A Portrait of Hoi An
Today I would like to talk a bit about my research destination, Hoi An in order to provide an insight to the fascinating and struggling character of Hoi An.
Hoi An, received Unesco world heritage status in 1999 due to its distinctive architecture especially in the Old Town. I was astonished by the beauty of Hoi An. At first it reminded me to a romantic village at the French Atlantic coast but as time passed by Hoi An developed its own charm. Sitting in the tiny family-owned waterfront restaurant and eating Cao Lau and Spring rolls during sunset is quite amazing as well as a morning walk, which means to get up at least at five and to take a walk to the central market which is not yet flooded with tourists but remains to its original use as trading hub for fishermen who just come in with their trawlers bringing the catch from last night. Afterwards it is wise to wander through the narrow streets avoiding the stream of tourists and sellers but instead focus on the architecture of the city which can be much better experienced like this.
Hoi An has a reputation for qualitative good tailor-made clothing at considerably cheap prices which mirrors in the amount of tailors that can be found in the city. The figures are set at around 400 different tailor shops and the competition is huge. Looking at this amount of tailors I am actually wondering how trustworthy the reputation as a tailor city at good conditions is. Sometimes it seems as if Hoi An just consists of tailors which is in my opinion a negative impression. The focus on tailors let the city appear/appeal artifical and anyhow let the amazing architecture become a side product.
Anyways this development can also be seen as a negative impact of tourism. Since tourists often come for tailoring reasons many inhabitants see the chance of making a living in opening a tailor shop. I think governmental restrictions would improve the city image but anyways that’s not my decision to make.
I have been staying in Hoi An for almost eight days. Since it was my group’s research area and we decided to stay in the centre of the city I had quite a lot of time to get a feeling for the city and its inhabitants. Though it was a nice time in Hoi An I have to say that I would not stay longer than 4 days if I was a tourist. Hoi An is nice and impressive but also a small-scale town which has been discovered more or less discovered within one day.
Some of you might wonder with what kind of research assignment NHTV entrusted us. In groups of nine students we all were responsible for different identified areas within Hoi An. Hoi An market, my group’s chosen area of research is located in the city centre of Hoi An and there was a lot going on. It was one of the livelier indentified areas within Hoi An. Other groups were asked to research far more remote areas such as Cam Nam Island.
During the time of research we mainly had to observe, interview and collect information which could be useful to get an insight of the area and its functions, people and its historic development with regard to tourism. Being on the field we began writing a Destination Analysis which lasted until previous week. It gives the commissioner, in this particular case my university an insight into the researched destination area in order to measure if an involvement is beneficial or any other contribution fits the commissioner’s perspectives. Suchlike analyses are a perfect example of what you can expect after graduating as International Tourism Consultant and applying for a job in a tourism consultancy firm.