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Visitors come in droves to Vietnam’s first-ever ‘sleepless city’

Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 15:40 GMT+7
Visitors come in droves to Vietnam’s first-ever ‘sleepless city’
Visitors take photos at Phu Quoc United Center on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam, April 20, 2021. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

Currently, about 54 flights carry 20,000 arrivals to Phu Quoc Island every day, according to the Department of Tourism of Kien Giang Province, which administers the island regarded as Vietnam's beach paradise.

The number is forecast to increase to 80 flights on the back-to-back holidays of Reunification Day (April 30) and International Workers' Day (May 1).

The figures are the result of not only the high demand of summer travel but also the opening of Vietnam’s first-ever ‘sleepless city’ on Phu Quoc -- an example of the inevitable trend in the tourism industry, in which independent night-time entertainment complexes are established in big cities.

Turning point of entertainment travel

The nearly-1,000-hectare area of Phu Quoc United Center was bustling on Tuesday morning, welcoming huge throngs on crowded electric buses in preparation for its grand opening on Wednesday.

In the Grand World component, luxury shopping retailers were gearing up to complete the very last decorations and preparation for their mini music and art shows.

As soon as 9:00 am on Tuesday, hundreds of workers gathered to embellish small scenes with pavilions, craft villages, and traditional products to resemble the ancient Vietnamese spaces at the venue for ‘The Quintessence of Vietnam’ show, which employs the largest modern technology in Vietnam.

The show’s director Viet Tu told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the performers’ goal is to attract visitors to the festive activities in the entertainment city.

Besides, visitors from other resort complexes and couples who were taking their pre-wedding photos at Grand World also added up the hustle and bustle in the city.

Tran Gia Hung, a tourist from District 7, Ho Chi Minh City who had traveled to different Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Thailand, said that he was strongly impressed by the scenery and majesty of colorful buildings in Vietnam’s first ‘sleepless city.’

Hung was even prouder that the project is characterized by Vietnamese identity.

According to Nguyen Thi Thu Yen, an assistant at the Tous Les Temps café at Grand World, restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping stores there have generally finished their decorations and been ready for serving customers.

“The number of visitors to Grand World today is beyondall expectations,” Yen said.

“They spend time here from morning till night.

“Their main activities include sightseeing, coffee time, and shopping for souvenirs with families and friends.

“I think this area, once officially put into operation, will be crowded and bustling day and night.

"I can’t wait for it."

Visitors enjoy a thrill ride at VinWonders on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam, April 20, 2021. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

Visitors enjoy a thrill ride at VinWonders on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam, April 20, 2021. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

Phu Quoc waits to shine

According to Vu The Binh, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) tours play an important part in the domestic tourism sector as customers with the demand of relaxation often prefer this traveling model to exploration trips.

“This is clearly reflected in the ‘sleepless city’ model of Japan,” Binh said.

“Visitors there will be hooked on the variety of services, most of which are culinary and shopping."

According to experts, during the development of a night-time economy, it is necessary for Vietnam to establish a system of night tourism products before building independent night-time entertainment complexes.

This is also Vietnam’s development orientation for the night-time economic model in the future.

In this fashion, Grand World with a combination of vivid activities at night and a series of exciting daytime festivals is expected to bring new vitality to the tourism economy of both Phu Quoc and Kien Giang.

A representative of the Kien Giang tourism department said that the number of flights from the country’s mainland to Phu Quoc would reach 80 on the holidays of Reunification Day and International Workers’ Day. 

Meanwhile, 30 ferry trips can carry more than 4,000 passengers to the island ahead of the opening of the ‘sleepless city,’ according to Ho Thanh Sang, deputy director of the Kien Giang Port Authority.

Along with Da Lat, Vung Tau, Da Nang, and Nha Trang, Phu Quoc has become the most popular destination for Vietnamese tourists during the aforementioned four-day public holiday, according to a survey by the hotel reservation site Booking.com.

To ensure safety for tourists in the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ho Chi Minh City-based Cho Ray Hospital has sent 13 experienced doctors to Kien Giang to coordinate with the province in disease prevention and control.

In addition, Phu Quoc City leaders recently directly assigned missions to the navy, coast guards, and border guards who are responsible for preventing illegal entry from neighboring Cambodia, where the virus is taking its toll on local residents.

Thousands of shows a year

Another festive highlight that many visitors should look forward to is the 30-minute show ‘Colors of Venice’ held every evening at the Canal and Central Lake, featuring typical European designs, combined with romantic love stories and laser technology.

In addition to two main shows costing millions of dollars, the ‘sleepless city’ also offers at least 2,920 daytime mini shows, along with 365 evening performances, every year in various topics to bring visitors fresh feelings.

According to Bui Quoc Thai, director of the Kien Giang Department of Tourism, the models of endless entertainment and shopping will help introduce local agricultural products and specialties, especially through the Grand World night market’s 134 stalls, which are divided into four categories -- cuisine, souvenirs, local specialties, and fashion items.

Tourists’ expectations for ‘sleepless city’

Duong Huan, a traveler from Ho Chi Minh City, showed his support for the development of a nigh-time economy, especially in big cities and tourism hot spots.

According to Huan, management agencies need to leverage each locality’s own identity more thoroughly to avoid boring repetition.

At the same time, more regulations on food safety and hygiene, pricing, security, and public order are needed for the healthy growth of business and preventing bad practices.

Localities with famous tourist destinations should improve public transport while ensuring security and public order for tourists, he said.

Besides, there should be suitable activities designed for different ages, especially for children, as many young families often find themselves in situations where they cannot entertain their kids during their trips.

According to Trang Ho, a visitor from Hanoi, she prefers taking part in outdoor activities at night during her vacations over more comfortable weather and less busy traffic.

However, tourists have few choices for night-time outdoor activities in Vietnamese cities, Ho complained.

“Nobody wants to stay in a hotel to watch TV during their trips,” Ho said.

“This point signals the business opportunity of the night-time economy. 

“I think the ‘sleepless city’ should initially address this need and then other healthy entertainment services.”

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