The People's Committee of Hanoi must abolish collecting money as entrance fees at major parks in the inner capital city, the city's People's Council has ruled.

According to the council, some large parks, such as Nghia Do Park in Cau Giay district, Bach Thao Botanical Garden in Ba Dinh district and Reunification Park in Hai Ba Trung district, should be opened to the public and its cement wall removed to allow easier access.

"These parks are public areas that serve people seeking to relax, have fun or exercise, not to make money," said Nguyen Thi Thuy, head of the council's Culture and Society Department.

"City dwellers, especially children and the elderly, have few entertainment places to go to. To open these parks for free means to attract more people to these places and encourage them to pay for other services. Thus, these parks will also be improved and upgraded," she said.

The ruling was made after the council finished a survey on major parks in five districts of the city. Currently, there are more than 60 parks and flower gardens, and most collect entrance fees from tourists.

The ticket price is 2,000 VND (0.09 USD) per person in Nghia Do and Bach Thao Botanical parks, and between 2,000-4,000 VND (0.09-0.19 USD) per person at Reunification Park and Thu Le Zoo.

Tourists also have to spend more for parking places, using toilets and on tickets for different entertainment services inside these parks.

However, many of the parks have failed to attract tourists due to their poor entertainment services with older equipment.

Nguyen Minh Hong, mother of a four-year-old girl in Cau Giay district, said she seldom takes her child to the zoo, although the zoo is only several kilometres from her house.

"My child doesn't like those animals. They look tired, out of energy and always suffer from hunger," she said.

"Lions and tigers are supposed to move around and roar wildly, but they do not in this zoo. Maybe the room is too small for them. What they've done is lying around lazily every time we come," she said.

Nguyen Minh Hung, father of two children in Hoan Kiem district, said he chose to bring his children to Tiny World, an indoor entertainment centre in Xuan Dieu street, after visiting Reunification Park several times.

"There is nothing interesting inside. Worse, they collect money from children, but adults who wear exercise clothes are free to go in," Hung said.

Hoang Kim Hong, director of the Reunification Park One Member Co Ltd, said the money collected from tourists equals about 1.2 billion VND (56,400 USD) each year and is used to maintain the operations of the park, such as paying for security guards and sanitation workers.

According to Hong, the collection of money at entrances also helps prevent some people from committing crimes, and said the number of tourists will increase uncontrollably if the park is opened to the public.

The head of the council's Culture and Society Department said the model of public parks is popular in many countries. Thus, the management board of these parks should find a proper way to control them.-VNA