Meanwhile, Hue is now part of a new marketing and brand campaign funded by the European Union. The EU-funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Programme (EU-ESRT) recently announced a joint tourism destination brand for three central coastal localities of Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang and Quang Nam, which is “The Essence of Viet Nam”. Travellers can directly log into www.theessenceofvietnam.com, offering information on the three destinations including about visa regulation, hotels and restaurants as well recommended itineraries.
Hue is probably one of the most beautiful cities to discover in Vietnam, even though it has been kept in the shadow as Danang and Hoi An, its nearby neighbours, gained fame as tourist destinations. However walking along the streets of Hue, with its villas and palaces—it was the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 until the end of Vietnam’s monarchy in 1945—as well as visiting Hue temples and the citadel are among the highlights for travellers here.
The total number of visitors rose steadily over the last 15 years. Hue welcomed some 470,000 to Hue in 2000, including 195,000 foreign travellers. Last year, the former imperial capital welcomed some 2.3 million visitors, including 750,000 international travellers. The city is now working to further improve tourism experience for its visitors. Hue’s citadel and surrounding monuments continue to be part of an important restoration work with support of UNESCO as well as some 50 international companies providing fundings.
Now Hue is going to install an audio guide system in five languages to serve visitors at its attractions. Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Center for Preservation of Hue Former Citadel Relics, declared that audio guides are being planned for major tomb sites and the royal citadel. The system will be developed with private investment and tourists will have to pay to access the guides, apart from entrance tickets. It is however not clear yet when the new service will be launched and which other languages, besides English and French, will be chosen. The Center for Preservation is also going to introduce e-tickets and free Wi-Fi at the sites soon.
Hoi An, Danang and Hue signed an agreement for common tourism promotion back to 2014. Over the past years, the EU-ESRT programme implemented various activities to assist localities to properly develop tourism ressources including the training of travel agencies as well as raising public awareness of responsible tourism for local communities.