Lam Dong Province Unlocks Tourism and Agricultural Potential

3:54:36 PM | 19/4/2011

Lam Dong economic growth is relatively high; import-export turnover increases rapidly; export markets are growing, with export value amounting to US$246 million; agricultural area and productivity is expanding; and tourism develops strongly with a diverse variety of products and services, said Mr Huynh Duc Hoa, Chairman of Lam Dong Province People’s Committee in an interview with reporter Phuong Linh.
Could you introduce the notable social and economic achievements of Lam Dong province in 2010?
In 2010, Vietnam remained in a difficult position after the global economic recession coupled with domestic natural disasters and epidemics, but Lam Dong province managed to obtain GDP growth of 13.3 percent, of which agriculture, forestry and fisheries expanded 11.3 percent; industry and construction enlarged 13.2 percent; and services rose 18.1 percent. GDP per capita was VND19.9 million; State Budget collection reached VND3,458.451 billion; social life of people improved; social investments valued at VND13,980 billion, equal to 49.6 percent of GDP; 30,120 jobs were created; radio and television service covered every corner of the province; natural population growth was 1.35 percent; 80 percent of households meet cultural family standards; forest coverage reached 61.5 percent; 75 percent of households in rural areas had clean water supply; and 96 percent of households had access to electricity.
Import - export turnover increased rapidly. Export markets expanded, bringing total export value to US$246 million last year. The tourism industry developed many new products and services and upgraded infrastructure. Last year, Lam Dong attracted 3.115 million tourists.
Agricultural production continued growing while the quality of agricultural products increased. The average production value per hectare was relatively high at VND76 million. The value reached VND330 million per hectare of vegetables and VND880 million per hectare of flowers.
Poverty alleviation was intensified in association with rural development. Outcomes superseded initial plans. As of the end of 2010, 14,500 households were living below the poverty line, accounting for only 4.97 percent of total households, of which hill-tribe minorities accounted for 8,000 households, equal to only 14.81 percent of households in their group.
Healthcare, education and training also developed rapidly both in scale and quality. The province attaches much importance to scientific and technological activities, human resource training, public healthcare, population growth and family planning, mother and child protection, information and propagandizing activities, sporting activities, and cultural life-building movement. Political security and social order and safety continued to be maintained.
What are the major agricultural and tourism strengths of Lam Dong province?
Lam Dong is a mountainous province in the south of Central Highlands with a natural area of 9,772.19 square kilometres, including over 600,000 hectares of forests with 62 percent planted, and a population in 2010 of 1.21 million, of which about 22 percent are ethnic minorities. Soil is relatively fertile, including some 200,000 hectares of basalt soil suitable for growing short-day industrial crops, vegetables and flowers for export. Currently the province has more than 137,600 hectares of coffee, over 24,000 hectares of tea, nearly 4,000 hectares of mulberry, above 15,600 ha of cashew trees, over 35,000 hectares of vegetables and flowers. The province is blessed with natural endowments for developing its important economic sectors like tourism, agriculture, forestry, processing industry and mining. It is notable that local people have enriched these endowments like expanding forest coverage to 62 percent of forestland, and applying new techniques to prevent soil erosion or increase soil fertility to boost crop productivity. They also take advantage of natural conditions to promote suitable crops and animals like hi-tech agricultural production and cold-water aquaculture.
Blessed with favourable climate, beauty spots and cultural relics, the province has favourable conditions to develop tourism. Currently, Lam Dong has 677 accommodation establishments with over 11,000 rooms, which can support 40,000 guests a day. Particularly, 113 hotels with over 8,000 rooms ranked from 1-5 stars can house 14,000 guests at the same time. The tourism sector creates jobs for about 14,000 direct workers and 25,000 indirect workers. To date, 55 percent of tourism workforce has been trained. Many luxury hotels can host important national and international events while their service quality is rising. The tourism industry exerts a pull on domestic and foreign investors. To date, the province licensed 236 tourism projects valued at over VND46,000 billion, with many being first-rate facilities.
Investment is in place to upgrade tourism infrastructure. Typical projects include National Road 20, Provincial Road 723 linking Da Lat City to Nha Trang City, Lien Khuong - Prenn Expressway and Lien Khuong Airport. Flight routes like Da Lat - Hanoi and Da Lat - Da Nang help boost socioeconomic development in general and tourism development in particular.
Tourism promotion activities are intensified with more focus on content and variety. The province also strengthens cooperation with other localities in the country to attract more visitors.
What is your viewpoint on provincial development prospects in the 2010-2015 period?
In 2010-2015, we will focus on exerting our internal resources and attracting external resources to speed up reform to reasonably improve the quality of growth in each industry, each field and each locality in the province.
Lam Dong will promote the comparative advantages of each region, each industry and each field. The province will focus on developing high-tech agriculture to provide high quality raw materials for processing industry and for export, effectively exploit forests and forestland, prioritise tourism development and services; and develop industries using local advantages and materials.
The province will also develop all social aspects, accelerate job creation, poverty alleviation and social security system development, and prevent and reduce social and regional inequality. It will concentrate on developing comprehensive education and training in order to enhance the quality of human resources, step up socialization of education, training, health, environment and sporting fields, expand scientific and technological research, and apply and transfer advanced technologies.
Lam Dong will build a comprehensive socioeconomic infrastructure system, invest in driving areas like Da Lat, Bao Loc, other urban and manufacturing zones lying along the National Road 20 and linking to southern economic zone, Central Highlands and southern central coastal provinces.
The province will strengthen cooperation with Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang and other provinces.
Lam Dong will integrate socioeconomic development with environmental protection and sustainable development, properly use and protect natural resources and environment, and prevent environmental pollution.
The province will closely combine economic development with intensifying national defence and security potential to ensure political stability and social order and safety.
Lam Dong province has set targets for 2011 - 2015 as follows: Annual GDP growth will climb 15-16 percent (on the 1994 base price), of which the agricultural sector will expand 7.8 - 8.3 percent, industrial and constructional sector will enlarge 22.5 - 24.1 percent, and service sector will leap 19 - 20 percent. GDP per capita will reach VND44.5 - 46.2 million (US$2,200 - 2,300) in 2015, more than doubling from 2010. The economic structure in 2015 will be constituted by 36.8 - 37 percent agriculture and forestry, 26.8 - 28 percent industry - construction, and 35.2 - 35.8 percent services. Export turnover will increase 18.1 percent annually to US$645 million in 2015, bringing the total value to US$2,860 million in the five-year period. Total social investment will increase 18 - 18.6 percent annually to bring the value in the 2011-2015 period to VND84,000 - 85,000 billion, equalling 40 percent of provincial GDP and rising more than 2.5 times over the 2006 - 2010 stage. State Budget revenues will amount to VND7,800 billion in 2015 and VND29,800 - 30,500 billion in the 2011 - 2015 period, up 18.4 percent year on year.