Saigoneers OK plan to expand Bui Vien walking street before Lunar New Year

By Huu Nguyen   January 10, 2018 | 11:35 pm PT
Saigoneers OK plan to expand Bui Vien walking street before Lunar New Year
Pedestrians are seen on the walking zone on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Local residents have already agreed to the proposal, so it's just a matter of waiting for the nod from the city.

Plans are afoot to expand a weekend pedestrian area in Ho Chi Minh City's backpacker precinct and keep it open for an extra day during the week.

As proposed by the city’s District 1, the current walking zone on a section Bui Vien Street will be expanded to cover the entire street and part of Nguyen Quang Dau Street.

An extra day has also been suggested for the walking zone, which is currently open from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

In a letter sent to Ho Chi Minh City’s People's Committee, District 1 said it would like to open the expanded zone by February 10 to provide a bigger venue for the Lunar New Year celebrations in mid-February as the current walking zone is already overcrowded.

The plan has already been approved by local residents who agree with the idea of making more streets in the backpacker area pedestrian-friendly.

By expanding the walking zone, the district hopes to boost tourism and help the city earn more from taxing local businesses that are expected to grow in parallel with the zone, it added.

The backpacker area pulls in around 2,000 tourists on its best days and earns more than VND37 billion ($1.63 million) a year.

In August last year, the city spent VND13 billion ($572,300) on granite paving, music stages, surveillance cameras, security guards, free wifi and public toilets to turn Bui Vien into a weekend walking zone.

Under the latest plan, District 1 it also seeking permission to call on private funding to make the walking zone more attractive to tourists.

Nguyen Hue, the first walking street to open in the crowded city in 2015, has become a regular hang-out for both locals and foreigners.

Saigon, Vietnam’s biggest commercial center, is one of the most popular destinations in the country.

Official data showed the city welcomed 6.38 million foreign tourists and 25 million local visitors last year, up 22.8 percent and 14.6 percent against 2016.

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