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Da Nang ready for APEC

Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 15:23 GMT+7

With less than a week to the start of the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang is making its final preparations to host the event.

At the construction site of a hotel in Da Nang’s Son Tra District, workers are erecting panels printed with the city’s iconic landscapes to shield the works from public sight.

The idea is part of a campaign initiated by the administration of Da Nang, which calls on local businesses to help beautify the city ahead of welcoming world leaders to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.

“We cover up [the construction sites] so that the city can look tidier and more beautiful for APEC,” said Doan Hung, the owner of a paint distribution company that paid for panels at buildings whose operators had bought his paint.

Panels are erected around a construction site in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Panels are erected around a construction site in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Panels are erected around a construction site in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Panels are erected around a construction site in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Running November 6-11 in Da Nang, the Economic Leaders’ Week is the culmination of Vietnam’s year-long hosting of a series of meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

At least 18 world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, are expected to arrive in the central city for the 25th edition of the forum.

Sanitation workers in Da Nang will work extra hard on these days to clean up the city’s streets and beaches, while patrol units have been set up to deal with environmental issues at construction sites.

Along the streets, locals have voluntarily put up decorative flower baskets in front of their houses to celebrate the festive occasion.

“It feels like the New Year holiday with all these people bustling around,” said Le Thi Thu Hang, who works at a local coffee shop. “The atmosphere is extraordinary. I’m overwhelmed by the scale of this event. I hope APEC will open doors for Vietnam and help our country integrate with the global community.”

Le Thi Thu Hang, who works at a coffee shop in Da Nang, waters a flower basket. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Le Thi Thu Hang, who works at a coffee shop in Da Nang, waters a flower basket. Photo: Tuoi Tre

At the APEC Park, dozens of workers rushed to finish the final decorations in time for the conclusion of work on Wednesday.

“Work is harder compared to regular days, but it’s fun nonetheless since we are beautifying our city to host an international event,” said Dang Van Hoang, a park worker.

For Tran Duy Vu, a driver for a local greenery company, his daily routine has been to wake up before dawn to transport flowers and plants to APEC Park.

“We work not only because it’s our job, but also because as a Da Nang-based business we want to contribute to the success of APEC,” said Phan Quang Huong, director of the Dai Ngan Greenery Company.

A worker plants flowers at APEC Park in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A worker plants flowers at APEC Park in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Da Nang’s golden chance

According to Huynh Duc Tho, chairman of Da Nang, the city is ready for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week with the completion of most works, including the construction of a new international terminal at Da Nang International Airport featuring an expanded apron large enough to accommodate up to 75 jets at a time.

A fully-equipped media center where some 3,000 international and local reporters are expected to stay and work during the event has also been completed.

Meeting venues and temporary residences for APEC leaders have been prepared for the week-long event.

Tran Chi Cuong, deputy director of Da Nang’s Department of Tourism, said that the occasion would be a “golden chance” for the local tourist industry to promote its attractions to the world.

Between November 2 and 12, the Son Tra Peninsula will be off-limits to regular visitors, with access granted only to APEC delegates, Cuong said.

The city’s administration has announced a plan to impose restrictions along a number of roads in the downtown area.

A worker plants flowers outside the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A worker plants flowers outside the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre

According to Lam Quang Minh, director of the municipal Department of External Affairs, over the last twelve months the city has coordinated with the embassies of Australia and New Zealand to teach English to Vietnamese personnel responsible for the running of the APEC Leader’s Week.

“We are happy with the positive changes to the city so far. The image of a dynamic and prospering city has become known to international friends thanks to APEC videos, reportage and trailers,” Minh said.

Da Nang tourism is expected to experience a boost following the APEC summit, which will be attended by some 10,000 international delegates, he said.

A worker fixes reinforcements to a newly planted tree at APEC Park in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A worker fixes reinforcements to a newly planted tree at APEC Park in Da Nang. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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