Though the organizers of the 2015 Da Lat Flower Festival in Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong said the event was a major success as many objectives they set earlier were fulfilled, local visitors do not totally agree with the conclusion.
Some of them have told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper what should be improved to make the annual festival, the biggest of its kind in Vietnam, more attractive and more tourist-friendly.
The 2015 Da Lat Flower Festival, which concluded on Saturday, lured about 100,000 visits per day on average, according to the organizers.
The success of the fest was thanks in part to the floral arrangements on Le Dai Hanh Street, the Ong Dao Bridge, the area around Xuan Huong Lake, the opening ceremony on December 29 and another event to honor flower growers, they added.
But many visitors told Tuoi Tre that they are looking forward to a better edition next year, which should incorporate more characteristics of Da Lat.
Many tourists complained it took them much more time to move around the city during the final two days of the festival.
Nguyen Van Hoang, a tourist from the southern province of Dong Nai, said a lack of parking space led to him taking two hours to go from the place where the event took place to his hotel on Le Hong Phong Street nearby.
In addition, the prices at many food stores and hotels rose by at least 100 percent compared to those on weekdays, Hoang whinged.
Nguyen Duy Hung, 44, a visitor from Dong Nai, said his three-member family arrived in Da Lat early on New Year’s Day only to find a budget double room, normally priced at VND250,000 per night, costing VND900,000 a night, as he had not booked any hotel room in advance.
Nguyen Vinh Phuc, vice chairman of the Da Lat People’s Committee and deputy chief organizer of the 2015 Da Lat Flower Festival, told Tuoi Tre that the preliminary statistics for the five-day event showed that Da Lat and its flower festival remain attractive to local and foreign tourists.
According to Phuc, during the five days, there were no reports from tourists of incidents related to security issues and unusual price hikes when it comes to food service and hotel rooms.
However, hotel service charges and food prices at some places were doubled, he admitted.
Many motels and hotels even raised the rates of their rooms by up to 300 percent on the peak days, January 1 and 2, but they were exceptions and not the rule, Phuc underlined.
Loss of Da Lat’s identity
Photographer MPK told Tuoi Tre that Da Lat was previously called Dalat, which is a Latin abbreviation of “Dat Aliis Laetitiam Aliis Temperiem,” meaning bringing joy to some people and freshness to others.
Thus Da Lat itself is a cheerful and fresh place that should not be bothered by any loud and boisterous festive atmosphere.
So festivals, regardless of their size, should not transcend Da Lat’s nature and should not ruin the calm and quietness of a foggy tourism attraction either.
But the flower festival has damaged all this over the years, MPK said.
“Let’s go to a Da Lat festival to indulge in a cultural space and to love the romantic land, which has won the hearts of countless generations,” he said.
“It is not a place where we come and then leave with our heart filled with sadness as we have found the identity of the land we had fallen in love with is gradually disappearing,” he added.