The ancient capital city of Hue has been warned that it may not
have a sustainable tourism development if it continues wasting Hue’s nature and
It’s obvious that Hue has become a famous tourism destination. Travelers to Hue
can try food specialties, enjoy the Huong romantic river’s landscapes and have
meals in kingly manner. Especially, they can wear kings’ clothes or take
pictures with the “kings.”
However, experts have warned that the king-style services have been
overexploited, which would make the Vietnamese kings’ images turn trivial in the
eyes of travelers.
Kings getting commonplace
It seems that no country with Oriental traditional culture has exploited the
kings’ lifestyle to design tourism products.
Meanwhile, the kings’ lifestyle in the Nguyen dynasties has been abused by the
travel firms in Hue City to attract tourists. Thrones, imperial mantle, royal
meals and imperial boat have all been used as the methods to lure travelers.
Tourists just need to spend 45,000 dong to become a king to sit on a throne. In
the last 2012 Hue Festival, some travelers even took pictures in the imperial
mantle in a ridiculous manner outside the Royal Palace. Especially, a European
woman had her photo taken while she was sitting on the king’s thigh in pants.
As a result, the image of the Vietnamese kings has become trivial in the eyes of
Travelers would only have to spend certain sums of money to be served with
imperial meals with the dishes in the Nguyen dynasties. The images of western
men and women in imperial mantles trying “the kings’ dishes” have distorted the
westerners’ knowledge and understanding about Vietnamese kings.
Meanwhile, the thing Hue should do is to maintain its imposing characteristics
of a capital city and protect the images of the sacred imperial city in the eyes
of Vietnamese and foreign people, even though it is no more the center of feudal
Overcharging spoils Hue’s tourism
The travelers to Hue would have the opportunities to travel on boat on the
Huong River and listen to Hue’s traditional lyrics. However, the tickets to the
traditional lyrics performances sold at many hotels in Hue are “illegal
tickets,” not the tickets issued by the competent agencies.
The hotels in the city cooperate with transport firms to look for clients. The
owners of the boats who serve the travelers’ trip on the Huong River and
organize artistic shows earn 40,000 dong from every traveler, while the hotels
get the other 40,000 dong.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Tan Thuong, Director of the Center for Hue Lyrics Performance
has affirmed that since 2006, the center has been the only unit allowed to sell
tickets to Hue traditional lyrics shows.
It is the pagodas, palaces and the “Hue’s characteristics” which has beautified
the city, attracted tourists and built up a tourism brand to Hue. However, the
city has been wasting the Hue’s characteristics. If the characteristics
disappear one day, Hue would not be the attractive destination in the eyes of
tourists any more.
What does “Hue’s characteristics” mean? The question proves to be very difficult
even for Dr Thai Kim Lan. However, in people’s thoughts, Hue’s characteristics
mean the specific manners that only exist in Hue.
Currently, tourism is a key economic branch of Thua Hien-Hue province, which
makes up 45 percent of the locality’s GDP, the proportion higher than that of
any other cities and provinces in Vietnam.
According to Phan Tien Dung, Director of the provincial Department for Culture,
Sports and Tourism, the proportion would be raised to 50 percent by 2015.