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Hanoi needs new waterways tours to boost appeal
Huy Anh 21:19, 2024/06/18
For centuries, the Red River has been the backbone of Hanoi's socio-economic growth.

The Red River holds the key not only to Hanoi's sustainable landscape and urban development in 2021-2050 but also to its tourism growth. The capital is expected to introduce new water-based tourism offerings, making it the core of Hanoi's tourism sector.

Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism Tran Trung Hieu speaks to Hanoimoi Newspaper about the challenges and solutions to fulfill the expectations.

Tran Trung Hieu, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism. 

What do you think are the reasons for the underdevelopment of Red River tourism?

Boosting Red River tourism is one of the main concerns of the Hanoi authorities and the tourism sector, as we hope to develop it into an attractive and quality offer. However, its development has not reached its full potential for many reasons.

First, urban planning projects of the islet and riverside areas are behind, while river management, especially environmental protection, is still below par. There's rubbish everywhere, the landscape is not well preserved and there are no attractive places to visit.

Second, the vessels and infrastructure such as wharves, bus stations, and car parks are not in a good condition to receive tourists, especially foreigners. As a result, tour operators would not include river cruises in their brochures.

Third, we don't have a specific policy to attract private sector investment to promote water tourism.

Fourth, our river tourism activities are too basic and unattractive. What we have most is historical and cultural relics along the riverbanks. There must be attractive activities to capture tourists' attention, such as entertainment facilities, trips to eco-tourism and agro-tourism sites, and night trips. These add-ons will definitely complete the segment, keep visitors longer, and encourage more spending.

We have talked about making the Red River a green axis for Hanoi's development. How will this affect Red River tourism in the future?

Hanoi is working to finalize the General Development Plan and the Adjustment of the Capital's Socio-Economic Plan in 2021-2065, in which the Red River will become the main axis for the overall urban and landscape design. A park will be created on the waterfront with a wide range of services and facilities to boost the city's cultural industry and sustainable tourism.

The two master plans provide a sound basis for promoting tourism on the Red River. As part of the plans, the city government will spend more on improving the landscape of the islet and riverside areas, making them greener and more environmentally friendly. There will also be new wharves, new cultural areas, and new places of interest.

 Cycling on the alluvial islet of the Red River. Photo: Pham Hung/The Hanoi Times

What do you think are the solutions to existing problems? To what extent is it important to tap into the resources of society and non-governmental organizations?

I think that the ministries and local authorities must soon implement urban planning projects on the islets and waterfront areas. We also need concrete figures on the location and operation of wharves, transport infrastructure, and funding for their modernization.

As the local government now focuses its budget on a wide range of socio-economic activities, we need to invite the contribution of private investors and investment funds. We should have a special mechanism to invite investors to operate the existing facilities such as Chuong Duong Do Wharf in Hoan Kiem District and Bat Trang Wharf in Gia Lam District.

In addition, administrative reform is a must to help tour operators and transporters operate and expand their boat fleets. We also need to find a way to support the construction of large and classy ships.

What will make the Red River Tour an attraction?

We have advised the local People's Committee to improve the waterway connecting several wharfs such as Chuong Duong Do, Bat Trang, and Ninh So (Thuong Tin District) to Hung Yen and to develop new waterway tours.

To make the Red River travel an attraction, we must explore the best advantages given by nature such as landscape, water surface, and islet. Our department has planned to develop some core river tours, sports and eco-tourism activities, and set up entertainment centers on the river banks.

Speaking of river tours, the department is working with Hanoi and neighboring localities, the Ministry of Transport, the Hanoi Tourist Corporation, and investors to further develop and expand the routes. We hope to improve the quality of the journey from Chuong Duong Do Wharf to Da Trach Temple in Hung Yen Province and to introduce new routes to the port city of Haiphong, the mountainous areas of Ba Vi District, and Viet Tri in Phu Tho Province.

We will continue to work with local districts, tour operators, and event planners to organize tourism programs integrated with sports such as hot air ballooning, sky diving, and boat racing. In addition, the department is looking to work with relevant units to develop experience areas on the islet and waterfront areas and to attract investors to help build the necessary facilities in there.

Thank you for your time!

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