36 days to go
This blog post was mentioned on October 8th in an article in The Economist. Not a super positive article about Vietnam, but I’m pretty happy to have On The Bright Side mentioned in such an establish and respected publication. Imagine that! My little blog made it into The Economist! For my most recent post on the 1000 Year Anniversary of Hanoi, please click HERE.
I wanted to see if anything has gotten better 20 days after my last post and many more days fewer than 36 to go until Hanoi’s 1000th Anniversary comes to town. So I did some snooping in the new and found some more supportive articles that the 1000 Year Anniversary of Hanoi will bring more disappointment than celebration:
Vietnam Net Bridge feels that the government forgot tourism.
My favorite quote from this article is, “It seems they were not well prepared for the event and so they could not gain high results. Another problem is that there had been no clear-cut long term planning. They just waited until the last minute to try their best.” Funny thing is, this is the famous Vietnamese pianist talking about an international piano competition. He happens to be performing for the opening ceremony on October 1st.
The words – golden opportunity for profit – is not what any tourist wants to hear!
I suspect that this type of exhibition will be everywhere. 1000 of this and 1000 of that on display. But could you imagine THIS???
And here finally is something which somewhat resembles a calendar of events. Still looking for more details!
I want to make something clear….I feel very privileged to be here during this most momentous occasion. I LOVE festivals and celebrations. That is evident if you’ve ever read some of my blog entries from Japan. I really want Hanoi and Vietnam to shine during this remarkable milestone. But having worked here for two years, I’m not even the slightest bit surprised by the lack of organization and the last minute planning…and the exclusion of the foreign community. It’s turning out to be a very local and exclusive event…and that’s a real shame. 1000 only comes around once. And I’d like to participate and really enjoy the celebrations!!!
9/4/2010 ORIGINAL POST
The main photo above shows the countdown screen at Hoan Kiem Lake which helps all Hanoians eagerly anticipate Hanoi’s 1000th Anniversary. The city is 1000 years old on October 10th. I’ve written before about the disorganization of the event and the lack of ability to capitalize internationally on such an occasion. A few new decorations have gone up around the lake such as the banners and tribute to Ho Chi Minh for Independence Day, as you can see in the photos.
Unfortunately, Hanoi has not gotten its act together enough to really draw attention globally. Working in tourism, it’s a big disappointment, as you have to rely a bit on the country and city to market the destination to foreign travelers. And what better occasion than the 1000th – 1000!!! – Anniversary of the birth of your capital city!?!?!? There has been absolutely no international news or marketing for this event. Here are some local news articles I’ve found:
“The biggest concern now is traffic jams.” http://en.www.info.vn/society/122-facts/11092-many-heads-of-state-arriving-for-hanois-1000th-anniversary
Best Wishes Sent http://www.hanoitimes.com.vn/newsdetail.asp?CatId=79&NewsId=17675
Wow, this sounds fun… http://www.thanhniennews.com/2010/Pages/20100820213343.aspx
Where? Schedule? Tickets? http://www.thanhniennews.com/2010/Pages/20100904165116.aspx
I hear that just as they did for Independence Day (an every other holiday), the flowers will go up around Hoan Kiem Lake, and there will be fireworks…but what of festivals? There are brief mentions of activities, dignitaries visiting from other countries, parades, gala dinners, cultural shows and such but I have yet to see a website with a calendar of events, nor do I know when all these festivities will take place, if I need to buy tickets, where to buy the tickets, etc. A little hard to participate when I have no idea who, what, where and when it’s happening!
My assistant told me a few weeks ago that the only news she could find through VNAT (Vietnam National Administration of Tourism) was an opportunity to advertise on the billboards which will go up around town. In fact, if you take a look at their website (http://www.vietnamtourism.com/e_pages/news/index.asp) you can barely find a focus on the upcoming birthday. A few other organizations have contacted us to advertise in special tourist publications, maps and cookbooks for the month. I don’t want to advertise, I want to DO something, ATTEND something, WATCH a show, a parade, a concert…something… and CELEBRATE. I simply cannot find the information on how to do that…and neither can any of my local staff.
In a time when SE Asia is fighting to attract tourists after an economic meltdown, H1N1 crisis, rampant reports of Dengue Fever, and political instability in Bangkok, Vietnam could have been the hero of the region by investing their resources to bring a positive focus to their country. I’m sure that in 1000 years of history, there is a heck of a lot of culture, people, events, food and amazingness to celebrate and showcase to the rest of the world. I’ll be curious to see what actually happens come October, but at just 36 days to go, I have a feeling this is a huge, HUGE, opportunity missed. And that’s really a shame.