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Tourism complex in northern Vietnam faces backlash over ill-shaped statue of Disney princess Elsa

Tourism complex in northern Vietnam faces backlash over ill-shaped statue of Disney princess Elsa

Tuesday, July 20, 2021, 19:42 GMT+7
Tourism complex in northern Vietnam faces backlash over ill-shaped statue of Disney princess Elsa
Kids are seen around the statue of Disney princess Elsa in Ansapa tourism complex in Sa Pa Town, Lao Cai Province. Photo courtesy of Ansapa.

Ansapa, a tourism complex in Sa Pa Town of Lao Cai Province in northern Vietnam that went viral three months ago for its notoriously camp replica of the Statue of Liberty, has come under scrutiny once again for its ill-proportioned statue of Elsa -- the protagonist of Disney’s animated feature ‘Frozen.’

A picture of the statue has circulated on social media and garnered mixed reactions from netizens after it was posted on a Lao Cai Province-themed Facebook page on Sunday.

The majority of comments on the post mocked the sculpture’s bizarre looks, while others criticized it for ruining the natural landscape of the tourism hub Sa Pa.

In her comment, Facebook user N.P.L. argued that tourists come to Sa Pa for the untouched scenery and indigenous culture, not the “half-hearted, unaesthetic projects” like the Elsa statue. 

“Let’s take a look at developed countries, see how their structures harmonize with natural scenery, and stop ruining the views with ignorance like this,” she criticized.

The controversial statue of Disney princess Elsa in Ansapa, a tourism complex in Sa Pa Town of the northern Lao Cai Province. Photo courtesy of Ansapa.

The controversial statue of Disney princess Elsa in Ansapa, a tourism complex in Sa Pa Town of Lao Cai Province in northern Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Ansapa.

Answering Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Ansapa owner Nguyen Ngoc Dong confirmed that the statue is located in his complex. 

He also showed his dismay at the unfair Internet scrunity that was aimed at his business, which he claimed to be the work of his competitors.

According to Dong, the Elsa statue was completed long ago, but has only recently been installed.

As seen from the photo, the project is still underway, with a glass floor that still needs to be completed.

Dong refered to the statue as a gift to his daughter An, a big fan of Elsa, who even calls herself Anna -- the sister of the protagonist in the ‘Frozen’ movie. 

It was An who inspired Dong to make an Elsa statue in order to give tourists a delight when they come to his complex, the owner added.

He justified his modern work as necessary for a demographic of visitors, while those who seek traditional culture also have the choice of visiting the surrounding villages that are doing an excellent job of preserving time-honored values. 

Ansapa is located in an obscure corner that does not block the views of Sa Pa as many have been concerned, Dong assured.

Tourists pose in front of the Statue of Liberty replica in Ansapa tourism complex in Sa Pa Town, Lao Cai Province. Photo courtesy of Ansapa.

Tourists pose in front of the Statue of Liberty replica at the Ansapa tourism complex in Sa Pa Town, Lao Cai Province, Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Ansapa.

Addressing the Statue of Liberty replica, the other controversial sculpture on his premises, Dong revealed that it remains a popular structure that is sought after by many visitors to his complex. 

His version of the Statue of Liberty faced a harsh Internet backlash for its off-kilter proportions some three months ago, but Dong has not changed any of its features since, claiming “no one can pinpoint a definitve measure of beauty.”

The Statue of Liberty as well as the Elsa sculpture are two among various structures that have been erected as photo ops for visitors to Sa Pa Town in recent years.

As the culture-information office of Sa Pa stated, photo op structures in the area must undergo appraisal and obtain permits before construction.

According to national radio VOV, authorities in Sa Pa on Monday investigated the issue and ordered the Elsa statue to be pulled down before Wednesday. 

“The owner of the Elsa statue didn’t seek the permission of the local tourism board before building it," Pham Cao Vy, head of the Sa Pa Tourism Association, told VOV.

"Otherwise, we would have discussed the pros and cons with them.

“Now, the developer has spent a hefty amount of money on the statue, the image of Sa Pa has been blackened, and tourists have come to think of Sa Pa as a town of vanity.” 

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