Hanoi considers allowing overnight services to boost night-time economy

By Vo Hai, Nguyen Quy   September 10, 2020 | 11:04 am GMT+7
Hanoi considers allowing overnight services to boost night-time economy
Night activities around a central square in Hanoi's Hoan Kiem District, September 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Authorities in Hanoi are seeking feedback for a pilot scheme to allow recreational establishments in Hoan Kiem area to stay open past midnight.

Under the scheme, catering, entertainment and shopping services in Hoan Kiem District, the busiest area in Hanoi, will be allowed to operate overnight every day while outdoor activities, historical relics and heritage sites will stay open until midnight.

Night-time economic activities in the district mainly cover the fields of cultural, entertainment services, gastronomy, shopping, healthcare, tourism and transportation, financial and banking activities.

District authorities have mapped out plans to develop, improve infrastructure and cultural programs, implement big street festivals and organize service, trade and tourism activities around the Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake and the surrounding area to boost the night-time economy development.

The walking space in the Old Quarter and the cultural space of Phung Hung - Gam Cau near the historic Long Bien Bridge are planned to link with the pedestrian zone around the lake to create a harmonious premise for the development of the nocturnal industry. Currently, the 16-street walking zone around the Sword Lake are only closed to vehicles from 7 p.m. Friday until midnight Sunday.

The area of Dong Xuan - Bac Qua Markets will be turned into a culinary paradise while Hang Dao - Hang Giay Streets will be rearranged in a modern way associated with historical and cultural features of each street.

The area from Hang Khay-Trang Tien Streets to the Hanoi Opera House would be developed into a pedestrian zone combined with a commercial center while Trang Tien Street will be used as space for fashion shows.

The scheme included two phases with the first beginning from now until August next year that will see the expansion of cultural and commercial spaces to lay the ground for the development of night-time economy while in the second phase from September 2021, all kinds of activities under the plan will be allowed throughout the district.

Night-time economy development is a global trend that helps boost the tourism sector by offering travelers more choice. So far, authorities do not allow public activities after midnight except for restaurants and bars in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem District, which are open until 2 a.m. from Friday to Sunday.

The curfew is mainly due to security concerns.

But tourism experts and officials said Hanoi, and other major cities in Vietnam, are making a mistake if they fail to encourage overnight businesses. The lack of entertainment services, especially vibrant nightlife, resulted in many foreign tourists spending less in the country, they said.

A report from Hanoi’s Tourism Department revealed the average daily spending by foreign visitors last year in Hanoi was $119.8, a year-on-year increase of 7 percent, but far below the amounts spent in Dubai ($537), Paris ($301) and Singapore ($286). In Phuket and Bangkok in Thailand they spent $239 and $173, and in Seoul it was $181.

Despite being the country’s capital and a popular tourist destination that has constantly received global plaudits, Hanoi still vexed many tourists with its lack of nightlife compared to other Asian metropolises, the department stated.

Last month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a master plan for night-time economy development in Vietnam, allowing major cities such as Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang as well as other tourist destinations like Hoi An, Hue, Da Lat and Phu Quoc to pilot night-time services from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Vietnam has closed borders since late March to curb the spread of Covid-19, but planned to resume commercial flights to and from several Asian destinations this month.

Cities have also entered social distancing several times since April, suppressing urban nightlife.

 
 
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