The costly "game” with Ha Long Bay

Published: 09/04/2009 05:00



Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Tran Chien Thang.

Will Vietnam benefit if Ha Long Bay is voted as one of the seven new world natural wonders, as it has already twice been recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage?

On the occasion of the Republic of Korea Embassy and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism opening a showroom at the Hanoi Daewoo Hotel to promote the image of Ha Long Bay in support of its race to become one of the seven new world wonders, VietNamNet talked with Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Tran Chien Thang, who is also the Chief of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, about current developments in the selection.

It is said that the vote for Ha Long Bay as a new world natural heritage is too expensive while it is uncertain whether it can enter the top 21 landscapes or not, which will be announced on July 1, 2009. What do you think about this opinion?

I don’t know how expensive it is, but it is not costly at all if each person spends a very little time to vote for Ha Long Bay on the computer.

Some say that voting for Ha Long Bay is costly, but I don’t know what to compare it to to say that it is expensive. Honouring a Vietnamese natural heritage is inestimable.

Ha Long Bay has been recognised by UNESCO twice. This time we are calling for people to vote for it as a natural heritage of the world, but the selection is being held by a private organisation. It is said that this honour is unnecessary. Do you think that this comment is true?

I see young people are very keen on a Guinness record that was made by the owner of a beer restaurant. I don’t know whether I should compare it to New7wonders’ selection of the world natural wonders, but at least there is one who launched the selection and is advertising our heritage, so we should not refuse.

If we compare the case of Ha Long Bay to a girl who was a winner in international pageants and now she is trying to win a small beauty contest — is it worthy of her?

By April 8 noon, Ha Long ranked third among 77 candidates.

Each game has its own characteristics and approach so I don’t think that we can compare this with that. Cultural and scientific agencies evaluate heritages based on their scientific values but here they focus on attractiveness.

You many study well though you are unattractive. You may be a professor or a doctor, but you may not be handsome. You may win a national beauty contest, but perhaps in your village, there is somebody who is more beautiful than you but she didn’t participate in the national contest.

So each game has its own approach and if it helps to advertise our landscapes while we only need to just click on the computer, we should do it.

Do you have specific data about the influence of the selection on Ha Long Bay?

The number of votes for Ha Long Bay is never made public. Quang Ninh province officially reported that since the selection was launched, the number of international visitors coming to the bay has increased sharply. I don’t have specific figures, but the growth is at least 30%.

Do you believe that Ha Long Bay will be listed among the top 21 natural wonders that will be named on July 1, before the last seven names are announced?

I believe it will happen if all of us vote for Ha Long Bay. Every country tries to call for people to vote for itself, of course!

Many companies have funded the campaign calling for voting for Ha Long Bay as a new world natural wonder, including big groups like the Electricity of Vietnam Group, the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, Vietnam Airlines, and South Korea’s Kumho Asiana Group.

After Ha Long Bay was rejected from the list of nominees of the selection of seven new world natural wonders on April 14, 2008, the New7wonders organisation asked organisations advertising for the selection for Ha Long Bay to pay $2,500-5,000 per month.

According to Alexa, a prestigious address for the ranking of websites in the world, the new7wonders website was in 15,703rd position by 3.30, April 8, and ranked 7,407th for the number of visitors among websites in Vietnam.

Bich Hanh

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Let’s vote for Ha Long Bay!

“Let’s Vote for Ha Long” campaign meaningful, anyway

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