09:57 | 02/07/2018 Travel
(VEN) - Despite its cultural and architectural values, Duong Lam Ancient Village, located a short ride from central Hanoi in Son Tay Town, welcomes only about 17,000 visitors each year.
In 2006, Duong Lam was the first old village to be recognized as a historical and cultural relic of national significance. Two of Vietnam’s kings, Phung Hung (761-802) and Ngo Quyen (896-944) were born in Duong Lam. After their deaths, the local people built temples in their honor. The ancient village has many houses dating back up to 400 years.
Today, Duong lam village preserves old-style tile-roofed houses with laterite-paved walls and brick courtyards. Residents make traditional products, such as thick soy sauce, sweet gruel made from ground glutinous rice, peanut candy, soft green-lentil cake and rice cake. However, for over a decade, the village has not found an effective way to develop tourism.
The absence of local tour guides is one of the problems. Only about 10 percent of residents earn their living from tourism services. Residents are also reluctant to restore their old houses to attract visitors because they have to abide by regulations of the management board of the Duong Lam Village relics, as well as Vietnam’s Law on Cultural Heritage.
Ha Thi Loi, a resident of Duong Lam Village’s Mong Phu Hamlet, told Vietnam Economic News that she supports the conservation of old houses for tourism development. In her opinion, however, local authorities should seek ways to encourage residents’ participation in this process.
The government of Son Tay Town is completing formalities to ask the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to adjust the area defined for tourism development in Duong Lam Ancient Village, focusing on the two hamlets of Mong Phu and Cam Thinh, to create favorable conditions for local residents to join tourism development efforts.
Son Tay Town is also concentrating on creating suitable policies and mechanisms to support vocational training and generate jobs for local residents; creating tours within the town and to tourist sites in Ba Vi District and the provinces of Hoa Binh, Vinh Phuc and Phu Tho. Signposts and stalls selling tourism products of the locality will be set up.
Associate Professor, Dr. Dang Van Bai, Vice President of the Cultural Heritage Association of Vietnam, says the conservation of Duong Lam’s cultural and historical values remains ineffective. He emphasizes the necessity of joint efforts by tourism and culture authorities to create a tourism development plan for the ancient village.
Son Tay Town expected that by 2015, at least 45 percent of residents in Duong Lam Ancient Village would participate
in providing tourism services. After three years, however, only less than one third of this target has been achieved.