Downtown Saigon street poised to become pedestrian zone boosting nighttime economy

By Gia Minh   August 25, 2022 | 11:14 pm PT
Downtown Saigon street poised to become pedestrian zone boosting nighttime economy
Foreigners walk along Le Loi Street in downtown HCMC, August 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Authorities in District 1 are seeking feedback from local authorities to turn Le Loi, one of the city's busiest areas, into a pedestrian-friendly zone to boost night-time tourism.

In a proposal submitted to the Ho Chi Minh City’s People Committee, district authorities said after the street is cleared of a construction site serving the city's first metro line, it should become a pedestrian zone.

The municipal Department of Tourism agreed with District 1's proposal, saying it would become a new tourism product to attract more tourists and increase their spending.

The Department of Transport recommended the street should only be closed to traffic on weekends.

The one-kilometer-long street lies near tourist attractions including Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Opera House and Nguyen Hue pedestrian street and used to host a series of shopping centers, business establishments and restaurants.

However, it was blocked from mid-2014 to build Ben Thanh Station, one of the three underground hubs of Metro Line No. 1.

HCMC currently has three pedestrian zones, including one near Quang Trung Monument in District 10.

The other two are in District 1. Bui Vien Street is off-limits to vehicles from 7 p.m. during weekends while the center strip on Nguyen Hue Street has become a giant plaza closed to traffic.

In 2019, HCMC received over 8.6 million foreign visitors, or nearly half the total foreign arrivals in Vietnam.

This year, the city eyes 3.5 million foreign tourists.

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