In mid-June, Van Anh and her family of four took a summer holiday in Da Nang, famous as the country's most livable city, but they felt that the trip was made boring because they had nothing to do in the evening.
“Besides swimming, eating out and visiting Ba Na Hills, I realized that Da Nang has very few services for tourists, especially in the evening. After eating, we come back to the hotel and there are no more night-time activities,” she said.
Thu Huong, another tourist from Hanoi, also spent a night in Da Nang last month and watched a fire breathing act on the iconic Dragon Bridge at night. She said she didn't know what else she could do.
“From 9:30 p.m. streets in Da Nang started emptying and looking deserted. There were a few night markets and backpacker streets with poor services,” Huong recalled.
Industry insiders acknowledge that it has been the case for years that the city has not been meeting the demand of high-spending tourists for night-time activities.
At a tourism conference earlier this week, Cao Tri Dung, chairman of the Da Nang Tourism Association, said the city did suffer from a severe shortage of night-time entertainment and shopping activities for high-spending tourists.
For instance, there were no art shows with unique features that tourists would consider worth spending money on, he said.
Dung also said many tourists have complained they are reminded by restaurant staff to leave by 10 p.m.
“If Da Nang wants to become a top tourist destination in Vietnam, it needs to develop its night-time economy with plentiful travel experiences to attract tourists and increase their spending,” economist Tran Dinh Thien said at the conference.
“Even if the city has major attractions like the Ba Na Hills and the Golden Bridge, if it fails to develop new tourism services over the next few years, few tourists will return to Da Nang,” Thien said.
Luong Hoai Nam, member of the Tourism Advisory Board, said Da Nang has been on the tourism recovery path after Vietnam reopened its border to foreign tourists, but it still lagged far behind regional peers like Bangkok or Singapore in attracting foreign tourists because of poor nightlife experiences.
Between 2016 and 2018, Da Nang had made a mark on the global tourism map with its unique international fireworks festival that usually took place during the peak summer travel season.
The festival is yet to make a comeback after being suspended for two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Truong Thi Hong Hanh, director of the city's Department of Tourism, said city authorities have been improving the quality of tourism services and developing nightlife experiences in a bid to attract the return of foreign tourists in the post pandemic scenario.
From now until Aug. 15, a series of events, including a street carnival, will be held every Saturday and Sunday in Da Nang with 200 artistes expected to parade from Asia Park – Sun World Da Nang Wonders to the Dragon Bridge on the Han River.
A music party will be organized in July at the main square of Asia Park that can accommodate up to 5,000 people; and an international electronic music festival that can accommodate more than 10,000 spectators will also be held in August.
Da Nang targets receiving 3.32 million domestic tourists and 180,000 foreign visitors this year.
Since late March, when the country reopened its aviation and tourism industries, Da Nang has welcomed 286 international flights with 35,000 passengers.
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