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Firm mulls $654mn project to turn Hanoi’s famed tourism area into World Heritage Site

Saturday, December 29, 2018, 12:01 GMT+7
Firm mulls $654mn project to turn Hanoi’s famed tourism area into World Heritage Site
Visitors gather around a pagoda at a temple complex in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A private enterprise wishes to invest a large amount of money into transforming a famous tourism mecca in Hanoi into a UNESCO Heritage site within just a few years, but the suggestion has yet to get a green-light.

Xuan Truong Co. has plans to spend some VND15 trillion (US$645 million) on making changes to Huong (Perfume) Pagoda in the capital’s My Duc District, so that it can earn the international recognition in four or five years, the company said in a proposal to the municipal authorities.

Huong Pagoda is in fact a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines worshipping gods and mandarins from Vietnam’s feudal past that were built into the limestone mountain of Huong Tich.

Xuan Truong Co. suggests dredging rivers, restoring and revamping temples and building a 100-meter-tall pagoda, restaurants, hotels and other service facilities on a 1,000-hectare area in the complex, some 60km from the heart of Hanoi.

The area in question overlaps three on-going construction projects by an estimated 400 hectares, a leader of the municipal planning department said Tuesday.

The company said its chief purpose in upgrading the complex is not to derive financial benefits from the investment but provide Hanoi with a more beautiful landscape.

Tran Ngoc Nam, deputy director of the Hanoi planning department, said the undertaking is too ambitious and risky, citing strict UNESCO requirements.

“Investment in such a venture is very likely to end in failure,” Nam underlined, adding the company has not mapped out its plan nor specified zones where the project may be carried out.

Domestic experts fear that once implemented, the project could adversely affect the ecosystem and cultural scene at the area, where numerous people make a pilgrimage from the January to March of Vietnam’s lunar calendar, usually coinciding with the February-to-April period.

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Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

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