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04/05/2022 - 08:43

Hue - The city of four seasons of festivity

For the first time, festivals are held all year round, from spring to summer and then autumn to winter. This is also a new highlight, a way to renew Hue Festival, and a premise to promote economic development from festival tourism.

Hue Festival will still keep the brand of national and international festivals

New effects

This is the first time that Hue Kite Festival is separated from Hue Festival, with a duration of 1 week. The activities of kite flying in the afternoons of the festival created a vibrant atmosphere, attracting a large number of families with young ones to come and visit the ancient capital.

The extended time allowed the public the opportunity to choose a suitable time to come to the festival. This change has helped kite artists in the three regions have more time to display unique and eye-catching kites and to increase publicity for the art of kite-flying in Vietnam.

About one month ago, when the Hue Nam Temple Festival was held, Mr. Huynh Tien Dat, Director of Hue Festival Center, Standing Deputy Head of the Organizing Committee of Hue Festival 2022 had said: For the first time, the Holy procession carried out by road has been recreated. This created a unique folk carnival on a large scale. It showcased the originality of colorful antique costumes, combined with performances and dances typical of the Mother Goddess Religion - a Vietnamese folk belief, worshiping goddesses and upholding the role of women. Only when there is enough time and space can the festivals be organized and restored in the most authentic way possible.

There will still be doubts about a festival that has established its brand name like Hue Festival that changes the scale from focusing on organizing all festivals and activities in a week to organizing them all year round.

In the world, festivals with a history of hundreds of years also gradually change their organizational form to suit the realities of life and society. The changes of Hue Festival are of no exception to this rule. It is important that the core values of the festival are preserved to retain its own identity.

According to Mr. Huynh Tien Dat, initially, insiders also had reservations about changing the organizational form. However, after only the spring festivals and a number of summer festivals were held, it is found that this is the right direction and the inevitable trend.

The first thing is the augmentation of festivals. Previously, because they were only held for 1to 2 days, and there were many different large-scale festivals organized at the same time, the attention paid to each festival was limited. Now, attention is being paid to both the guests and the hosts of the festivals.

The change means not only adapting to new situations, but also an opportunity for festivals to build their own brand names. Particularly, for traditional folk festivals, there are opportunities to preserve and step by step, spread into modern life.

Mr. Nguyen Dinh Thuan, Director of Dai Bang Tourism Joint Stock Company, said that although this is only the initial step, in terms of tourism exploitation, it has created a good effect.

In fact, newly organized festivals that have not yet built their own brand names will find it difficult to attract visitors. As for festivals in Hue, perhaps due to the fact that they were previously held within the framework of Hue Festival, they have more or less created first impressions and helped attract tourists to Hue. The regular organization all year round is also a condition for businesses to boldly build tour routes and increase advertising to attract customers.

According to the Provincial Tourism Association, it is the change in the year-round organization that has been motivating Hue businesses to boldly invest in forming new products to serve the influx of tourists coming to Hue during the festivals. This is effective for both sides: Hue has more new products, and the return effect is to make the festivals more attractive. When the two combine, they create diversity for tourism in the ancient capital.

Economic development from the festivals

Vice-Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Nguyen Thanh Binh affirmed that Thua Thien Hue is the leading locality in organizing a contemporary form of national and international festival called Hue Festival. After more than 20 years with 10 events, Hue Festival has become a notable festival in the system of festivals around the world. The role and position of Hue Festival are increasingly being recognized through the process of building and developing the brand.

“With the mission to continue promoting the achievements of the past festivals, gradually developing a new festival model, enriching festival activities, and creating attractive tourism products for Hue, organizing four-season-festivals is in line with the orientation of promoting socio-economy by promoting the economy from tourism. Based on changing the form of organizing Hue Festival, activities with royal elements will be re-created. In addition, folk activities and religious activities will be associated with tourism development to promote the community element and carry out socialization work," emphasized Vice-Chairman Nguyen Thanh Binh.

In the past, one must recognize the fact that at every Hue Festival held, the hotels were always full, and the quality of service was sometimes not guaranteed. Now, organizing festivals continuously on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis is a way to prolong the stay and increase the frequency of hotel occupancy. In terms of economic development, tourism brings double efficiency. It works towards building festivals into a specific product, a "key" tourism product, an important highlight of Hue's cultural - heritage tourism.

According to experts, it is time to promote the role of festivals in economic development, not just as a place to preserve and showcase cultural values. Mr. Nguyen Trung Khanh, Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, assessed that owning many advantages to develop creative tourism based on culture will help Vietnam in general and Thua Thien Hue, in particular, diversify the system of tourism products, adding value to traditional cultural tourism products, developing unique tourism brand names, attracting more mid- to high-end customers, thereby improving the competitiveness of tourism in Vietnam.

Hue Festival is the pioneering initiative of Hue in organizing festivals to develop tourism since 2000. The change into four festive seasons is also a pioneering undertaking of the Ancient Capital, moving towards a festival form that is adaptive and innovative in 2022.

After 10 seasons of organizing Hue Festival, tourism products have been formed such as night streets, food streets, handicraft products; new tours and routes such as garden tourism, old town, green Hue, countryside market, and ancient village. By 2018, the number of tourists to Thua Thien Hue reached over 4.3 million arrivals (an increase of 8.9 times compared to 2000), of which international visitors reached over 1.9 million. Tourism revenue in 2001 was 232 billion VND, by 2018 it was estimated to reach 4,474 billion VND; social revenue from tourism is estimated at nearly 11,184 billion VND.

Story and photo: Duc Quang

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