Hanoi embraces global attention

14:39 | 07/03/2019
Hanoi, as the host city, played a pivotal part in last week’s meeting between US President Donald Trump and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Chairman Kim Jong Un. This was a great opportunity to promote Hanoi and Vietnam to the rest of the world. Phuong Hao reports.
hanoi embraces global attention
Hanoi donned a plume of flags and banners for the summit

The first impression of Hanoi for both ­Vietnamese and ­foreigners these days is usually that the city is so beautiful and colourful. The streets are clean and decorated with different kinds of flowers and banners.

“We would like to introduce to the world Hanoi as a dynamic and safe place, and truly for peace,” Nguyen Duc Chung, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee, told international media.

He also said that along with the efforts of the government, the city, ministries and ­departments, each house and every citizen has contributed in some way to promoting Hanoi’s image for peace.

Although the summit took place on February 27 and 28, students gathered around Hoan Kiem Lake a day earlier to ­support tourists. Besides regaling tourists with the cultural and historical values of Hanoi, they also spread environmental awareness by collecting garbage so that Hanoi could maintain its beautiful charm.

As one of the 125 students, Le Minh Nhi from Open ­University felt happy to ­contribute to this task. “I want to tell tourists interesting things about Hanoi that don’t appear in any guide book,” she said.

Meanwhile, at the media centre, in addition to activities for journalists, 500 domestic and 3,000 international ­reporters had the chance to enjoy different kinds of ­traditional Vietnamese food cooked by various artisans.

In Vietnam for the first time, John Power from the South China Morning Post felt impressed with classic Hanoi pho. “The smell and taste of pho is so unique,” he said.

Lee HeeHoon, reporter from Ohmy News, was also in Vietnam for the first time. ­Despite having the chance to sample Vietnamese food in the past, he was still eager to try all the foods served at the media centre. “Vietnamese cuisine is quite popular in South Korea, but I am happy to try the original taste here in Hanoi. Before I leave, I want to visit the bun cha restaurant where Barack Obama once sat for lunch,” he said.

Besides food, international journalists were also given ­traditional Vietnamese presents. As one of the two typical travel agencies ­serving media at the event, Saigontourist presented 3,000 reporters both hats and Dong Ho pictures. The company also provided free tours for them to discover Hanoi and Quang Ninh.

“We have four free tours ­introducing featured images of our country, people, and culture, including the city tour, and travel to Duong Lam ancient village, the ceramic village of Bat Trang, and even Halong Bay,” said Nguyen Huu Y Yen, general director of ­Saigontourist.

According to Vu The Binh, permanent vice chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, agencies often have to invite foreign journalists to report about Vietnamese tourism at high expense, but the summit meant that they were already here and paid for, meaning Vietnamese tourism firms can actively make plans to invite them to travel destinations.

“I hope that the summit can help Vietnam attract a large number of tourists from America, a market with more than 90 ­million travellers abroad each year,” he said.

Hanoi was chosen as the host city of the DPRK-US Summit, to give the event its official title, on the 20th ­anniversary of receiving “The city for peace” by UNESCO. As a result, Hanoi tried its best to prove to be a safe and ­peaceful destination with rich culture and history.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed that the cost of organising the first DPRK-US Summit was SGD20 million (nearly $15 million) and the Singaporean government was “ready to pay.” Half of the cost was for ­security and about SGD5 million (about $3.7 million) was for communication and service costs for 2,500 international reporters. According to data from Meltwater Media ­Research, Singapore pocketed at least SGD767 million (nearly $570 million), 38 times more than the original ­investment, thanks to tourism, retail, and media.

James Scott - Australia

hanoi embraces global attention

We met Kim Jong Un’s ­doppelganger on the street which was funny. We heard about the summit on every corner, and have seen a lot of decorations on the streets to welcome everyone. I think it was lucky for us to be here to experience the unique ­atmosphere of the city during this special occasion.

We saw so many T-shirts commemorating the event and we bought some because they will always remind us of this historic event and the beautiful time we had in Hanoi.

I think that this is a good chance for Vietnam to ­advertise the country ­worldwide.

Daniel Wagner - Germany

hanoi embraces global attention

I didn’t know what to expect, but the two leaders being here in Vietnam is a happy signal for the two countries and of course Vietnam. It proves that Vietnam plays an important role and is safe and peaceful.

I hope that the United States and the DPRK will build a true friendship in the near future. I think choosing Vietnam as the host of the summit was a great idea. I can feel the ­friendliness in the way ­people treat outsiders.

The streets are beautiful and I like the decorations.

Before coming here, I thought that I might find it difficult because of the summit’s security. However, I feel satisfied with my experience in Hanoi and there has been a happy atmosphere here.

Nick Davidson - United States

hanoi embraces global attention

This summit was an important event for my country as well as for the whole world because it is related to peace for everyone. With what I have experienced in Hanoi, I understand why the summit took place here.

Hanoi is very peaceful and beautiful. We can see colourful flowers along the streets, and there are so many kinds of flowers that I have never seen before.

Hanoi is very attractive and the people here are so friendly. It is truly a city for peace. So far I have tried pho, bun cha, bun nem, bun thang, and banh mi. They are great, and I have planned to try as many kinds of food here as I can. I love Hanoi and I will come back here one day.

Rich parkman – Thailand (Kim Jong Un lookalike)

hanoi embraces global attention

Many local people and foreign tourists were excited and asked for pictures when they saw me. I usually receive a positive ­response as people think that my strolling the streets of Hanoi is funny and interesting.

I had my hair cut and I ­practiced a lot so that I could pretend to be Kim Jong Un, and bring joy to people. Vietnamese people in particular looked forward to this event.

Regardless of the ­outcome of the summit, it has been quite a favourable ­opportunity for Vietnam to ­promote itself.

Marcos Wolf - Germany

hanoi embraces global attention

This is my first time in Hanoi and I can see that the city is very bustling. There are ­flowers, banners, and flags welcoming the summit ­everywhere. I am not that ­interested in the summit, but it has been a joyful experience seeing Hanoi prepare to host such a globally-influential event.

Everything is so busy, bright, and colourful, and I have also seen a lot of ­souvenirs based on Trump and Kim. I think ­Vietnam is doing a great job to promote friendships with other countries, and the country will definitely become a more ­desirable destination in the eyes of foreign tourists as a ­result.

Eason Chan - Hong Kong

hanoi embraces global attention

Everybody has been talking about the summit. I see banners everywhere and there are also a lot of decorations and flowers set up in preparation, which I think make for a warm welcome from the host city. I heard that some ­establishments even created new cocktails inspired by Trump and Kim, which I would love to try sometime.

Overall, I am having a good time in Hanoi and Vietnam as a whole, and it is even more memorable because my trip was scheduled at the time of the summit. Vietnam, for me, is a very beautiful country, safe and friendly for anyone.

William Tremblay - Canada

hanoi embraces global attention

This is my second time in Hanoi. Everyone is busy and excited to welcome the two leaders with banners and flags. There are also a lot of screens showing images of Vietnam and of the summit.

I love the atmosphere, very bustling and vibrant, and people are always nice. Vietnam definitely deserved to host this important event, as it is a beautiful and peaceful country, and people are always welcoming towards outsiders.

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