The capital is home to 5,900 relic sites and more than 1,700 intangible cultural heritage assets that can serve as cultural tourism attractions.
The Imperial Citadel, the Temple of Literature, the President Ho Chi Minh relic site, Ngoc Son Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter and Duong Lam ancient village on the city’s outskirts are among must-see destinations for tourists in Hanoi.
Intangible cultural heritage assets like water puppetry, ca tru singing, cai luong (reformed opera), cheo (popular opera) and chau van singing have become familiar to Hanoians and tourists. The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, which offers performances year round, is deemed a success story in arts business.
Meanwhile, the presence of both the State and private sectors in the cinema system is believed to help develop the film industry.
However, activities using cultural advantages to generate economic benefits in Hanoi are still small scale and asynchronous. Despite the large number of relics, only a handful of destinations have been utilized for tourism. Meanwhile, water puppetry is the only intangible cultural heritage currently drawing significant interest.
Most theatres in Hanoi still struggle to attract an audience. Additionally, there is a lack of economic activities in the fields of fine arts, photography and architecture.
Facing that fact, the city has issued a plan to implement a development strategy for the local culture industry until 2020, with a vision to 2030.
Per the plan, the culture industry is hoped to gain higher revenue, create more jobs and improve city dwellers’ ability to benefit from culture. Notably, Hanoi targets about 5 million USD in revenue in the performing arts sector and 10 – 15 percent of total tourism revenue coming from cultural tourism annually. It also plans to upgrade cinemas to attract 0.8 – 1.2 million visitors every year.
More efforts will be made to turn architecture, design, publication, fine arts, photography and exhibitions into important service sectors. However, it will be not easy to achieve those targets when the current status of the local culture industry is put into consideration.
Pham Duy Duc, former Director of the Institute of Culture and Development under the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, said Hanoi should improve the capacity of culture-related companies and consider them the focus of this industry.
Other experts said aside from raising public awareness, the city should fine-tune capital, tax and land incentives for culture-related firms and encourage artists’ creativity and businesses’ investment in this field. They also stressed the importance of high-quality human resources in the culture industry’s development.
Nguyen Van Truc, head of the arts management division of the municipal Department of Culture and Sports, said they are taking measures to boost the culture industry, including coordinating with agencies to support enterprises and organisations in the field.