Nasty business: Vietnam’s Little Moscow turns messy, puts tourists off

By Que Ha – H.Linh, Thanh Nien News

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Restaurants take over public spaces in Mui Ne. Photo: H.Linh Restaurants take over public spaces in Mui Ne. Photo: H.Linh

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The resort town of Mui Ne in central Vietnam used to be known for its beautiful beaches and fresh seafood.
Now the place, very popular among Russian tourists, is known for its trash. 
“Mui Ne is now a mess,” said Nguyen Binh, deputy director of a four-star resort in the coastal town, which is often dubbed as Little Moscow. 
Binh said “countless” shops have sprouted up in front of resorts, taking up sidewalks and discharging a large amount of waste at public sites.
“There are long lines of restaurants, massage parlors, bike rent and tour promotion offices,” he said, adding that seafood vendors also gather along the beach. 
Tran Ngoc Them, owner of another resort, suggested that if the authorities cannot simply ask the vendors to leave, they need to be allocated to a certain area and asked to abide by security and hygiene regulations.
While Thanh Nien reporters observe that there has been a large number of new shops and restaurants in Mui Ne recently, it could be too quick for luxury resorts to blame small businesses for the current situation. 
Tran Van Binh, vice chairman of Binh Thuan Province’s Tourism Association, refused to point his finger at anybody, but he conceded that there have been a lot of complaints from tourists about a large amount of trash in the area. 
Binh said his association has also notified the authorities many times but the situation has not improved.
“It will directly affect Mui Ne as a tourism brand,” he said.
A local official said early this month that the authorities spend a lot of money every year collecting trash.
The official blamed “poor awareness” among locals for the persistence of the problem.
Le Nguyen, a tourist from Hanoi, said he just returned to Suoi Tien, an underground stream in the town, for the second time.
But his memories of beautiful scenes were shattered by a dirty and stinky reality.
“I was disappointed. And somehow the managers still felt okay to charge money.” 

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