New tourism attraction: No smoking cities

11:21 | 29/03/2017 Culture & Tourism

(VEN) - Vietnam’s leading tourist centers are applying smoke-free city models in order to become more attractive to visitors.

The cities include the ancient town of Hoi An in Quang Nam Province, the city of Ha Long in Quang Ninh Province, Nha Trang City in Khanh Hoa Province, the city of Hai Phong, the old capital of Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Hoi An has been successfully applying the smoke-free model since 2011, with its success attributed to the unanimous determination of authorities at different levels and the local community. “No smoking” signs can be found throughout the town, mostly in tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, hospitals and office buildings. Hoi An attracted more than 2.6 million visitors in 2016.

In the city of Ha Long, under the direction of authorities at different levels, the local community’s awareness of tobacco’s damaging effects has significantly improved. Smoking is almost not found in public places such as hospitals, schools, restaurants and hotels in Ha Long. According to a survey by Ha Long’s Health Department, the percentage of residents joining the anti-smoking campaign on a voluntary basis has increased from 49.5 percent to 90 percent since the campaign was launched in 2009.

A Lotus Hotel Ha Long representative said since the hotel joined the campaign, the number of European visitors to the hotel has increased.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the Ministry of Health fund for fighting the damaging effects of smoking has coordinated with the city to launch a smoke-free environment at dozens of restaurants and hotels. A Caravelle Hotel representative said that smoking is entirely prohibited in the hotel, and that violators have to pay a fine of US$150 for each infraction.

The anti-smoking campaign is also expected to be beneficial to local residents. Vietnam is among the top 15 countries in the world in terms of the number of smokers. Some 40,000 people in the country die annually due to smoking-related diseases.

Quynh Nga