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|Investors are beginning to look away from other major locations and seek new pastures (Photo: Le Toan)|
Traditional property investors have been investing in Binh Thuan for many years. Among them, Rang Dong Group boasts a range of projects such as Ocean Vista, Sealink Resort, and Ocean Dunes, while Viet Uc Trade and Investment JSC has Aloha Beach Village to its name.
Currently, the majority of ‘golden land areas’ for resorts and other holiday developments have been occupied already – not only in Mui Ne, the heart of the province, but expanding to other neighbouring areas such as Ke Ga cape, La Gi town, and Thang Hai district. Many major companies have already made a mark in the province, such as Hung Thinh, Novaland Group, Nam Group, TTC, Hung Loc Phat, and DRH Holdings.
In particular, Novaland, previously more known for being the developer of many residential projects in Ho Chi Minh City, is investing around VND6 trillion ($260 million) into their NovaHills project. Located across more than 40 hectares, NovaHills will offer more than 600 five-star villas by the end of this year.
Along with that, the group is also investing in the largest-ever property project in Binh Thuan, Nova World Phan Thiet, which is to cover more than 1,000ha of land. The mega project will include two 18-hole golf courses designed and constructed by golf legend Greg Norman, as well as water parks, a petting zoo, a sport centre, and more than 70 public facilities with thousands of second homes and shophouses.
Many other developers are also jumping on the Binh Thuan bandwagon, including TTC’s investment into the Dubai, and FLC Groups’ Mui Ne & Beach Resort complex. Hung Loc Phat has also recently announced its latest project in the province’s Phan Thiet city, named Mui Ne Summer Land and situated across 30ha. DRH Holdings, meanwhile, has bought a 70ha land area for developing Lac Viet – a high-end eco-tourism project. Hung Thinh Corporation, in addition, was one of the first developers in Binh Thuan, and has now co-operated with Saigon Investment Company to develop the Sentosa Villas on a 30ha land areas with 530 villas and tourism facilities. Viet Uc Group is also expanding its portfolio with a new project and VND3 trillion ($130 million) of investment. This will be a complex with a five-star hotel, trading and service centre, and residential area. Moreover, Binh Thuan is now also on the radar of many real estate developers from the northern provinces in particular. Hai Phat Investment JSC has teamed up with Hoang Quan Corporation to invest VND10 trillion ($434 million) in a 198ha tourism centre in Mui Ne, while developer Apec Invest is now building the Apec Mandara Wyndham Mui Ne, a 4.5ha facility with capital of VND15 trillion ($652 million). This project aims to offer just below 3,000 condotel units in the second quarter of 2021.
Marco Breu - Managing partner McKinsey & Company Vietnam
Overall, tourism is booming in Vietnam. In 2018, the country welcomed 15.5 million international visitors, a 19.9 per cent increase from the previous year, and served more than 80 million domestic visitors.
Of these numbers, Binh Thuan contributed nearly six million, and various areas in the province have been designated by the national government as key tourism focus areas.
We’ve observed a few common success factors for leading tourism destinations that could support Binh Thuan’s tourist ambitions.
Successful destinations have a self-sustaining tourism ecosystem – they create circuits of tourist attractions, supplemented by hotels, restaurants, and recreational activities, connected by road, rail, and air links with reliable power, water and sanitation, and job opportunities for locals to meet tourist demand for goods and services.
As an established beach and leisure destination, Binh Thuan already has the foundations for this and its main challenge of connectivity could be addressed once the North-South Expressway and Phan Thiet Airport are completed.
Successful destinations meanwhile provide a variety of tourism experiences. With Binh Thuan’s natural assets, the province could consider growing its adventure and sports offerings, and venturing into other types of tourism that would be a good fit such as health and wellness, and business and leisure travel.More importantly, we increasingly see that any country, province, or city with serious ambitions of becoming a leading tourism destination are thinking about sustainability, in terms of balancing tourist arrivals with larger structural and environmental considerations, in order to support tourism growth. For destinations like Binh Thuan, these initiatives could take the form of better waste management, or beach protection and reinforcement programmes.
According to Binh Thuan Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism, in 2018 the province welcomed an increase of 12 per cent in tourist numbers compared to 2017. Total revenue from tourism was over VND12.8 trillion ($556 million), a rise of 19 per cent compared to the previous year. The target for this year is for more than 6.35 million tourists, up 0.4 per cent on-year.