Hanoi (VNA) – An outright ban on smoking will be imposed in 30 popular tourist destinations in Hanoi under the capital city’s pilot plan to be implemented this month. 

Hanoi’s renowned tourist spots to go smoke-free hinh anh 1The Huc is a small bridge on Hoan Kiem Lake, which connects the bank with a small islet where Ngoc Son Temple is located.(Photo: VNA)

The destinations include famous landmarks such as Ngoc Son Temple, Ba Kieu Temple, Vietnam National Museum of History, Vietnam Museum of Revolution, Quan Su Pagoda, Ba Da Pagoda, Hanoi Opera House, St Joseph's Cathedral and National Library of Vietnam.

The ban will also be applied to a number of hotels and restaurants which will face fines if they don’t clearly display "no smoking" signs.

Addressing a workshop entitled “Deploying a smoke-free tourism model in Hoan Kiem district” held by the district People’s Committee on October 1, Pham Thi Thanh Nhan, head of the district’s Health Office, said the ban would run until the end of the year with ‘no-smoking’ signs already installed at many locations.

Hanoi’s renowned tourist spots to go smoke-free hinh anh 2List of 30 tourist hotspots that the smoking ban is imposed. (Photo: VietnamPlus) 

Anyone caught smoking in prohibited areas will be fined between 100,000 – 300,000 VND (4.3-13 USD).  Restaurants not displaying the ‘no smoking’ signs will be fined between 3-5 million VND (129-216 USD).

In October, after the management boards of the cultural sites sign a commitment on “Smoke-free tourism spots”, the sites will officially become non-smoking tourist destinations.

Nhan said that Hoan Kiem district is home to 190 historical sites and nearly 20 cultural tourist destinations, 311 restaurants and hotels of three stars upwards. Last year, the district hosted over 2.1 million international visitors.

Aiming for a clean tourism environment, the district People’s Committee has carried out the Law on Tobacco Harm Prevention and Control at all restaurants, hotels, accommodation establishments, schools, hospitals and offices in the locality.

Besides, in early 2017, the district People’s Committee approved the “restaurants and hotels ensure food safety and no smoking”, with 109 out of 181 restaurants and hotels joining in between 2017-2018, reaching 60 percent.

In the first eight months of 2019, the district’s inspection groups fined a total 32 million VND for all violation cases.

Luong Ngoc Khue, head of Medical Examination and Treatment Management Department under the Ministry of Health said he welcomed the move.

In Vietnam, it was also previously applied in cities of Hoi An, Nha Trang, Vung Tau and Hue.

Khue added applying the smoke-free model in tourist destinations was a part of the implementation of the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms. The greater significance of the move was applying a humanitarian policy and for public health.

Tobacco use is a major cause of lung diseases, typically lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In Vietnam, the ratio of lung cancer patients who smoke is 96.8 percent. Secondhand smoke also causes lung diseases in children.

Hanoi has been shortlisted for the World’s Leading City Destination at the 2019 World Travel Awards (WTA), providing an excellent opportunity for the Vietnamese capital to promote itself as a safe and friendly destination for both domestic and foreign visitors.

The local tourism sector is calling for locals and tourists to vote for Hanoi at the WTA’s website http://www.worldtravelawards.com/vote, which will end on October 20.

Popular places in Hanoi include Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature and Thang Long Imperial Citadel.

According to the municipal Department of Tourism, the number of foreign visitors to the city increased by approximately 19 percent between 2015 and 2018. They came from over 190 countries and territories in the world.

In 2018, Hanoi welcomed 26.31 million visitors, a year-on-year increase of 10.4 percent. International arrivals reached over 6 million, up 21.3 percent, the department said.

In the first nine months of 2019, Hanoi served more than 21.5 million vacationers, up 9.5 percent against the same period last year, including over 4.7 million foreigners, up over 10 percent.

Tourists from Asian countries account for 60 percent of the international visitors who arrive in Hanoi, followed by Europe at nearly 24 percent, America at 9 percent, Australia at 5.5 percent and Africa at 0.5 percent./.