Street vendors in the ancient town of Hoi An in central Vietnam who rip off tourists or solicit them to buy their items will be purged in a campaign to restore order in the touristy hub.
Officials will impose several measures in the project to “reorganize street vending activities in the ancient town” by Hoi An City’s administration, slated to be launched on Monday, in order to improve the tourist town’s public image.
Boats serving as floating restaurants anchored along the Hoai River near Bach Dang Port will be relocated elsewhere, as they have been found to block tourists’ view of the iconic river.
“That’s not to mention river pollution caused by diners littering on those boats,” said Nguyen Van Son, deputy chairman of the Hoi An City People’s Committee.
Major streets in Hoi An Ancient Town, located in the city’s Minh An Ward, such as Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Tran Phu and Le Loi will be purged of street vendors and souvenir shops that encroach on the sidewalks, taking up the walking path of tourists.
Those who sell overpriced items or are reported to be soliciting tourists to buy their goods will also be thoroughly removed, Son said.
“Street vending is a part of the ancient town’s culture, but the tradition has been abused for the personal benefits of dishonest vendors, on whom we look to crack down in the upcoming reorganization plan,” Son said.
According to Son, the souvenir areas of the ancient town will be reorganized to restore the town’s civilized atmosphere, with street vendors being kept under close supervision by local authorities.
“We will especially focus on eliminating those toys originating from China, 3D paintings and other unsuitable items, while encouraging the sale of locally made goods,” Son added.
As Hoi An grows in popularity among domestic and foreign tourists, there has been an increasing number of non-local merchants moving in to conduct business, bringing along cultures that are not uniquely Hoi An’s and threatening to taint the town’s heritage, according to Nguyen Chi Trung, director of the Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation.
A survey conducted recently by the team responsible for the upcoming reorganization project found that as many as 41 dishes and 35 souvenir items are being sold in Hoi An Ancient Town, some of which are not representative of the local culture.