Heritage Linkage: Specific Actions Needed

2:48:06 PM | 12/26/2014

Although it has a long history and rich, characteristic culture, Vietnam has not paid due attention to linking its heritages to serve tourism to raise heritage values.
Apart from 21 World Heritage Sites, Vietnam has more than 40,000 monuments and landscapes, of which 3,000 monuments are rated “National Relics” and more than 5,000 monuments are rated “Provincial Relics.” Some relics have been used for tourism development. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, has the most World Heritages like Ca Tru singing, Doctorate Stele at Literature Temple, Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Giong Festival. These heritages are very important for tourism development. Mr Mai Tien Dung, Deputy Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Hanoi, said, cultural heritages play an extremely important role in tourism development in Hanoi and heritage values are valuable only when they are attached to tourism. Firstly, through tourism, heritages are introduced to domestic and international friends. Secondly, only through tourism, valuable heritages can be restored and preserved.
Understanding the tremendous value of World Heritages to tourism development, the tourism sector organised many conferences and workshops on tourism connectivity. A lot of heritage linking tours have been launched like “Returning to the roots” between Lao Cai - Yen Bai - Phu Tho, "Central Heritage Itinerary" between Thua Thien Hue, Danang, Quang Nam and tourism cooperation between Hanoi, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh. However, heritage-linked tours are still ineffective. Mr Ha Quang Long, Director of the Quang Ninh province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism - the home to the Halong Bay, World Natural Heritage, said: In general, the tourism sector quickly reached an agreement on measures and methods to organise heritage linking for tourism development. However, the sector lacks good plans to carry out.
Actually, heritage linking in the central region produces similar products from locality to locality. For example, all provinces have sea festivals. Le Huu Loc, Chairman of the People's Committee of Binh Dinh Province, said, each province must develop its own unique tourism products to bring to an end to the similarity of tours. For example, Binh Dinh province has cultural, historical and ecological tourism. It also has tours to explore traditional martial arts. With locally characteristic products, heritage-linked tours will be more attractive.
Recently, in the framework of a preparatory workshop to the National Tourism Year - Thanh Hoa 2015, themed "Connecting Heritages", legacy-linked tourism was highlighted. However, according to insiders, Thanh Hoa province and Ninh Binh province will hardly connect two World Heritages, namely Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh province and Ho Citadel in Thanh Hoa province. Ms Duong Thi Thanh, Deputy Director of Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Ninh Binh province, said heritages in Thanh Hoa province and Ninh Binh province are poorly connected because of poor infrastructure system. Coaches difficultly travel between the two heritages.
Bui Van Manh, Deputy Director of Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex Management Board, said “Connecting heritages is a very important topic but we must have very good plans and programmes to connect them. Heritages must have good transport systems to attract investors to build tourism facilities and provide tourism services to attract travellers.”
Connecting World Heritages to develop unique tourism products is essential to tourism development in general and to locality in particular. Therefore, Vietnam needs to see heritages as the nucleus and core of related activities, including tourism. We must fully understand heritage and its importance to preserve and exploit it effectively.
Thu Huyen