Hanoi Strengthens Tourism Profile with Ao Dai Festival

The 2023 Ao Dai Tourism Festival will be held to celebrate the traditional Vietnamese ao dai while stimulating tourism in Hanoi. Domestic and international travelers will join the festivities, participating in various activities that aim to preserve, develop and honor the classic garment.

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The Hanoi Ao Dai Festival 2023 will take place in the capital city from October 13-15 with the participation of fashion designers, craft villages, and tourism firms, according to an announcement by the event’s organizer cited by VNA.

The festival’s opening ceremony, scheduled for the evening of October 13th at the pedestrian streets around Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi, will feature a combination of music, light, and ao dai shows representing the north, central, and southern regions.

Hanoi Tourism Destination Brand with Ao Dai Festival
The festival also aims to preserve and develop the traditional cultural values of Vietnam, particularly the ao dai (Vietnamese traditional long dress). It provides opportunities for Hanoi’s tourism firms to collaborate with ao dai fashion designers and artisans.

The festival aims to promote tourism in Vietnam, specifically in Hanoi, and to transform the ao dai from a “cultural ambassador” to a “tourism ambassador” – a quintessential tourism product of Hanoi.

As part of the festival, a parade of people in ao dai will take place at Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter, and Long Bien Bridge areas.

According to Dang Huong Giang, director of the municipal Department of Tourism, the festival intends to boost tourism by attracting more domestic and international tourists, while also honoring the traditional Vietnamese dress and the capital’s heritage.

The festival serves as a platform for artisans, fashion designers, and tourism firms to exchange ideas and explore collaboration opportunities, she added.

Hanoi has set a target of attracting about 22 million tourists in 2023, representing a 17.6% increase from the previous year. This includes 3 million foreign arrivals (double the figure in 2022) and 19 million domestic visitors (a 10.5% increase). The city also aims for a 28.2% growth in tourism revenue, reaching approximately VND 77 trillion (almost USD 3.3 billion).

Statistics from the municipal Tourism Department show that during the first eight months of 2023, around 16.9 million tourists visited Hanoi, a 36.2% increase compared to the previous year. This includes 2.79 million international arrivals, a 4.6-fold increase from the same period last year. Tourism earnings reached VND 61.6 trillion (USD 2.5 billion), representing a 63.1% increase from a year earlier.

These figures demonstrate the allure of Hanoi’s tourism to both domestic and international visitors, as well as the city’s efforts to attract tourists, according to the department.

Occupancy rates at local hotels were estimated at 61.4% during January – August, a 28.5% increase year on year.

Hanoi Tourism Destination Brand with Ao Dai Festival
An exhibition about Ao Dai at Vietnam Women Museum.

Tran Trung Hieu, deputy director of the Tourism Department, stated that the department will increase advertising of local destinations and new tourism products through domestic and foreign media. They will also organize more tourism promotion events in key markets such as Northeast Asia, Europe, the US, and India, and collaborate with diplomatic representative agencies, trade offices abroad, and international organizations to enhance promotional activities.

The Ao Dai is an iconic representation of Vietnamese culture. In popular languages like English, there is no equivalent meaning for the phrase “Ao Dai,” automatically designating it as Vietnam’s traditional costume in the international community.

In the country’s cultural and art history, the Ao Dai is not only a magnificent work of art that contributes to the national beauty, but also a symbol of Vietnam’s identity and spirit. It conveys hidden meanings about the “proper behavior” of ancestors.

The Ao Dai has also become a symbol of beauty for women, transcending education and social status, and significantly contributing to the promotion of Vietnamese women’s image worldwide.

The traditional dresses are suitable for all ages and have become the standard attire for formal occasions, national holidays, weddings, New Year festivals, graduation days, and important competitions.

Hannah Nguyen