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The first Bản Giốc Waterfall Tourism Festival 2017: Sustainable tourism development in association with solid national security and defense


   Recently, the first Bản Giốc Waterfall Tourism Festival and Then folklore singing - Tinh gourd lute festival in 2017 took place in 2 days of October 7 - 8, attracting nearly 10 thousand visits by tourists. The first tourism festival was held in Trung Khanh district and was a series of events aimed at promoting tourism and attracting more and more tourists to the locality. To better understand the results of the Festival, as well as orientations for development of tourism and exploitation of the potentials and strengths of the locality, the Vietnam Environment Administration Magazine (VEM) has a conversation with Vice Chairman of the Trung Khanh District People’s Committee Nguyen Manh Hung.

Mr. Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng
Vice Chairman of Trung Khanh District People's Committee

   VEM: Could you please tell us the idea of organizing the first Bản Giốc waterfall tourism festival and the Then folklore singing - Tinh gourd lute festival in 2017?

   Mr. Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng: Implementing the Action Program of the District Party Committee on tourism development in the period 2015 - 2020, the People's Committee of Trung Khanh district has pro-actively drafted the Plan on organizing the festival.

   After being approved by the provincial People’s Committee and putting the Festival program into the Program of 5 Major Provincial Events in 2017, the task was assigned to Trung Khanh district to coordinate with the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to organize the first Then folklore singing and Tinh gourd lute festival of Cao Bang province as a joint event of the whole province. Based on that, the District People's Committee has issued the Plan on the festival preparation, and at the same time advised the District Party Committee to issue a Decision establishing the Steering Committee to direct the preparation of the festival.

   Bản Giốc Waterfall tourism festival is held concurrently with the Then folklore singing and Tinh gourd lute festival of the whole province in order to honor, preserve and develop the special folklore art forms of the Tay - Nung ethnic groups. This is also an opportunity to meet, exchange experiences between regions; to raise, honor, develop folk songs, folk dance and sports of different ethnic groups; to educate patriotism and national pride tradition. “The festival is also an opportunity to promote tourism development of the province; to attract investment, promote border trading activities; to contribute to strengthening of international neighboring relations, promoting the process of gradually - extended and sustainable international integration of the district."

   VEM: Could you please tell me some of the main results of this festival?

   Mr. Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng: It can be said, the Festival was successful beyond the expectation of the Organizing Committee. Accordingly, the Festival attracted nearly 10,000 participants and 13 public art troupes (13 districts/cities in the province) with a large number of ethnic minorities joining in the Then folklore singing and Tinh gourd lute festival. 

   The festival is divided into 2 main sections: The ceremony was held at Phat Tich pagoda at Truc Lam, Bản Giốc with rituals such as: The sacred water procession from the Bản Giốc waterfall to the Pagoda, the national peace blessing ceremony, expressing the sincere respect, gratitude to the founders of the nation, heroic martyrs, etc.  And the festival is the program of entertainment opening the festival with the activities of dragon dance, lion dance, folk games, traditional sports, local tourism products, local specialties introduction, photo exhibitions, introducing newly discovered landscapes, etc. for tourists to explore and discover. All activities are simultaneously organized at multiple locations in Bản Giốc Waterfall Tourist Area.

   Especially, this year's Festival has an International cultural exchange program between Trung Khanh district (Việt Nam) and Tinh Tay and Dai Tan districts (China), in order to promote cultural knowledge and exchanges among people to strengthen the solidarity between the two border regions, as well as between the 2 neighboring countries.

Performers are honored at the first Bản Giốc Waterfall Tourism Festival and Then folklore singing and Tinh gourd lute festival in 2017

   VEM: Please tell us the plan on preparing the festival in the coming years?

   Mr. Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng: As a result of the success of this festival, the Festival Organizing Committee proposes to Cao Bang province leaders to put in the province’s plan to organize the annual festival of the district in October (ripe rice season, chestnut season) at Bản Giốc waterfall, Trung Khanh district.

   If the Provincial People’s Committee approves to put the festival into the Annual festival program of the province and the district, the People’s Committee of Trung Khanh district will continue to advise and develop plans to organize the festival every year with its own characteristics. Moreover, it is an opportunity to make tourists know more about Bản Giốc Waterfall and other outstanding tourist attractions of Cao Bang province, in general, and Trung Khanh district, in particular.

   With the advantages of local tourism development potential, Trung Khanh district is determined to develop tourism as an important economic sector of the district in the coming years, and to make Trung Khanh district become the highlighted spot for tourism development of Cao Bang province.

Rituals of the sacred water procession from Bản Giốc waterfall to the Pagoda

   VEM: Through this festival, has Trung Khanh district had the orientation to develop tourism and exploit the potential advantages of the locality in the future?

   Mr. Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng: The orientation for tourism development in the locality has initially achieved certain results: The management has been strengthened; the international cooperation activities for tourism development have been promoted; the tourism promotion continues to be carried out more extensively; and the number of tourists has increased sharply compared to previous years.

   The target is to develop high quality tourism products and services in Trung Khanh district, from which, to develop the key tourism route of Cao Bang province and to become special tours products with high attractiveness to tourists. At the same time, to develop sustainable tourism with high socio-economic efficiency in association with solid security and national defense; to diversify tourism products, extend tourists' length of stay, and increase the business efficiency and attractiveness of Trung Khanh district tourism. To promote the tradition of national cultural identity, embellish and preserve cultural and historical relics and environmental landscapes, contributing to promoting the development of tourism.

   Step by step to raise the professionalism in the management and operation of tourist spots in order to improve the quality, and diversify tourism products; specifically, to pay attention to the development of local cultural products and specialties to attract tourists.

   Particularly, attention should be paid to the management and monitoring of the environment, especially the maintenance ecological environment and tourism resources hygiene, so as not to cause incidents of environmental pollution at tourist spots.

   VEM: Thank you!

Trung Khanh District of Cao Bang province is blessed with ideal climate conditions, poetic natural landscapes such as: Bản Giốc waterfall and Nguom Ngao cave, which have been ranked as National Landscapes.

About 20 km northeast from the center of Trung Khanh district, Bản Giốc waterfall is in Dam Thuy commune, Trung Khanh district, Cao Bang province, and is the natural border of Việt Nam and China. With a width of about 208m and a height of 60 - 70m, Bản Giốc waterfall is classified as the fourth largest border waterfall in the world, following some famous waterfalls such as: Niagara Falls between Canada and the United States; Victoria Falls between Zambia-Zimbabwe and Iguazu Falls between Brazil - Argentina. 

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