Vietnam 2005. A brand new Animal Park

In 2005 Gaia design was asked to design a brand new Animal Park in Vietnam. To design a new Animal park starting on an empty piece of land is such a positive challenge. Everything is possible: select the right combination of animals, having rest areas and restaurants situated right, make a natural flow for visitors and divide the Animal Park into relevant sections. That really is a positive challenge.

Of course economy is always a limitation and in this case there should be a Vietnamese perspective, meaning small money, but also a perspective with foreign tourism creating big money. Working in Scandinavian Zoos is also about tourism: What do people like, what do they choose and what will they pay for their choice?

It was quite obvious that economy could not be about the entrance-ticket, but had to be connected to some kind of resort possibilities.

The foreign tourism in Vietnam has just started, but the potential is huge. On just have to look at Thailand. Unfortunately the official understanding of what foreign tourists wants is quite strange. The officials expect that people, going all the way to Vietnam, prefer the same kind of boring new-built resorts that one can find in Spain, France or Italy. The point is that like in Italy the most important active is the people theme self and as in Italy the beautiful nature and the food. But also in Italy most of the new-built resorts are boring, without charm or atmosphere. Maybe Kenya is the only place I know where the resorts are interesting and related to the country where they are situated.

Nevertheless I made some research in Italy trying to understand the “rules of attraction” that keep foreigners, like myself, to go back to Italy year after year. No doubt that the beauty of landscapes, villages and houses in Italy is not a coincidence but a result of legislation. A Legislation developed over centuries and now so complicated and slow, that the only Country I know about, where it is worse is Vietnam.

Even the legislation when making constructions are so different in Italy and Vietnam in relation to what I am accustomed to in Northern Europe, the Italian research was a great inspiration and led to work with North Europeans buying houses in Italy.