Getting a handle on festival season
Ministry for Culture, Sports and Tourism deputy chief inspector Pham Xuan Phuc spoke with the newspaper Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) about the chaos experienced during major spring festivals.
There were situations where vendors overcharged and harassed tourists; while fortune telling and gambling are illegally offered during every festive season. What do you think about this?
Actually, the scale of most festivals has broadened, but investment in infrastructure has continually failed to meet the demands of local traders.
This results in the traders encroaching on pavements and roads, causing traffic jams in popular festivals hotspots.
Also, tourists did not seriously obey regulations set out by festive management boards so there are many factors to consider.
For some festivals, environmental protection activities are not undertaken, leading to too much waste and not enough public garbage cans. Beggars are also attracted to areas which become busy during festivals.
Why does this situation continue to occur?
Legal documents for managing festivals have not yet been perfected to bring the situation under control. Poor co-operation among relevant agencies and poor dissemination about the meaning of festivals are adding to the confusion.
Another issue is that tourists put small notes into Buddha statues, throw small notes into wells, and burn votive papers in pagodas. We know it continues from year to year, but do not know what to do because there are no sanctions to deal with this type of behaviour.
Such behavious reportedly took place at the Huong and Bai Dinh pagodas in Ha Noi and northern Ninh Binh Province, while there are concerns this will continue during the Lim Festival which starts on February 22 in northern Bac Ninh Province. What is your opinion on this and are there any measures in place to remove beggars?
The concern is that these are just personal opinions and the ministry’s inspectors do not have enough information to say whether the same situation will happen during the Lim Festival.
When working with local authorities and festive management boards, we always work to prevent beggars from blighting festivals. The fact is that local authorities and festive management boards provide food for the beggars and order them to stay away from the festivals, but the beggars ignore these warnings.