Culture and sporting prowess at heart of Haiphong’s success

May 06, 2024 | 08:00
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The culture and sports sector in Haiphong has made a mark with a series of large-scale programmes and activities, positively contributing to the economic, cultural, and social development of the northern port city.

Although regarded mostly as a port city, Haiphong has its hand dipped in many areas when it comes to its overall development.

“Haiphong is known as an important port city, but also as an industrial centre, a seaport, and a northern centre for economic, cultural, medical, educational, scientific, commercial, and technological advances,” said Tran Thi Hoang Mai, director of Haiphong Department of Culture and Sports. “In recent years, the culture and sports sector has deployed and coordinated with departments, sectors, and localities, mobilising strong participation from all walks of life and social resources, to contribute to making the sector truly become a driving force for sustainable development.”

Culture and sporting prowess at heart of Haiphong’s success
Haiphong boasts a plethora of attractions that are classed as national relics or heritages, Photo: Duc Nghia

Haiphong’s culture sector has contributed to the successful organisation of major holidays, as well as the organisation of competitions, performances, and cultural and sports programmes. In 2023, the sector also made a big impression by effectively implementing the Television Stage Project.

The project contributed to improving the material and spiritual lives of the people, building a healthy, civilised, modern cultural environment while preserving and promoting the cultural identity of Haiphong people. The programmes have themes, content, and ideas to evoke revolutionary traditions, rich history, and express love for the homeland, country, and people of Vietnam, and the characteristics of the land and people of Haiphong.

Artist Tu Long, deputy director of the Army Cheo Theatre said, “This stage project is not only a popular stage channel but also a school channel. People can learn about Haiphong’s history through this television channel.”

In addition to effectively implementing many programmes and plays under the project, the Haiphong culture and sports sector has successfully hosted many national activities, such as the Vietnam Sea and Island Folklore Festival, the 2023 Do Son-Haiphong Festival, a mobile poster exhibition, and art and song composition competitions.

The city’s literary and artistic activities have positive impacts on the tastes, feelings, and emotions of the people and the political, economic, and social development of the city and the country. In the field of elite sports, the city’s athletes have participated in 135 domestic and international sports tournaments over the past years, winning 535 medals of all kinds.

Spreading education of love

Haiphong is a city with a rich historical tradition and cultural depth with extremely valuable tangible and intangible cultural heritages. It boasts over 550 relics ranked at all levels, including one world heritage, two special national relics, 119 national relics, 21 antiques recognised as national treasures, and 11 intangible cultural heritages included on the national list. These include the traditional General Le Chan Festival, Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival, Trang Trinh Nguyen Binh Khiem Temple, the Five Sacred Temple Festival, water puppetry art in Nhan Hoa commune, and more besides.

Preserving and promoting good traditional values of the nation through tangible and intangible culture helps spread the education of love for the homeland, the moral tradition of being grateful to benefactors, and the values of truth, goodness, and beauty to a large number of people, especially the younger generation.

In September 2023, at the 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee, the Halong Bay-Cat Ba Archipelago was recognised by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage. This heritage in particular has been maintained and promoted by the city, contributing to the sustainable development of the city in a green, civilised, and modern direction.

This is the seventh year since Vietnam began implementing the strategy for the development of cultural industries to 2020, and with a vision to 2030.

Investment resources for this have initially had positive changes, especially after holding national cultural conferences in each locality and across the country. For Haiphong, budget allocation for the culture and sports sector has increased by about 14 per cent. Many grassroots cultural and sports institutions are invested in by localities to renovate, upgrade, and build new ones, putting them into effective operation.

In addition to allocating resources from the state budget, the engagement of private businesses and individuals in cultural and sports activities is also being implemented and receives the support and companionship of businesses located in the area, contributing to creating important resources for cultural development.

However, according to experts, to develop the cultural industry in Haiphong, it is necessary to identify culture as a form of resources, which then needs technology and processes to exploit that resource. When exploiting, it is necessary to have a unique product from which to gain economic and educational benefits. This direction could help Haiphong to have guidelines and policies to boost the cooperation of managers, scientists, and investors in cultural development.

Developing culture

To continue promoting the driving role of the culture and sports industry in socioeconomic development, the city has issued a master plan for development towards 2030.

To implement the project, the Haiphong Department of Culture and Sports continues to maintain and promote programmes such as Lighting up the City Theatre; retained all five art units (Cheo, puppetry, cai luong, theatre, and performance arts) to continue creating opportunities and motivation for artists to contribute; and created videos to promote the city’s historical relics.

The city has been focusing on directing the development of culture in general, thereby turning it into a development resource, turning heritage into assets, and effectively implementing the Party’s viewpoints and the state’s policies.

According to Tran Thi Hoang Mai, localities with abundant cultural capital have been constantly building impressive cultural products rich in identity from unique materials.

“This not only helps honour and promote the destination, but also contributes to evoking creativity from heritage resources. Haiphong is implementing specific goals for cultural industry development,” Mai said.

Currently, Haiphong’s culture and sports sectors is actively directing relevant units to focus on building and improving experiential activities, displays, and exhibitions, making them more creative, attractive, and professional. This contributes to effectively promoting heritage values, increasing the attractiveness of destinations, and gradually promoting the development of cultural tourism.

In the long term, localities and units in the city need to have appropriate methods and policies to build a long-term cultural strategy for promoting the value of monuments in general and festivals in particular, with cultural tourism products characteristic of each land, creating material value and enriching the spiritual life of the public and tourists. This is the policy of Haiphong in directing and organising implementation from the city level to the tourism and cultural establishments and businesses, Mai added.

Implementing digital transformation and enhancing the application of scientific achievements in preserving monuments and heritage will also bring historical and cultural relics closer to the community. Those actions will positively contribute to the process of preserving and promoting cultural values, turning cultural heritage into a tourism product, and therefore developing Haiphong’s economy and society.

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By Son Pham

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