Located in Quang Binh province, South Central Coastal region of Vietnam, Hoi An is an small town that symbolizes for the Eastern oriental classic captivation. In the early days, Hoi An was known as Faifo or Faifoo, but now its name is basically called as Hoi An Ancient town. Hoi An is known as one of the eight tangible World Heritage sites in Vietnam. In 1999, it was recognized as the Cultural World Heritage site by UNESCO based on two criteria. Firstly, Hoi An is the only traditional commercial port in Asia which is well-preserved until now. Secondly, Hoi An is also a living museum of the fusion of different cultures in an international trading port (center, n.d). In the present days and ages, Hoi An is ranked the 4th in twenty three underrated vacation spots around the world must to go in life or voted as one of the ten best cities to visit by Smarter Travel in USA.
The significant values of Hoi An ancient town in Vietnamese tourism and culture lie in its integrity and authenticity. It is said to be the only town in Viet Nam that has survived intact. Hoi An Ancient Town has retained its original form and function as an outstanding example of a well-preserved traditional South East Asian trading port and commercial centre. It remains completely as a homogenous complex of traditional wooden buildings, with the original organically developed street plan, within the town’s original river/seacoast setting. Thanks to the economic stagnation in Nguyen dynasty, Hoi An ancient town has preserved its original appearance in intact state. As a result of this economic stagnation since the 19th century, it has not suffered from development and there has not been pressure to replace the older wooden buildings with new ones in modern materials. The town is a complex of more than 1412 vestiges, 1305 architectural traditional buildings including ancient houses, community houses, family cult houses, pagodas, and temples made from wooden old brick and a ferry quay and an open market within the town’s original setting. They are old buildings backing onto the river with cultural and historic features demonstrating its outstanding universal values.
These original cultural and historic features demonstrate the town’s outstanding universal value and are present, well-preserved, and evident within the boundary of the inscribed property, even while it continues to be occupied and function as a trading port, as well as a popular tourism destination. This has ensured that the town has retained its traditional urban tissue and is preserved in a remarkably intact state. The traditional lifestyle, religion, customs and cooking has been preserved and many festivals still take place annually.
Moreover, having been an international melting pot of culture and trade, Hoi An features the co-existence of indigenous customs and habits and those imported by foreign settlers. Traders from many nationalities were allowed to settle down, build their businesses and preserve their own customs, which transformed the ancient little trading port into a melting pot for cultures from both East and West, an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international maritime commercial centre. One remarkable example of cultural fusion is the reflection of different architectural styles in Hoi An. The French colonial yellow houses mixed with Chinese temples, Japanese merchant houses, ancient tea houses and some extra western comfort are very fascinating, which attract a huge amount of tourists from every country and culture.
There exists obvious fact that the more precious it is, the more vulnerable Hoi An Ancient town can be as the smallest unconscious action can harm the destination, especially nowadays Hoi An is one of the most famous tourism destinations for visitors to Vietnam, and the most visited town of the country. In the parallel with developing Hoi An as an outstanding tourism spot of Vietnam, serious preservative strategies have been established to conserve the significant values of the town to Vietnamese tourism and culture. Travellers will not miss distinctive tourism offers from Hoi An namely visiting historical classical sites, houses, buildings, temples, bridges; experiencing great festivals such as Full Moon Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival; tasting local delicacies of Cao Lau, Quang noodle, banh xeo, banh bao; simultaneously engaging in eco tourism activities on walking-streets, biking tour around the town, living homestay with local residents. Such green tourism patterns are designed with the aim to help travellers experience the utmost authenticity of Hoi An ancient town, as well as raise the awareness of protecting one of the best intact living evidences of Vietnam’s history.
How well the values of Hoi An can be preserved depends not only on the management and governance of national and local organizations, but on the perspective of every single resident and visitor lives in and comes to the monument. Yet to the prospect so far, the way of doing tourism in this town and more important, the way to have tourism of travellers in Hoi An play crucial role in the sustainability of the most ideally destination in the country.