Thai Nguyen builds tourism on nature and heritage

On top of the traditional natural beauty of northern Vietnam, Thai Nguyen province’s unique landscapes surround a national spirit which resides in numerous historic sites and cultural legacies. Together, these hold the promise to make Thai Nguyen tourism a spearhead economy of the province.

Thai Nguyen’s natural tourism starts with Nui Coc Lake, but the province offers much more as well

When thinking about Thai Nguyen, green tea hills usually come to mind, as does the historic site ATK Dinh Hoa, an important site in the revolution against the French in the period from 1947-1954, and the celebrated Nui Coc Lake.

But the province has much more to offer. Thai Nguyen has developed cultural initiatives to boost tourism, such as the Thai Nguyen Tourism Season 2017, with the theme of “Destination of Vietnamese ethnic groups”; the Thai Nguyen Tea Festival, which is held once every two years; and many other festivals in outlying districts.

In addition to Nui Coc Lake, Thai Nguyen has many other natural landmarks. Phoenix Cave – Chicken Beak Stream is a famous landscape in Vo Nhai district, 45 kilometres away from the centre of Thai Nguyen. Phoenix Cave, which rises 500 metres higher than sea level, is a huge cave with three floors. Inside the cave, on the walls, there are numerous natural stalactites with the shapes of elephants worshipping the king, a mother holding her baby, a female dancer, and unicorns. At the foot of Phoenix Cave is Chicken Beak Stream, a stream of crystal cool water, which flows down from a two-metre height onto large stones below.

Phoenix Cave – Chicken Beak Stream was recognised as a national landscape and relic, making for another must-see destination on the Thai Nguyen tourist’s list.

Cua Tu, which translates to “death gate”, promises to attract visitors from the moment they hear its name. In Cua Tu, cliffs and white water runoffs combine to make for a beautiful and challenging landscape among the pristine mountains and forests of Thai Nguyen.

The name Cua Tu originates from a legend about faithful couples who are willing to overcome all difficulties to be together. Cua Tu is a perfect place for those who love adventures and exploration.

Besides for luring strategic investors into tourism development projects, Thai Nguyen focuses on community-based tourism, a model in which local people contribute to the success of the tourism industry.

In the ceremony on the announcement of the master plan for developing tourism around Nui Coc Lake by 2025, with a vision to 2030, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said, “Without the solidarity of local residents, and the support to enhance their physical and spiritual lives, community-based tourism cannot develop. As such, it will be more difficult to sustainably develop tourism, whether projects are at the national level or not.”

Thanks to the efforts of the authorities and local people, in the first half of 2017, Thai Nguyen welcomed more than one million visitors, an increase of 20 per cent on-year. In the first half, 387,600 visitors stayed overnight, an increase of 11 per cent on-year; 48,000 visitors were served by tourism companies, an increase of 0.5 per cent; 636,000 visitors visited tourist attractions, an increase of 27 per cent; and 25,000 visitors came from foreign countries, an increase of 11 per cent. Total revenue of the tourism sector in the first six months of 2017 was nearly VND155 billion ($6.82 million), an increase of 25 per cent compared to the same period last year.

In 2017, Thai Nguyen’s target is to welcome 8-10 per cent more tourists than in 2016. Of the total, international visitors are expected to increase by 7 per cent, while revenue of the tourism sector is hoped to increase by 12-15 per cent. To reach these targets as well as other long-term goals, Thai Nguyen tourism has promoted investment into its tourism industry through its tourism and entertainment sites, resorts, and accommodations, to meet the rising needs of domestic and international visitors.

Thai Nguyen is also putting effort into advertising campaigns and the training of its tourism workforce, hoping to build more tourism momentum through positive word-of-mouth.

By Trang Vu