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Sapa is a famous tourist attraction with the mysterious Mount Fansipan, which piques millions of tourists’ interest every year. However, many domestic & foreign tourists in recent years couldn’t help but feel disappointed in Sapa because it isn’t “the manifestation of heaven itself” as the way online advertisements make the place look like.

The reality is that hotels and restaurants have been sprouting up all over Sapa in a disorganized manner. Roads seem to be quite messy, and the streets are filled with cars. Sapa is losing the inherent serene beauty under the influence of mankind. The consequences of fast tourism are not limited to only the concreting of forests and soil erosion, but also to social areas such as the commercialization of culture, the change in family dynamics, etc. In addition, ethnic minorities are also being forced by the tourism industry to alter their pre-established customs, for they’re deemed 'old-fashioned' or antiquated. A tradition like the “love market” has suffered changes since the 90s as well. The dancing and exchanging activities of the market usually take place on Saturday afternoons, but at present, the “love market” is almost only held for economic purposes, not for the appreciation of traditional cultures. Therefore, many customs have consequently had their long-established (religious) identity gradually sabotaged.

Researcher Linh Nga Nie Kdam expressed deep concerns about the current prevalent situation among many ethnic minorities: The cultural identities of ethnic peoples are wearing out through the passage of time. In other words, if the process of urbanization continues to develop at such a break-neck speed, villages will turn into huge construction sites, and it won't be long before the cultural beauties of the ethnic minorities would only be found in books or museums."

(An excerpt from newspaper)


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