Authorities in the mountain resort town of Sa Pa have ordered the closure of an unlicensed tourist area that installed a controversial replica of the U.S.’s Statue of Liberty.
Vuong Trinh Quoc, chairman of the town people’s committee, on Wednesday said Check-in An Sa Pa must be closed “because it has not been certified as a tourist destination” and some of its the works, including the replica of the statue, “do not meet regulatory and aesthetic requirements”.
“The project must be in line with the town’s tourism planning and in harmony with the image of the town as a whole. Even if it is built inside a private area, it cannot be like that.”
Sa Pa in Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam is a famous tourist attraction with ethnic culture, beautiful mountains and terraced rice fields.
The Statue of Liberty in Check-in An Sapa, an unlicensed tourism complex in Sa Pa Town, April 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Local agencies are studying the provisions of the Construction Law, Land Law, regulations instituted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and copyright laws to decide if they could issue a license for Check-in An Sapa.
Nguyen Ngoc Dong, director of An Sapa Co. Ltd., the owner of the tourist site, said the purpose of making replicas of famous statues and world wonders is to provide tourists with impressive images for photos.
“The statue met with online backlash after a photo was posted during the Lunar New Year holiday (in February) when it was still under construction. It was not finished until March,” Dong added.
The company is completing procedures at the request of the local authority to seek a license.
The statue has been the butt of jokes online in recent days.
One reader wrote to VnExpress saying: “The statue looks like it had a failed plastic surgery.” Another wrote, “Just the sight of it is funny.”
Check-in An Sapa is over 1.7 hectares in area. It had been operated since the end of 2020 without a license.
The area also has replicas of the Eiffel Tower in France, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy and Mount Rushmore in the U.S.
Sa Pa is famed for its beautiful terraced rice fields. Photo by VnExpress/Ngan Duong.