint the cultural and historical image that Vietnam has carefully built up. But increasingly worldwide tourists are also looking for more excitement and entertainment and will vote with their feet (and wallets) if their need isn’t met.
What do you think? Have you been to Hanoi? Leave your comments below…
By Julie Bowman