Hanoi lifts midnight curfew to woo more tourists

US President Barack Obama and travel personality Anthony Bourdain enjoying a couple of beers in Hanoi during a visit in June. Pic: manhhai/flickr

IN a bid to attract more tourists, Hanoi is taking steps to lift its midnight curfew on bars, cafés, restaurants and nightclubs.

Hanoi municipal chairman Nguyễn Đức Chung said that the changes will “let tourists have more fun”, and was a step forward towards meeting the city’s tourism promotion goals.

Do Dinh Hong, director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism, said that early closing “leaves many visitors unsatisfied with Vietnam’s nightlife, especially young tourists” and “causes tourism in Hanoi and Vietnam to become monotonous and inert compared to other cities in the region, such as Bangkok, Singapore, Manila.”

Hong said he’s aware that extending the mandatory closing time past midnight might allow for an influx of undesirable activities, but still believes that the decision will have an overall positive effect on tourism.

Ogbu Benneth Chima, a student based in Hanoi, said that compared to Thailand’s 55 percent, Vietnam only has a return rate of five percent. The lifting of the curfew will contribute to Hanoi’s nightlife scene, thus adding value for international tourists.

However, Hanoi resident Cameron Lucy wasn’t as agreeable, saying that “Hanoi is slowly becoming more like Bangkok which is a bad thing. If people want to party all night, Hanoi is not the place”.

“Bangkok is full of fast food places and convenience stores, the streets are crowded overnight with drunk people which means that there are many pickpockets and prostitutes there.”

The lifting of the curfew will be implemented based on area and location to ensure civility and avoid disruption to the daily routines of locals. At the moment, only restaurants and bars in top hotels are permitted to operate till 2am.

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In other news, Da Nang could carry out a ban on alcohol sales after 10pm to “ensure social order”, and to reduce the number of traffic accidents.