Lam Dong Fosters Tourism Investment

3:37:57 PM | 19/4/2011

In order to strengthen tourism, Lam Dong province has created very favourable conditions for investors. To learn more about this, reporter Ha Linh interviewed Ms Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc – Deputy Director of Lam Dong Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Could you talk about the achievements of Lam Dong tourism in 2010?
Located in the South of the Central Highlands, with favourable natural conditions, Da Lat – Lam Dong has vast landscapes with a unique forestry ecosystem, amazing and romantic natural scenery, a various distinct local cultural features and architectural remains, including European style structures. The history of Da Lat tourism began when the French decided to build up Da Lat city as a destination for leisure and entertainment.
For years, Lam Dong has considered eco-tourism and mountain resorts its potential and strength. In recent years, the province has paid attention to developing tourism events – Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE). Therefore, the province has issued investment incentive policies to lure more investment into the tourism industry. In its development strategy, tourism is always regarded as an industry of priority to be developed into a spearhead economy.
2010 marked a milestone in Lam Dong tourism development when tourists coming to Da Lat- Lam Dong reached 3.15 million, of which international tourists accounted for five percent. This shows the great efforts of both political and local economic sectors in implementing various strategies to attract tourists in spite of many challenges in the year, such as the dredging of Xuan Huong Lake influencing city views, road improvement projects increasing transport times, and pressure against tourism numbers from the economic recession.
To further support tourism, a variety of tourism products and services are offered. Tourism spots are receiving investment and being improved to better serve tourists. So far, there have been hundreds of tourism spots, in which 36 ones have been invested and put in operation. The number of high-ranked hotels is increasing and service quality is gradually improved. So far, the number of tourism accommodations in Lam Dong province is 720 with 12,000 rooms and capacity of 40,000 tourists. Among those, there are 130 accommodations with 4,000 rooms ranked 1-3 stars and 18 ranked 3-5 star accommodations with 1,400 rooms. Tourism infrastructure is also invested. Investment appeals for tourism are a significant part of all provincial investment attraction activity. Attention is paid to foster investment and advertise for tourism. Expanding connections to link provincial tourism with other provinces nationwide have begun bearing results. National tourism management guidelines are given priority. Tourism staff qualifications are improved, and over 55 percent of tourism staff have been officially trained.
 Can you tell us about the current investment policies of the tourism development programme and what are the advantages and disadvantages of investment management?
Since 2003, there have been 240 investment projects in tourism with total registered initial capital of VND72,769 billion, in which there are 88 approved investments with total registered of VND19,787 billion and 152 which have negotiated investment and issued been investment certificate with passed capital of VND52,983 billion. However, so far, there are only about 20 completed and put in operation with total capital of VND1,000 billion, so a quite small proportion of registered projects have become reality. Therefore, the quantity and quality of investment projects are both far below the plan and development strategy initially set by Lam Dong province.
Projects developing high-ranked tourism products, large scale tourism spots and night entertainment services for tourists are prioritized. However, the paradox is that there are many investment projects put forward but so few actually implemented. Therefore, we have to review all projects regarding their implementing capacity in the locality and call for investment from investors with real investment capacity and demand.
In terms of investment policies, we have created all favourable conditions to appeal investment. The number of investment projects approved in the past time can prove that. As for big projects with detail plans, we have completed infrastructure to support investors. However, the difficulty in project implementation is mainly due to investors’ capacity.
The annual economic forum on promoting investment in the Central Highlands will be held this summer; can you introduce some local tourism projects calling for investment?
We always welcome investors with good capacity, demand and determination to invest in Da Lat tourism. Currently; we are also concentrating on reviewing certified investment projects. If there is any without implementation capacity, we will revoke it and put priority on those who can prove their real capacity to deliver. For projects in trouble, we will work with investors to push up project implementation.
For new investment projects, we set priority on tourism destinations with detail plans, for example, Prenn Lake – Da Lat has completed its plan and is calling for investment. This destination specializes in entertainment, especially on water combined with eco-tourism, picnic and resorts. The project is located in the door to Da Lat City with a total area of 1,000 hectares. Now we are working to put it on tender for investment. As for Southern districts such as Bao Loc, Bao Lam, Da Huoai and Cat Tien, we are also encouraging investment projects in unique, local natural tourism resources.