The visitors were carried on cyclos along the tree-shaded streets around the Imperial Citadel before coming to the village outside the An Hoa gate.
They were amazed to see foreigners wearing jester costumes and a group of artists acting as farmers working on the beds of vegetables.
The festival of this kind, considered the first initiative for green tourism growth in Hue, has soon fallen into oblivion.
Several years later, the people of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam successfully made Tra Que vegetable village a popular destination for foreign visitors.
This was thanks to the local authority’s great support for VND3 billion investment in upgrading infrastructure, training farmers and requesting all travel agencies to include Tra Que village in their tours.
On November 11, 2011 France 2 television channel broadcast its ‘Rendezvous in an Unknown Region’ documentary featuring French rugby star, Frederic Michalak, being blindfolded and taken to Vietnam without his knowledge, making a hit with 7.7 million viewers.
He spent two weeks living with the Black Lo Lo in the northern province of Cao Bang and engaging in all kinds of work like chopping bamboo trees to make fences, cultivating wet rice, ploughing land and feeding buffalos and pigs.
Michalak’s Vietnam experience has made a a large number of foreigners feel an overwhelming desire to visit the Southeast Asian country.
The documentary is considered a valuable lesson for Vietnam to learn how to attract foreign tourists.
In the early 90s, the country was extremely lucky to receive the first wave of foreign visitors wishing to the breathtaking beauty of Ha Long Bay as it was featured in the Oscar-winning film Indochine by French director Regis Wargnier.
No wonder about a video clip recently posted by a Republic of Korea travel agency, which was of much higher quality than those made by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Besides sightseeing, foreign visitors also wish to meet and share first-hand experience with local people about their daily life.
There is no denying that local people involved in promoting traditional culture and customs is a decisive factor behind the success of tourism industry.