The authorities of Sa Pa town in Lao Cai province have asked AnSaPa tourism company to temporarily close its tourist site after netizens complained about the tourist site showed an ugly and inaccurate version of the Statue of Liberty.
Replica of Statue of Liberty in AnSaPa tourist site.
The local authorities on April 20 established an inspection team to check the AnSaPa tourist site after it set up a small version of the Statue of Liberty on its campus and the statue was "stoned" on social networks because it was seen as ugly.
On social networks, particularly tourism forums, netizens posted pictures of what they called the “error version” of the Statue of Liberty at AnSaPa tourist site, and complained that the statue is ugly and totally different from the original statue. They called it a “mutant” and an “error” version of the Statue of Liberty.
According to local officials, the half-length Statue of Liberty was built in AnSaPa – a private tourist site in Sapa – in 2020. The photos posted online are of the first version, which is less aesthetically appealing compared with the original version. The statue has been fixed and isn’t as bad as it was.
In addition to this statue, the tourist site also has another "error version" similar to the American sculptures on Mount Rushmore (portraits of four US presidents on the cliff). These two works in Sapa were made by unskilled workers, so the proportions of the statue's faces are deformed.
Sapa authorities said they will conduct an inspection and review all tourist sites in the area.
Besides there two works, the AnSaPa tourist site also built other models of famous works in the world such as the Eiffel Tower (9m high) in Paris, the leaning tower of Pisa (8m high) in Italy, and the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, and others.
Nguyen Ngoc Dong, the owner of AnSaPa, said: “We are tourism service providers, so we always want to give tourists the best value. The half-length Statue of Liberty is a simulation only. We follow the direction of the local government and respect the comments of travelers with goodwill."
An official in charge of tourism management in Sapa told VietNamNet that there are more than 20 private check-in points in Sa Pa town. Some of them built works to serve tourists to take photos that are quite offensive, lack aesthetic appeal, and are not safe.
Replica of Statue of Liberty in AnSaPa tourist site
“The copying and building of statues should have correct proportions and the original prototype. Copying of famous artworks should ensure the aesthetics and must respect the copyrights of the creators,” said the head of Sapa’s Department of Culture.
AnSaPa’s owner Nguyen Ngoc Dong told VietNamNet that he would change the Statue of Liberty to a statue of a H’Mong man playing a khen (a type of wind instrument of H’Mong people).
“My tourist site is located in Sa Pa, which is the home of most of the H'Mong people. The modification of the statue from the Statue of Liberty to an image of a H'Mong man suits the local culture,” Dong said.
AnSaPa is one of many famous check-in sites in Sa Pa. The tourist site was the dream of Dong and his wife. They bought a 1,700 square meter land plot in Sa Pa town to build AnSaPa.
In addition to the Statue of Liberty, the site also has the leaning tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, the Japanese flower street, the Japanese old town, Chinese bamboo road, the old Vietnamese village, the red maple leaf road, and others.
Explaining that the Statue of Liberty "sits" rather than stands like the Statue of Liberty in the US, Dong said he did not want to "copy the original", because there were many in Vietnam. He wanted to make a half-length version similar to half-length snow statues made in snow festivals. That is why the statue is snow white, not ivory-green like the original version.
Dong said that he had invested a lot of money in these works.
Confirming that the local authorities had asked him to temporarily close AnSaPa to complete the requirements of the local government to ensure safety for visitors, Dong said he would strictly comply with the decision.
“Over the past two years, the country has been affected by the Covid pandemic. Not only my tourist site but many other sites in the country were affected. In order to nurture our passion and ensure income for local workers at the tourist destination, we have to try our best. So, I wish to receive sincere public opinion to do better, not for some other reason or purpose,” Dong said.
Other replicas at AnSaPa tourist site:
This time of the year, high mountainous areas in the northern province of Lao Cai like Sapa and Y Ty often attract photographers who come to capture stunning cloudy moments.