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Suspension of supplemental services financially hurts museums in Ho Chi Minh City

Saturday, July 27, 2019, 18:00 GMT+7
Suspension of supplemental services financially hurts museums in Ho Chi Minh City
Visitors at a coffee shop inside the War Remnants Museum located on Vo Van Tan Street, in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Museums in Ho Chi Minh City are frantically looking for ways to make up for the devastating financial impact of a new rule banning supplementary operations, such as souvenir shops and cafés, from operating within their grounds.

According to a directive by the municipal culture department, all museums in the city were required to end their leasing agreements with private businesses that offer supplemental services on their grounds, which are public land, by June 30.

Needless to say, the decision has had a devastating effect on these venues’ bottom lines.

The Museum of Vietnamese History located on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street in District 1 and the War Remnants Museum on Vo Van Tan Street in District 3, both of which had been offering visitors a variety of extra services run by private entities, including gift shops, cafés and restaurants, now say they have lost a vital source of income.

The Museum of Vietnamese History has even had to cease offering traditional water puppetry at a small stage inside its venue which had been operated by an outside business.

A water puppetry stage is unvisited at the Museum of Vietnamese History located on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre
A water puppetry stage is unvisited at the Museum of Vietnamese History located on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Thu Huyen, director of the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City located on Ly Tu Trong Street in District 1, admitted that the silver lining of the suspension is that more public space is now available at the museum.

“However, the absence of the additional services has also taken its toll,” she said.

Without its contracts with private services, the Huyen’s museum expects to lose VND5 billion (US$215,000) in annual revenue.

The Museum of Vietnamese History no longer benefits from five extra services, including a parking lot, souvenir shop, coffee shop, water puppet stage, and a private gallery shop, which previously brought in an additional VND3 billion ($129,000) to the museum each year.

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