DUBAI – Vietnam is among the fastest growing destinations in the world in terms of visitor numbers and has been hailed as the World’s Leading Heritage Destination (2019 and 2020) by the World Travel Awards. And the Vietnam Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is sending a strong message about how its traditional, rural past is connected to its forward-thinking future, which targets sustainable economic development.

The pavilion draws visitors in to its open bamboo stage, which amplifies its missive of connection, while serving as an interactive space where visitors can watch musical performances and puppet shows and learn to play traditional instruments.

Hoang Tran, Deputy Commissioner General, Vietnam Pavilion, said: “The whole pavilion is about connectivity, and the stage provides a connection between nature and people, past and present, and tradition and modernity. The stage is 100 per cent bamboo, a Vietnamese material that has historically played an important role in our daily lives, and which also sends a message about our goals for a sustainable future.”

The pavilion hosts daily musical shows, in which performers play instruments unique to Vietnam – including the t’rung, the one-string zither and the k’long put – which Hoang points out are all made from bamboo.

Hoang said: “In Vietnam, we believe there is a spirit inside the instrument that comes out when we play in order to protect and to make people happy, so for us this is not just about making beautiful sounds.”

The mystical, melodious instruments are proving to be a hit with visitors, who can get to grips with them as they try to recreate the ethereal sounds, as Hoang xplained: “We teach them, and we share our music with them, so they can really experience them properly.”

The bamboo also serves as a symbol of both the country’s people and culture, Hoang aid. “Vietnamese people stand up straight in the face of adversity and are resilient. When you cut the bamboo, it regrows, so it is very sustainable. The roots are also very strong and help to protect Vietnam from flooding.”

Vietnam’s youth have picked up the baton and are ensuring that this pivotal material remains a part of the country’s customs.

Hoang said: “Vietnam’s younger generation are very interested in the circular economy and are coming up with many inventive ways to propel it forward. Students have designed sustainable bamboo bikes, which are becoming increasingly popular – TreviBike [‘trevi’ means bamboo in Vietnamese] creates luxury bikes, which can be customised, made from natural bamboo raw material with the aim to create a green lifestyle for everyone.”

With bamboo able to release more than 35 per cent more oxygen than other trees, and absorb three to four times more carbon dioxide, it is not only a lifeline for the environment, but also for Vietnam’s future generations.

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