Two more activities showcasing Vietnam’s cultural heritage have been added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, xoan singing and the art of bai choi.
Particularly, xoan singing was removed from the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and moved to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This was thanks to the efforts of Phu Tho’s communities and authorities in preserving the heritage and upgrading the art form in the past six years.
In total, Vietnam presently has 11 Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and one inscribed on the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding – tru singing.
2. Bai Tu Long National Park recognised as an ASEAN Heritage Park
Bai Tu Long National Park in the northern province of Quang Ninh was recognised as the 38th ASEAN Heritage Park in May 2017.
The criteria to become an ASEAN Heritage Park include ecological integrity, preservation of genetic diversity, sustainable utilisation of resources and the provision of opportunities for outdoor recreation, tourism, education and research.
The park covers a total area of nearly 16 hectares with more than nine hectares of sea and six hectares of islands. It is home to nearly 2,000 species of flora and fauna, of which 72 animal species and 30 plant species have been listed in the Vietnam Red Book.
The ASEAN Heritage Park programme is an initiative by the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity implemented since 2002.
3. Heritage festival boosts central region’s tourism
The sixth Quang Nam Heritage Festival opened on June 9 at Tam Thanh Beach, aiming to give visitors insight into the province’s as a land with a variety of wonders found in its plains, coast, islands and remote inland areas.
Various cultural activities were held in Hoi An City and throughout Quang Nam Province during the week-long event, including an international choir competition gathering 32 choral groups from 15 countries and territories, and a kite festival gathering 100 artisans from 12 nations.
That week, Hoi An City hosted the International Food Festival as well as the “World and Vietnam silk festival” with the participation of the silk association around the world and fashion designers from more than 10 countries.
On this occasion, from June 10-13, the first ever Ngoc Linh ginseng festival took place at the foot of Ngoc Linh Mountain in Nam Tra My District. It introduced visitors to the value of Vietnamese ginseng trees.
4. The first-ever festival honouring the country’s wildest waterfall
A waterfall festival was held for the first time on October 7-8 at the Ban Gioc Waterfall Tourism Complex in Dam Thuy Commune, Trung Khanh District, in the northern province of Cao Bang. The festival, the first of its kind in the region, aims to promote the image of the province and its people to domestic and international tourists.
Ban Gioc Waterfall is one of Vietnam’s most impressive natural sights. Thirty metres high and 300 metres across, it is the widest, but not the highest, in the country. The falls lie on the beautiful jade-blue water of the Quay Son River as it flows through a pastoral landscape of rice fields and bamboo groves, surrounded by limestone mountains.
5. US director named VN Tourism Ambassador
Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts was appointed Vietnam’s Tourism Ambassador from 2017-20 by the Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on March 13. Vogt-Roberts was the first film director to take on the position, which aims to promote the image of both Vietnam’s people and culture to international friends and to bring the country closer to Hollywood film producers and directors.
Since taking the post, the ambassador has actively participated in various events and projects to promote the country’s culture and tourism including calling for scholarships from the US and some other countries for Vietnamese students, organising charity events and assisting local communities to develop tourism activities.
6. Vietnam receives record foreign visitors
Vietnam received a record 12.9 million foreign visitors in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 29.1 per cent, according to the General Statistics Office. The total tourism revenue in 2017 reached VND500 trillion (US$22 billion), increasing by VNĐ100 trillion ($4 billion) in comparison with the same period last year and also VND40 trillion ($1.8 billion) higher than the target set for the year.
7. APEC Park opens to public
APEC Park was opened on the west bank of the Han River in the central city of Da nang during the 2017 APEC Summit. The park, which covers 3,000sq.m, displays 18 sculptures from APEC economies that express the understanding and cultural exchanges among members.
8. Construction on Son Tra Nature Reserve stirs concern
The mass development of buildings, hotels, resorts and villas on the Son Tra Nature Reserve on the peninsula has stirred concern among the public and specialists.
At a scientific conference on the conservation and sustainable development of ecological systems, nearly 200 scientists, biologists and conservationists unanimously agreed that the construction of all buildings on the reserve should be stopped immediately.
The inspection of all investment and construction projects on the protected Son Tra Peninsula will be carried out within 45 days by the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam, on instructions from Deputy Prime Minister Truong HOa Binh.
9. Ethnic orchestra debuted in HN
The Seaphony orchestra - the first Vietnamese ethnic orchestra - made its debut at the Vietnam Ethnic Music Concert at Hanoi Opera House. The concert featured about 50 artists, composers and musicians from many ethnic groups across Vietnam.
10. World dance festival 2017 in Ninh Binh Province
Hundreds of international and Vietnamese dancers from 24 art troupes performed at the International Dance Festival in the northern province of Ninh Bình from September 16 to 22. The cultural event aimed to promote the art and cultural cooperation between Vietnam and other countries, as well as to promote the image of the country, its culture and its people to international friends.