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|If it plays its cards right, Ho Tram might become Vietnam’s answer to Macau, Photo: Le Toan|
John Manning, CEO of local developer Sanctuary Residential Resort, said that major developments along the Ho Tram Strip in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau are now taking place, with the sale of three development sites, and three more developments under construction. The most important development on the strip is The Grand Ho Tram Casino. The casino will become a catalyst for Ho Tram’s boom if it receives a proposed licence allowing locals to gamble.
“Ho Tram Strip will take off, there is absolutely no doubt about it. With its proximity to the population and wealth of Ho Chi Minh City, it will not be long before you’re driving down the strip and it will all be hotels and resorts,” he said, adding that the time is right for investors to capitalise on the area’s potential.
Nguyen Nam Son, chairman of local resort developer Tanzanite, said, “We think that if local gaming is allowed, then Ho Tram will grow even faster. In Macau, after the large casinos were allowed in 2004, apartment prices went up five to 10 times in the decade after.”
In addition, a small international airport only five minutes away from Ho Tram has been approved by the local government and is projected to take only one year to complete construction. This will make Ho Tram a more accessible international and domestic destination. A few weeks ago, international resort developer Club Med announced their intention to open in Ho Tram. Club Med is known as one of the world’s largest all-inclusive holiday companies, so this is a good endorsement for Ho Tram, according to Son.
This year, Ho Tram is bustling with new construction and expansion. As the second phase of Sanctuary Residential Community, Sanctuary Villas is a private compound comprising 44 luxury villas, 28 of which have recently been completed, with a majority sold. The final 16 riverfront villas will begin construction in February, with expected completion in October 2018.
The Grand Ho Tram Strip is implementing a resort project called Kahuna which will be made up of 164 condotel units, 36 ‘double-key’ villas, and eight beachfront villas. And Tanzanite is stepping up its development of Melia Ho Tram at the Hamptons.
Son said that Tanzanite plans to open Melia Ho Tram in late 2018, providing a luxury beachfront community to its buyers. The Melia Ho Tram will be run as a world-class five-star resort that caters to its owners and local and international tourists. The resort will also host beach wedding parties, corporate team-building events, and company conferences.
This development momentum is making for growing interest in hotel, resort, and second home investment in the area, according to Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels Asia Pacific.
“The Grand Ho Tram Casino and The Bluffs golf course are great investment catalysts to encourage more resorts and holiday homes’ development. And with more visitors, more entertainment options will appear in surrounding areas and visitor return rates will grow,” he said. “If the government does approve the mooted three-year trial allowing local citizens to legally gamble, this would no doubt be the biggest local engine for growth in the short term.”
According to a Savills Vietnam study, hotel and resort room supply should grow 39 per cent year-on-year in 2018, and by an additional 17 per cent in 2019. About 1,300 new rooms are expected to enter the Ho Tram and Long Hai markets. Besides those announced projects, others are still at the initial planning stages or on hold. These do not have any clear or confirmed development schedules as of yet, but as area demand picks up, developers will surely bulk up room supply in the area.