YVONNE EPPS WRITES – What do police patrols, food, and WiFi have in common? No, it’s not cops eating donuts while browsing Tumblr on their smartphones, but rather Vietnam’s obsession with tourism.

From promoting the country as the “kitchen of the world” to protecting tourists from robbers, Vietnam is concerned about its tourism. But is it too much?

By now, most card-carrying yuppies around the globe have enjoyed a bowl of pho, Vietnamese rice noodles in a beef or chicken broth. But Vietnam wants to combat that narrow view of its cuisine by using tourism to introduce visitors to a range of food from royal cuisine to street fare.

While food connoisseurs like Martha Stewart are praised for their adventurous tastes, Vietnam officials want regular old tourists to dive in with the same enthusiasm. As the “kitchen of the world,” this kitchen wants to be nothing but the world for these tourists.

In addition to upping the ante  in its food scene, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered the stationing of patrol teams in tourist attractions to protect visitors. Employees of the Ministry of Public Security, along with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism are expected to learn foreign languages, provide assistance centers, and punish loiters and potential thieves.

In my previous Free Wi-Fi, but a Wired Outcome article, Hue City is finally getting free Wi-Fi for a 6 month pilot period in addition to these expected public services. Its visitors and locals will enjoy the WiFi until the end of the pilot, where possible, but no free additions will be available. As I mentioned previously, the locals do not benefit directly, but as a third wheel to the country’s date with tourism. It’s a steep price to share the beauty that is Vietnam, but it isn’t for naught, right? The protection and assistance of foreigners is admirable, but could tourism have a hidden agenda?

Vietnam’s preoccupation with tourism will never get old, but I think it’s about time the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism should be obsessed with two other things: one starts with a C and the other with an S.

For more information, please visit:

http://vietnamnews.vn/society/244596/pm-orders-police-patrols-for-tourists.html

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/travel/81187/vietnam-vows-to-attract-tourists-as-the–kitchen-of-the-world-.html

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/travel/81650/pictures-of-vietnam-cuisines-on-american-magazine.html

http://vietnamnews.vn/society/244863/hue-provides-free-wifi-services.html

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