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|Fresh project rejuvenating Vietnamese cities’ nightlife|
Key contents of the project aim to raise awareness of the benefits and risks of nightlife, present suitable policies, suggest master plans to operate nightlife, as well as the pilot project to extend night-time services to 6am of the next morning at some tourism areas like Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Hoi An, Hue, Can Tho, Dalat, and Phu Quoc.
Night-time services have been present for many years, especially in popular areas of larger cities like Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao streets and Hanoi’s Old Quarter. People who are living in these areas do business in various sectors like clothes, souvenirs, restaurants, bars, hotels, convenience stores, coffee shops, and other services and normally also serve many foreign visitors.
Expressing the happiness for the approval of the night-time economy project, Nguyen Thi Duyen, a shop owner on Hanoi’s Ta Hien street, said that the policy would remove a lot of challenges to their business.
“Tourists arriving here want to discover more and more things related to our life and culture. However, the current regulations on the early closing time are barriers hindering our business. Parties also have to stop at some point, reducing the enjoyment of visitors, which does not benefit anyone,” said Duyen.
Although the revenue of Tran Quoc Dat’s pub on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien street has been reduced by almost 80 per cent in recent months, he smiled as he got asked about the new policy.
“Despite being hit hard by the pandemic, we spent most of the time during social distancing to fix and repair the pub and restructure our business plan to welcome foreign customers after international flights have resumed. Now, we are further motivated by the new policy of the government,” said Dat.
Sharing the same opinion with the businesspeople in these areas, Mathew, a foreign expert working in Vietnam, who usually visits Hanoi’s Old Quarter every weekend with his friends, highly appreciates the approval of the new project.
“I and my friends love Hanoi’s Old Quarter very much and would like to enjoy it as long as possible. So the decision comes at the right time and will benefit the state a lot and contribute to developing tourism faster and stronger after the pandemic,” Mathew said.
In the larger cities, nightlife is mostly limited to areas like the Old Quarter and several other streets. However, in touristic areas like Quang Ninh, Danang, Khanh Hoa, and Kien Giang, other projects like casinos are also contributing to the options for local and foreign visitors.
Commenting on the importance of the night-time economy, Tran Dinh Quy, chairman of the Real Estate Brokers’ Association in Khanh Hoa province told Timeout, “The night-time economy is the key to opening the door to huge profits and creating remarkable growth for tourism. Therefore, it should be integrated into every resort project to increase their value and attract more tourists. Vietnam is following New York, Sydney, Paris, Amsterdam, and Bangkok in developing nightlife, so I hope nightlife development will be carried out well when the legal framework is ready.”
The government has urged cities and provinces to research and build up their own night-time economy model, which is suitable for each locality’s conditions like infrastructure, resources, and the ability of mobilising investment to promote the advantages of the locality. From there, localities could provide new experiences to visitors as well as contribute to the performance of tourism and related services.
Overshadowing the newly established night-time project, some Vietnamese cities were forced to halt nightlife for the time being as new coronavirus cases were discovered in Danang last month. As of July 31, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 558 cases of COVID-19. The latest 116 cases were all linked to Danang.
As a precaution, Danang city announced 15 days of social distancing measures from July 28, stopped accepting any tourists for the same time, and suspended non-essential services such as amusement parks, bars, beauty parlors, discos, karaoke, and massage parlors. The measures also include local food and drink businesses for takeaway and online sales.
The city’s residents are advised to stay home except for necessities such as food, medicine, and emergencies, and several streets have also been placed under lockdown.
All flights, including all international repatriation flights, passenger buses, taxis, and trains to and from Danang have also been suspended.
Meanwhile, provincial authorities in Quang Nam and Phu Yen have temporarily closed tourist attractions, and social distancing measures have also been imposed in Hoi An and Dak Lak province.
Elsewhere, non-essential businesses such as bars and clubs in Hanoi, Thua Thien-Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City have also been closed until further notice, while gatherings of more than 30 people have also been banned in these cities.
Additionally, Hanoi banned visits to karaoke bars and even tra da stalls on sidewalks from August 1.
Vietnam’s borders will remain closed to international tourists as per decision by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in order to prevent a new outbreak of the pandemic.
The new cases could not only deliver yet another blow to the already hard-hit tourism and nightlife economy but also halt their recovery which, after nearly 100 days without community infection, seemed to slowly bloom again after promoting domestic tourism.