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A year in review
Staff Writers
Friday,  Dec 29, 2017,15:20 (GMT+7)

A year in review

Staff Writers

An ao dai performance at the 4th Ao dai (traditional Vietnamese long dress) Festival 2017 in early March - PHOTOS: THANH HOA

As 2017 is coming to an end, let’s look back at the top cultural and entertainment events of the year in HCMC, which have contributed to wooing international tourists to the city.

January

The HCMC Run 2017 - The City Marathon 2017 which was held in mid-January at the Crescent Plaza in District 7 attracted nearly 7,000 people of all ages, professional athletes and sport enthusiasts. The event, which has been organized annually since 2013, was aimed to promote sport and a healthy lifestyle among local and foreign people.

February

Nguyen Hue Flower Street was first opened 15 years ago and has become one of the key cultural and tourism events in the city during the traditional Lunar New Year, or Tet, as it has attracted thousands of people, including foreign tourists, a day.

Organized by the city government in conjunction with Saigontourist Holding Company, the country’s leading tourism services provider, the 2017 flower street with its theme “A city named after President Ho Chi Minh – a glorious inspiration” featured more than 110,000 baskets of flowers from farms in Dalat City and a couple of giant chickens and many chicks to symbolize the Year of the Rooster.

Tourists are seen in Bui Vien pedestrian-only street which was inaugurated in August this year

Given the success of the previous editions, Saigontourist has once again been assigned by the municipal government to organize the 2018 flower street, scheduled to open at 7 p.m. on February 13. It will feature flowers and giant statues of dogs inspired by Phu Quoc ridgeback dogs, a breed from Phu Quoc Island off the southern province of Kien Giang.

March

Known as one of the annual cultural events held in early March, the 4th Ao dai (traditional Vietnamese long dress) Festival 2017 was lauded by locals and foreigners alike. The event took place in Nguyen Hue pedestrian square.

This festival comprised an ao dai parade by over 3,000 youths, and an ao dai contest with 200 contestants attending, apart from a photo contest, an ao dai exhibition, and an ao dai drawing contest.

April

A large-scale music performance was organized next to the Statue of President Ho Chi Minh in front of the City Hall in Nguyen Hue pedestrian square to mark the 42nd anniversary of Vietnam Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labor Day (May 1).

May

Since May this year, Nguyen Hue pedestrian square has become a perfect choice for weekend entertainment as the city government decided to hold street art performances on Saturdays and Sundays on Nguyen Hue Boulevard, which is now the pedestrian-only square.

The public performances were organized on a weekly basis, except days on which the city held major events. It was really a thrilling experience for pedestrians as they could watch magic shows, music programs, musical instrument performances and dances.

According to a source from the Department of Tourism, more than 20,000 revelers and those from abroad descended to the pedestrian street to admire street art shows on weekends over the past seven months since the first performance began on May 13.

Visitors take a walk in Nguyen Hue pedestrian square to join activities within the framework of the HCMC-Gyeongju World Cultural Festival 2017

June

The annual Southern Fruit Festival, one of the most striking cultural events in the city, took place from June 1 to 11 at Suoi Tien Park in District 9 and captured the attention of many tourists at home and abroad.

The festival featured the unique cultural traits of the southern region, such as images of bamboo, folk music and ao ba ba (a type of shirt worn by southerners).

July

Popular showbiz artists including Ha Anh Tuan, Thanh Bui, Duc Tuan, Tien Tien and Vu Cat Tuong showed up at the bustling pedestrian square on Nguyen Hue Boulevard to stage a music performance to honor the beauty of the city.

The event themed “My beloved city” was meant to celebrate the 41st anniversary of Saigon-Gia Dinh being named after Vietnam’s late President Ho Chi Minh (July 2, 1976-2017).

August

Two years after the city’s first pedestrian square came into operation, Bui Vien Street in the backpacker’s area in District 1 was turned into a pedestrian-only one on August 20, thus creating a new venue for weekend activities for locals and foreigners.

The pedestrian-only street is off-limits to vehicle traffic from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Apart from dining and lodging services, visitors can watch art shows from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The city is preparing to develop De Tham and Do Quang Dau streets into pedestrian-only areas during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday 2018, which falls in mid-February, to spur tourism. 

September

ASEAN Village, a cultural festival in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the 22nd anniversary of Vietnam’s accession to  the regional grouping, happened in late September.

October

The Five Continents Food Festival – World Food 2017 received applause from food connoisseurs, chefs, and international gourmets at Hoa Lu Stadium in District 1, HCMC.

The four-day festival which was held for the first time in the city in early October featured more than 150 stalls of nearly 170 domestic and foreign enterprises at the 10,000-square-meter venue where diners could savor a variety of delicious Asian and Western dishes, and watch cooking shows, bartender performances and music performances.

November

The HCMC-Gyeongju World Cultural Festival 2017 lasted for 23 days from November 11 to December 3 at some of the city’s famous sites, featuring a variety of cultural exchanges between Vietnam and South Korea.

The festival consisted of art performances, fashion shows, film screenings, sporting events, art exhibition and other cultural exchange activities in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and South Korea.

December

December marked an important milestone of the city’s tourism sector as the six-millionth international visitor to HCMC was Australian David Michener. He was greeted with flowers and a Vietnam Airlines business class voucher from the city’s Tourism Department.

Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the HCMC Department of Tourism, told the Daily at a recent meeting that the city hopes to receive a total of 6.3 million foreign visitors this year, a 23% increase from the year earlier. In addition, the city is striving to welcome around 7.5 million to 8 million international tourists next year. 

International tourist arrivals to HCMC in the first 11 months of 2017 totaled 5.7 million, a pickup of 24% against the year-earlier period. Tourism revenue was over VND105.2 trillion (about US$4.6 billion), a year-on-year rise of 12.8%.

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