This year, the Vĩnh Long province aims to receive 1.6 million tourists, including 220,000 foreigners, while income from tourism is expected to reach VNĐ800 billion (US$34 million).
To get tourists to stay longer, the local tourism sector has decided to promote some special tourism products.Director of Vĩnh Long Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Phan Văn Giàu says hát bội (classical drama) shows have been offered on a trial basis as entertainment for tourists.
The province has helped tourism companies include shows by the local Đồng Thinh Art Troupe in their tours.“Our art troupe is rare, and offers the classical drama art, ” he says.“The troupe was selected by the culture ministry to perform in Smithsonian Festival in 2007 in Washington DC. The art has been handed down through generations in the area.”
According to troupe member Vũ Linh Tâm, the art has been performed regularly and handed down to young generations. The oldest artist is 60 while the youngest is 12.“Our shows have been warmly welcomed by many tourists, ” he says.“That gives us happiness. I hope the art will continue to be enjoyed by visitors.”
Phạm Thị Ngọc Trinh, owner of Út Trinh Homestay, says the homestay has hosted more than 10 classical drama shows, allowing tourists to enjoy the performance and meet with artists, learn how to act and how to do make-up for a performance.
“Many tourists enjoy the shows, ” she says.
“Yet our challenge is that the expenses for such a show are high. The provincial culture department has subsidised us to organise shows to impress tourists.“I hope to get further support to host more shows this year, ” she says.Giàu says the local tourism sector hopes to introduce the art together with đờn ca tài tử (amateur music art) to entertain tourists in the province.
The local tourism sector has allocated key destinations to draw investment in professional accommodation services while maintaining the local scenery of fruit gardens and water canals.The sector has built a plan to develop special tourism products in four groups: homestay and ecological tours to fruit gardens, tours to understand local cultural figures, agriculture tours and tours to handicraft villages.
The plan will be submitted to the provincial authorities for approval by the end of next month.In 2019, Vĩnh Long received 1.5 million tourists, a 15 per cent increase against the previous year. The income from tourism last year was VNĐ525 billion (US$22.5 million), a 54 per cent year-on-year increase.
The province is homes a dense system of canals and rivers and rich gardens of tropical fruits like custard apple, dragon fruit, grapefruit and rambutan.There are now nearly 100 homestays, guest houses and hotels; 40 tourism sites; and 50 fruit gardens offering snacks and meals during the day.
Notably, Vĩnh Long hosts 25 standard homestays, two of which reached the Asean homestay standard between 2017-2019 and 2019-2021.Giàu says Vĩnh Long has been considered as the cradle of tourism form combining homestay and ecological fruit garden tourism in the south.
“We have invested much on the homestay quality to make it a special strength to compete against other neighbouring provinces, ” he says.The province also hosts 44 provincial level historical-cultural sites and 11 sites of national level.The province hosts 25 handicraft villages making rattan wares, leaves weaving, rice crepes and ceramic wares.