The administration of Hoi An, the popular tourist city in the central province of Quang Nam, is preparing a code of conduct for tourists, having previously issued a set of rules and recommendations to residents and vendors inside the famous ancient town.
The code of conduct for residents and business owners in Hoi An Ancient Town, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999, has been promulgated via a leaflet distributed to local residents and vendors earlier this year.
The document consists of a list of do’s and don’ts as well as various prohibitions for vendors and service providers. All are aimed at preserving the valuable architecture and culture of a busy regional trading port that dates back to the 15th century.
For example, vendors inside the ancient town are advised to use environmentally friendly and traditional materials to decorate their place of business and to behave in a friendly and polite manner toward customers and tourists.
Service providers should not occupy pavements or even the streets to display their goods, or use overly bright signs.
As for the prohibitions, the city’s administration has banned all begging and dishonest business activities inside the ancient town.
Hoi An authorities are also preparing a similar code of conduct for foreigners, at a time when some international visitors have behaved inappropriately at the World Heritage site.
“Many tourists wear skimpy clothes when walking around the ancient town or even while visiting temples and pagodas,” Hoi An chairman Nguyen Van Dung told the local Quang Nam newspaper.
Dung said such visitors will be reminded of the proper dress code at these attractions, as “Hoi An has to protect its culture rather than trade it purely for economic growth.”
Quang Nam has reported an average growth in tourism numbers of 12 percent annually since 2000, according to Quang Nam newspaper.
The central province welcomed 3.85 million visitors in 2015, and 3.3 million in the Jan-Sep period this year. Tourist arrivals in the nine month period rose 11 percent on a year earlier, adding some VND2.3 trillion ($102.68 million) into the province’s budget, according to the newspaper.
The Hoi An administration is one step ahead of their superiors in provincial administration, as an official code of conduct for tourists at the province-level remains on paper only.
“We have to wait for an amendment to the law on tourism to be released,” Dinh Hai, director of the provincial tourism department, said.
Any regulations or sanctions to be established in the code of conduct must be in line with those of tourism law, which is being amended, he explained.
“My stance is that we should not be hasty, but rather wait until the National Assembly approves the amended tourism law,” he said.