Hoi An back in the game as pandemic eases

 The ancient town in central Vietnam welcomes visitors from early morning until late night on the first days of the new lunar year.

Visitors stroll along a street in Hoi An on Thursday morning.

Flowers are set up at the park by Hoai River.

A family poses for photos.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the first two days of the new lunar year, around 5,000 people visited the town. Most of them are domestic tourists.

Alleys with yellow walls remain an iconic feature of the ancient town.

Hoi An is in the dry season, which lasts from February until July. These months provide plenty of sunshine with warm temperatures.

Tourists take a cyclo for a sightseeing tour on Chau Thuong Van Street.

Nguyen Ngoc Dung, a visitor from Hanoi, said he joined a group of 10 visiting the town. No group member has traveled in the past year due to Covid-19, and now that everyone has been vaccinated with at least two doses, all decided to take a four-day trip to visit Hoi An and its neighbor Da Nang City during the Tet break.

Customers fill up a street-side cafe.

Tam, its owner, said she has just reopened after shutting down in early May due to Covid-19. However, she said the number of visitors to Hoi An during the Tet break is still lower than prior to the pandemic.

Another coffee shop on Bach Dang Street that looks onto Hoai River.

The streets grow more crowded in the evening.

Visitors watch as an artist carves out bamboo roots.

"Bai choi," a combination of arts including music, poetry, acting, painting and literature boosts recreation, entertainment and socializing within village communities. The art was inscribed on the UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2017 and recognized as Vietnam's national intangible cultural heritage during 2014-2016 by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Quang Nam Province, home to Hoi An, received 335,200 visitors last year, dropping 76 percent against 2020 and 95.4 percent against 2019. The province earned VND464 billion ($20.6 million) in tourism revenue, down 56.7 percent against 2020 and 92.2 percent against 2019.

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