VIR talks with Vinh Phuc Information and Tourism Promotion Centre director Duong Quang Ung about these ambitious targets.
Abounding with scores of picturesque landscapes and historical sites Vinh Phuc is seen as a fertile land for tourism development. Could you shed some light on this?
First and foremost, Vinh Phuc boasts a strategic position which adjoins Hanoi and it is near Noi Bai International Airport. The province also has the passage of arterial roads such as National Highway 2A and the Hanoi-Lao Cai-Yunnan railway.
Particularly, in the near future the trans-Asia road and the Kunming-Hanoi-Haiphong expressway will go across the province, creating an impetus to spur economic cooperation and development as well as cultural exchanges among countries and territories in the Mekong Subregion.
Transport conveniences will significantly bolster the province’s tourism and services development.
Second, geographically Vinh Phuc features highlands, midlands and plain terrain with extremely diversified lake, river and stream systems and scenic natural charms which are ideal locations for relaxation and refreshment. They are Tam Dao, Dai Lai and Tay Thien tourist sites.
Third, Vinh Phuc has bountiful tangible and intangible cultural values through nearly 1,000 relics such as Ha Tien Pagoda, Binh Son Tower, Huong Canh Temple, Hai Ba Trung Temple and Dong Dau archeological site. Visitors will also be fascinated with local traditional feasts, peculiar crafts, melodious folk songs, traditional popular games as well as tasteful local dishes.
Fourth, in recent years more investments were poured into ameliorating the province’s tourism and service infrastructure, ranging from postal and banking system to hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities, alongside rapid economic development. This is a catalyst to lift services development in the province.
Vinh Phuc’s tourism sector has experienced a turnaround which was reflected through the number of visitors and the sector’s total revenue in the past few years. What are major achievements?
In recent few years, Vinh Phuc has planned and deployed scores of tourism infrastructure development projects with investment capital taken from the state coffers to build roads, water supply and sewer systems and improve public lighting systems.
Apart from this, the province has magnified efforts to woo investments into tourism infrastructure and services facilities. In 2010, investments from province-based firms rose 150 per cent compared to 2009’s, mainly focusing on infrastructure development, hotels, holiday homes and golf courses, creating a facelift to the tourism industry.
Particularly, the building of a 2.5 kilometre long cable car system costing VND258 billion ($12.9 million) at Tay Thien cultural and festival site developed by the Lac Hong Investment Joint Stock Company is on the development progress.
According to statistics, Vinh Phuc is currently home to 152 tourism facilities, including 50 hotels with 2,650 rooms to satisfy visitors’ need.
With proper investments, the province’s tourism sector has been developing phenomenally in the recent years and attracted an ever-increasing number of visitors. In 2005, the province welcomed 986,000 visitors of whom 18,500 were foreigners.
The figures climbed to nearly two million visitors and 26,500 foreigners in 2010, respectively. The province raked in VND757.6 billion ($37.88 million) in tourism revenue last year, jumping 12 per cent against 2009.
Some said the local tourism sector had not developed on par with its prevailing potential and advantages. Is it true?
The tourism sector is still facing multiple challenges. For example, the demand for capital from tourism projects is enormous, far exceeding actual investments from the private business community and the state budget every year. Besides, tourism infrastructure has lagged behind growing development requirements.
In addition, the local tourism human resources are skill-strapped and technical infrastructure, particularly hotels, entertainment facilities and tourism services remains poor. Tourism offerings are limited with peculiar tour packages almost absent. Travel activities are underdeveloped with a single business offering outbound tours in the whole province currently.
Last but not least, the province’s tourism sector is yet to establish effective linkages with other localities’, particularly in promoting waterway tourism.
What are Vinh Phuc’s 2011 tourism development targets as well as solutions to spur growth?
Following the province’s the 15th Party Resolution, Vinh Phuc continues to push up socio-economic development, gradually raise service quality and take tourism as a development spearhead.
Great efforts will be made to further ameliorate local investment climate, effectively handle compensation and site clearance and woo investments from different sources into tourism development.
The province is set to promote investments into building tourism infrastructure with priority given to developing a sewer system at Tam Dao resort (second phase) in Tam Dao district, building Dam Vac spillway in Vinh Yen city and a road connecting to Thanh Lanh Lake in Binh Xuyen district. In the meantime, around VND300 billion ($15 million) will be pumped into golf courses, holiday homes, villas and hotels with investment capital from the private sector.
In respect to business targets, the province strives to attract nearly 2.2 million tourists with 27,800 foreigners and generate revenue of around VND847.7 billion ($42.3 million) from tourism, hotel and restaurant services in 2011. The revenue figure is expected to hit VND2.1 trillion ($105 million) by 2015 and VND3.5 trillion ($175 million) by 2020, respectively.
To make these goals come true, the province will come up with a raft of measures.
Firstly, efforts will be made to check up and draw detailed planning of pivotal tourism sites to effectively utilise state investments earmarked for tourism infrastructure, call for further private investments into the local tourism sector with emphasis placed on building four to five-star hotels as well as high-end resorts and entertainment facilities.
Particularly the province welcomes investments into promoting Dam Vac tourism, upgrading the Minh Quang-Thanh Lanh route and building Tay Thien cultural and festival site in Tam Dao district to lure visitors.
Besides, local authorities will take an iron hand on delayed tourism projects, particularly those at Tam Dao resort and timely introduce a tourism master planning and incentive policies so as to encourage investments from the private sector into the local tourism development.
The Tay Thien Cultural and Festival Site
Just an hour drive from Hanoi, Tay Thien is one of most appealing tourism venues in northern Vinh Phuc province. The construction of 163 hectare Tay Thien cultural and festival site with a 2.5km cable car system was launched in late 2009 at a cost exceeding VND540 billion ($27.5 million). The project developer is Lac Hong Investment Joint Stock Company.Some essential parts of the site and the modern cable car system are expected to be ready for use in early 2012, creating a captivating spiritual, cultural and tourism complex in the province which bears the unique stamps of Vietnam’s Buddhism culture.