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Vietnamese islanders host tourists at home for free

Monday, May 04, 2015, 14:39 GMT+7
Vietnamese islanders host tourists at home for free
A local resident (c) talks to tourists for whom she provides free lodging at her home on Ly Son Island in Quang Ngai Province, located in central Vietnam.

Hundreds of tourists who vacationed on Ly Son Island off central Vietnam last week might never forget the trip, as they were able to spend the night in local houses without having to pay a fee.

More than 8,000 tourists chose to spend the six-day holiday that ended Sunday on the island off the central Vietnamese province of Quang Ngai, resulting in a lodging shortage, according to the management board of the Ly Son Port.

With hotels and other lodging facilities on the island overbooked, hundreds of local residents left the door of their houses wide open to tourists and told them that accommodation was totally free.

“Many tourists have visited the island for the first time and they could not find a place to rest,” said Duong Quang Dinh, an islander who owns a 200-year-old house.

“My wife and I thus voluntarily invited 25 tourists from Hanoi and Da Nang to stay at our house free-of-charge.”

Many schools and public offices on Ly Son also offered free lodging for tourists, whereas locals helped vacationers find vehicles to travel around the island.

Sixty holidaymakers who could not book a hotel room were able to stay at the Ly Son politics training center for free, according to deputy director Pham Khuong Sinh.

Located about 30km off Quang Ngai Province, Ly Son has emerged as a new destination for holidaymakers who love exploring seas and islands.

The island is embracing a new wave of holidaymakers and investors after an undersea cable system connecting it to the national electricity grid was inaugurated in October last year. A taxi operator also sent cabs there earlier this year.

Ly Son is particularly attractive to tourists thanks to its centuries-old tradition and history closely related to Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, said Nguyen Dang Vu, director of Quang Ngai’s tourism department.

Hospitality has long been a virtue practiced by Ly Son islanders, who “could not be indifferent seeing tourists unable to find accommodation,” Vu said.

“The islanders would immediately invite holidaymakers to stay at their houses when they learned of their problems,” the official said, adding this could not be found “at many places ashore.”

Vu added that tourists have also won over the locals with their friendliness and love for the country’s history of fighting to protect sovereignty over its seas and islands.

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