The fifth Quang Nam Heritage Festival will take place on June 21-26, 2013 in Hoi An ancient town and My Son relic site, both world heritage sites. The fifth Quang Nam Heritage Festival aims to promote local heritage and cultural values as well as tourism potential of the central province of Quang Nam. The Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Dinh Hai, Director of the Quang Nam provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism about the importance of the festival as well as preparations for this event. Van Loi reports.
This is the fifth year that Quang Nam has hosted the heritage festival. Can you give an overview of previous heritage festivals? What is the focus of the festival this year?
The central province of Quang Nam, home to Hoi An ancient town and My Son relic site recognised as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1999, launched the first heritage festival in 2003, aiming to advertise its heritage values and tourism potential to attract more domestic and international visitors. a
Thanks to these festivals, Quang Nam’s cultural values and tourism potential have been promoted widely. The number of tourists to Quang Nam province marked a nine-fold increase from 312,719 tourist arrivals in 1999 to 2.818 million in 2012. Cultural exchanges between Quang Nam and other localities in the country as well as those in the region and the world have contributed to the development of local culture and artistic activities.
“The fifth Quang Nam Heritage Festival is the largest-ever in terms of scale and participants. The event will attract eight art groups from ASEAN member nations and those from more than 30 cities and provinces in Vietnam. The festival will also attract the participation of 75 representative agencies of countries and territories in Vietnam as well as international organisations, scientists, managers and businesses. There are numerous cultural, sports and tourism activities during the festival, together with a series of conferences and seminars on investment promotion.
The three focused activities of the Festival are ASEAN Cultural Heritage Space, the Vietnam-Hoi An International Choir Competition and the final round of the Miss Ethnic Vietnam Pageant. An exhibition on ASEAN Cultural Heritage Space will open on June 21-26. The space of the exhibition will be located beside the Hoai River with 22 ancient houses. The exhibition is expected to introduce visitors to Vietnamese intangible cultural heritages, traditional festivals and folk games. The exhibition also plans to feature an ASEAN cultural heritage space and display cultural and tourism products, local specialties and typical craft items from Vietnam and other ASEAN countries. During the exhibition, performances of art groups from ASEAN countries and representatives from Vietnamese localities will be held on June 23-24 and notably, performances of Don ca tai tu (Southern amateur music), Vi-dam folk music, Chau Van (spiritual) Singing will be also on display on the Hoai River.
Besides introducing UNESCO-recognised heritages, the country will also introduce intangible and tangible ones that are seeking the UNESCO recognition, to domestic and foreign visitors, especially to members of the Council of National Cultural Heritage, who will also attend the festival.
Can you give an overview of the programmes to be held during the fifth Quang Nam Heritage Festival as well as the preparations for the event? What are the difference in detail for this year’s event?
“The fifth Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2013 will officially open on June 22, 2013 while activities within the event officially take place from June 11 together with the final of the Miss Ethnic Vietnam Pageant. During a 15-day stay in Quang Nam, candidates of the pageant will take part in many activities in Tam Ky, Phu Ninh, Dien Ban and Duy Xuyen. These activities are expected to help promote the localities’ image and tourism potential. Like other previous festivals, activities of the 2013 event will be mainly held in Hoi An ancient town and the My Son relic site. The fifth Quang Nam heritage festival will be a chance for the province to promote its new tourism products and services. The space of the festival will be extended to Tam Ky city, which has Tam Thanh beach; Phu Ninh district, which is home to Phu Ninh Lake; Dien Ban district, home to Triem Tay eco-tourism area; Nam Giang district, home to Ho Chi Minh trail, Zara weaving village and Grang waterfall; and Dong Giang district, which has Bho Hoong and Dho Roong villages. The organizing board expects that the festival 2013 will help widely promote local tourism products and services so that they can be tapped in the near future to contribute to the development of the local tourism industry. The fifth Quang Nam heritage festival also features community unity via a series of cultural, sports activities with involvement of visitors.
As the fifth Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2013 has many national and international programmes, the organising board since the beginning of 2012 has started the preparation for the event. Up till now, the board is completing specific plans for activities to ensure that all will run smoothly. Many international guests and those from cities and provinces have registered to take part in activities during the event. The organizing board is accelerating its preparations for protocol and logistics services for the festival.
Quang Nam heritage festivals focus on heritage values with the ultimate goal of boosting tourism development. Did the four previous festivals achieve that goal?
Quang Nam is determined to develop cultural tourism as its key product of the hospitality sector, with a focus on Hoi An ancient town and My Son relic site, world heritage sites. Quang Nam is also home to 54 national relics, 282 provincial ones, together with many kinds of intangible cultural heritages such as traditional festivals, traditional craft villages and folk art performances. Intangible and tangible cultural heritages were also introduced via many activities at the previous Quang Nam heritage festivals.
“Quang Nam - one destination, two world heritage sites” has been promoted widely and become more popular thanks to the successful organisation of these festivals. According to a survey carried out by the Quang Nam provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the UNESCO Office in Hanoi in 2011, most of tourists visiting Quang Nam go on a sightseeing tour of Hoi An ancient town and My Son relic site as well as study local cultural and history values. It can be said that Quang Nam tourism is closely connected with heritage sites and the previous festivals have succeeded in promoting local cultural heritage, thus contributing to the development of the local tourism industry.
What is the significant role of the Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2013 to the development of tourism in Hoi An ancient town in particular and in Quang Nam in general?
“The fifth Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2013 is an important event of the year, aiming to promote local tourism potential and image. The organising board expects that through activities and scientific conferences during the event, the province will find proper measures and an action plan to better preserve and promote local heritage sites. The brand of “Quang Nam – one destination, two heritages sites” will be more widely promoted if the values of cultural heritage are better preserved via an action plan.
The organising board also hopes that the fifth Quang Nam Heritage Festival with the largest-ever scale will help promote the tourism potential and image of Hoi An as well as Quang Nam more effectively. Through the festival, we expect to receive more support from international organizations and investors, and the business community for projects to preserve cultural heritage sites in the province and to facilitate the local tourism development in the coming years. Notably, a series of cultural, economic and tourism activities within the festival will create a chance for the province to attract more investors in the future.