Dong Anh District to Prioritize Tourism Development

Dong Anh District is a treasure trove of cultural heritage and tourist attractions that beckon to be discovered.

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Situated on the outskirts of Hanoi, Dong Anh District boasts a wealth of tourist attractions, including Nam Hong Tunnels, Co Loa Citadel, and Cao Lo Temple. Its unique traditional festivals allure visitors, such as the Co Loa Festival, An Duong Vuong Temple Festival, Sai Temple Festival, and cultural gems like the Dao Thuc water puppet show and cheo singing (traditional operetta).

With a remarkable 134 cultural relics of national significance, Dong Anh District possesses exceptional potential for advancing its tourism economy.

Cultural Abundance

Nestled in the northern reaches of Hanoi, Dong Anh District served as the capital of the ancient Au Lac kingdom during King An Duong Vuong’s reign (257-207 BC). Its rich cultural heritage encompasses historical relics entwined with traditional festivals and handicraft communities, presenting ample opportunities for the district’s socioeconomic progress.

According to Nguyen Thi Tam, the Dong Anh District People’s Committee’s vice chairwoman, the district boasts 413 historical and religious relics, comprising one exceptional national relic (Co Loa Citadel), 64 relics of national significance, and 70 relics at the municipal level.

Co Loa Citadel Festival is the cornerstone of tourism in Dong Anh District. Photo: Doan Thanh/The Hanoi Times

Dong Anh District is a repository of traditional cultural heritage elements, including artisan villages, festivals, and cultural and artistic activities deeply rooted in rice cultivation.

“Local authorities firmly believe that tourism development should be entwined with traditional heritage, both preserving and promoting its inherent value,” stated Tam.

Tam emphasized that throughout history, the district’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage values have been meticulously conserved and passed down through generations.

“These assets and advantages provide a robust foundation for tourism development. The local tourism industry is witnessing gradual yet substantial growth, transforming the district into an alluring and welcoming destination, contributing to its socioeconomic development,” Tam remarked.

Human Resource Development

Despite efforts to safeguard cultural heritage in the context of tourism development, the process is fraught with challenges, such as limited funding for preservation initiatives and a shortage of qualified human resources in tourism services. Furthermore, the promotion, introduction, and integration of tours and itineraries remain inadequate.

Sai Temple Festival (Dong Anh District) is a distinctive festival featuring a procession of kings and lords (enacted by respected individuals in the village) instead of statues, a unique aspect compared to other festivals. Photo: Ngoc Tu/The Hanoi Times

“To advance the tourism industry, Dong Anh District must prioritize the development of a distinctive brand identity for its local traditional handicraft village products, such as Van Ha wooden furniture, Tam Xa kumquats, Mach Trang vermicelli noodles, and Viet Hung soy sauce, to enhance visitor expenditure,” advised Professor Pham Hong Long of the Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

According to Long, the caliber of tourism services is paramount, which is heavily influenced by human capital. Hence, the district needs to implement training programs that combine theoretical knowledge with practical experience, empowering individuals with enhanced skills and expertise in the tourism sector.

Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Tam disclosed that the district People’s Committee has compiled the publication “Dong Anh Cultural Heritage” specifically for tourism purposes. It is a comprehensive effort to preserve and disseminate the value of intangible cultural heritage and prominent cultural landmarks, including Co Loa Citadel and Sai Temple.

“To promote our cultural assets, we are focusing on the creation of cultural and historical tourism circuits, leveraging digital technology in the promotion of cultural tourism, particularly in infrastructure development and human resource training for the advancement of cultural and historical tourism,” explained Tam.