Kien Giang: Appropriate Strategies Poised to Propel Tourism Industry to New Heights

8:15:08 AM | 4/30/2024

In 2023, Kien Giang province surpassed all annual tourism plans and targets, with a notable surge in international tourist arrivals. In light of these accomplishments, Mr. Bui Quoc Thai, Director of the Department of Tourism, said that Kien Giang will concentrate on regional connectivity, curate a portfolio of tourism products, and enhance the allure of destinations in the future. The aim is to transform tourism into a key economic sector by 2030.

Phu Quoc city seen from above

Exciting destinations

Kien Giang, often likened to a miniature Vietnam, boasts a diverse terrain that includes the sea, islands, forests, mountains, plains, stunning natural scenery, and numerous untouched wild places. In recent years, by capitalizing on its inherent advantages, Kien Giang has steadily emerged as one of the most frequented provinces in the Mekong Delta.

The year 2023 marked a period of robust recovery and accelerated development for Kien Giang’s tourism industry. All plans and targets were met or exceeded. Specifically, Kien Giang welcomed 8,534,993 tourists, an increase of 15.3% over 2022, surpassing the yearly plan by 2.8%. This included 573,272 international visitors, a rise of over 200% against 2022, exceeding the yearly plan by 63.8%. Total tourism revenue reached VND17,479 billion, up 65.1% year on year, surpassing 34.5% of the yearly plan.

To achieve this rapid recovery, the tourism sector consistently emphasized the implementation of tourism stimulus solutions in tandem with enhancing the quality of tourism products and services. The province introduced preferential policies and fostered a favorable and open business investment climate for tourism firms. “In addition to effectively promoting and introducing tourist destinations, the tourism sector also prioritized domestic and international tourism connectivity and cooperation. In 2023, the maritime tourism route, which connects Ca Mau, Nam Du and Phu Quoc, will be reopened to provide more destination choices for tourists,” Mr. Bui Quoc Thai added.

In 2023, Kien Giang attracted a lot of tourists to tourism performances, paragliding and flyboard experiences in Mui Nai, Ha Tien City, cruising experiences on Nautilus Namaste, walking under the sea to explore the Coral Park and parachute landing in Phu Quoc. Traditional festivals and annual cultural activities were organized by Kien Giang, leaving many good impressions on people and tourists.

Marking the end of the lunar year on the morning of February 9, 2024, the cruise ship AIDAbella, after a sea voyage of over three days, arrived at Phu Quoc Port in Kien Giang province, carrying nearly 2,000 international guests and a crew of more than 600 members

On track for strong development

One of the initial remarkable highlights in the development of Kien Giang province’s tourism industry has been the significant investment in tourism infrastructure to meet the growing demand for local tourism services. To date, Kien Giang boasts as many as 940 accommodation facilities with 33,275 rooms, including 24 facilities rated 4-5 stars, offering 10,286 rooms.

Phu Quoc City, often referred to as the Pearl Island, has become a signature tourist destination that has shaped the brand of Kien Giang’s tourism. The city is equipped with world-class accommodation facilities, services, and tourism professionals. In 2023, the city welcomed over 5.5 million visitors, marking an increase of over 14% compared to 2022 and accounting for about 67% of total tourist arrivals to Kien Giang. Notably, in the final months of 2023, Phu Quoc’s tourism industry experienced a strong surge following the launch of a series of tourism stimulus activities. These included the “WOW Phu Quoc” Campaign, themed “I love Phu Quoc,” aimed at promoting Phu Quoc tourism as a “unique, professional, safe, clean, beautiful and civilized” destination. Since late October 2023, the Pearl Island has welcomed numerous international flights from countries in Central Asia, East Asia, Eastern Europe, and other regions, with over 2,000 tourists arriving daily.

A renowned company recently made a substantial investment in an entertainment complex in Hoang Hon Town. This complex includes the Hon Bridge, the VUI-Fest Bazaar Night Market, and a world-class modern multimedia technology show. Officially launched on December 21, 2023, this complex infused the Pearl Island with a jubilant and vibrant atmosphere in the closing days of 2023. The Hon Bridge, a new iconic artistic masterpiece for Kien Giang tourism, consists of two 400m-long bridge branches that meet but do not touch each other in the middle of the sea, separated by about 30 cm, just enough for people to exchange a hug, handshake, or kiss. This has become a new appealing destination for many tourists to visit and take photos every time they come to Phu Quoc.

The beautiful, charming and poetic city of Ha Tien is featured with stunning scenery and historical relics associated with legendary stories and fairy tales. Recently, the city has refreshed some visitor service models to ease visitors to explore the city and take photos such as artistic rainbows at Mui Nai Beach, eagles at Thach Dong and bamboo floors on Da Dung Mountain Lake.

Kien Hai Island district is also chosen by many domestic and foreign tourists as a fun and relaxing destination in Kien Giang. In 2023, the district welcomed about 437,791 visitors. This figure showed that tourists arrivals to Kien Hai increased spectacularly as compared to that in the 2015-2020 period (this period witnessed an average annual increase of 221,000 visitors).

Determined to elevate tourism as a key economic sector

Clearly, Kien Giang province has a considerable task ahead to fully harness its potential strengths and transform tourism into a key economic sector. For 2024 alone, the province has set targets to attract 9.2 million visitors, including 680,000 international tourists. The overarching goal is to develop the tourism industry of Kien Giang province, and particularly Phu Quoc City, into a hallmark tourist destination of Vietnam and the region. Phu Quoc will continue to receive stimulus boosts to evolve into an elegant, friendly, world-class destination.

To reach these goals, Kien Giang province must promptly have feasible solutions to keep pace and continue to accelerate and achieve breakthrough tourism development. Vice Chairman of the Kien Giang Provincial People's Committee Nguyen Luu Trung emphasized that the province needs to adopt new, innovative solutions; restructure the tourism industry to achieve both intensive and extensive development; strengthen sectoral, local, business and community connections to form tourism value chains; and ensure the tourism interest sharing of the community, businesses and tourists. On the other hand, the province will continue to invest in developing tourism products based on local tourism strengths, with prioritized focus on developing maritime tourism, cultural tourism and eco-tourism products; and develop a variety of tourist routes and coastal and island tourism products. At the same time, the province will review tourism resources as a basis for building specific products; form tours and routes to attract tourists; and pay attention to investing in upgrading festivals to preserve and promote national cultural identity and attract tourists.

By Cong Luan, Vietnam Business Forum