Vietnam: Mekong Delta Looks to Awake Night-Time Economy Potential in Line with Global Trend

Developing night-time entertainment in popular urban areas, including dining, boat tours and shopping, can help to boost sustainable development in the Mekong Delta based on the local ecosystem, culture and people.

Associate Prof. Tran Dinh Thien, former director of the Viet Nam Institute of Economics, said developing the night-time economy is an inevitable move that matches the global trend and will generate a new impulse for the national economy.

The night-time economy, which includes entertainment, tourism, culinary services and shopping activities, among others, often develops in populous areas such as urban and tourism-service areas, he noted.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the night-time economy will help maximize benefits from the resources that are not fully used during daytime. In Vietnam, night-time economic activities are mainly shopping, culinary services, and entertainment at trade centers, night markets, wholesale markets, night food streets, but mostly in big cities and developed tourism areas.

Although the night-time economy is expected to bring about new opportunities and momentum for economic growth, many experts said it is now just in the initial stage of development in the Mekong Delta as well as Vietnam at large.

Night-time products and services, including cultural activities, in many localities are not diverse. Some night markets or night streets are not yet well developed. Meanwhile, many services haven’t been properly connected with one another to create truly attractive sightseeing and boat tours for locals and visitors.

Existing culinary spaces just focus on selling foods and drinks instead of giving visitors true experiences to help them learn about the local culture and life via cuisine. Several public arts spaces open during night-time also haven’t received due attention from local authorities.

To effectively boost the night-time economy based on advantages of the whole region and each of its localities, Associate Prof. Pham Tien Dat, Rector of the University of Finance — Marketing, said that Mekong Delta localities should complete development plans to ensure that the potential of this type of economy is fully capitalized on.

He underlined the need to build comprehensive transport infrastructure, apply pilot mechanisms, and issue incentives to attract and facilitate investment in night-time economic activities.

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, from the Institute for Tourism Development Research, noted that each locality should select locations suiting its advantages and the demand of local residents and tourists to organize night-time economic activities, which depend much on tourism development and will help persuade visitors to prolong their stays and increase spending.

A leader of the People’s Committee of Can Tho City said that in efforts to boost trade and services to meet locals and visitors’ shopping and entertainment demands, the administration has released a plan on night-time economy development carried out on a trial basis in Ninh Kieu District — a tourist magnet in the city.

Accordingly, Can Tho will extend the time for night-time entertainment, food, shopping, tourism, cultural, and sports activities until 6 a.m. at certain popular tourist attractions that have favorable conditions for risk management. It will also hold and maintain many pilot models such as the Ninh Kieu pedestrian street, the Ninh Kieu night market, and the Can Tho old market, and connect tourist attractions with river tourism boats operating until 6 a.m.

Meanwhile, the People’s Committee of Ca Mau Province has approved a night-time economy development plan by 2025, with orientations towards 2030. In the short term, it will pilot the extension of night-time services until midnight at some popular tourist sites. Based on that, it will consider expansion to Song Doc Town, Nam Can Town, Dat Mui Commune, and other areas with favorable conditions.