5:18:57 PM | 9/3/2015
Tourist arrivals to Dak Lak province reached 467,000 in 2014, up 13.9 percent year on year, of which international visitors were 47,000, up 2.17 percent and domestic tourists were 420,000, up 0.24 percent. Tourism revenue totalled VND360 billion and room occupancy rate was 60.21 percent, meeting 97.12 percent of the plan. Mr Y Wai Bya, Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, has granted an exclusive interview to Vietnam Business Forum. Quoc Hung reports.
Tourist arrivals to Dak Lak province are on the rise year after year. How is infrastructure investment and development in Dak Lak province?
The province has not paid proper attention to investment attraction for tourism development. As most local enterprises have small and medium scales with limited financial capacity, they are unable to carry out big tourism site and entertainment zone projects to create peculiar competitive tourism products. Most invested in accommodation facilities because this required less capital and time.
According to data from the Dak Lak Trade, Investment and Tourism Promotion Centre, the tourism sector attracted 34 investment projects valued nearly VND5 trillion from 2009 to 2012, of which 18 projects were engaged tourist attractions and 16 projects were involved in hotels and restaurants. Some projects have been put into operation and employed 2,500 local workers. Some others are being pushed up investment to catch up with investment schedule.
What difficulties is the Dak Lak tourism facing?
In 2014, the Dak Lak tourism sector strengthened cooperation with other localities across the country to diversify tourism products as guided by the Provincial People's Committee and responded to the National Tourism Year of the Central Highlands - Da Lat City; hence, it drew a lot of tourists during the year. Nevertheless, degraded road infrastructure, particularly National Roads 14, 26 and 27 and provincial roads to tourist attractions, is inhibiting travelling in the province.
Weak investment for infrastructure and tourist attractions and services fails to meet the demand of people and tourists. Furthermore, unstable land policy sometimes raises difficulties to tourism development.
How has Dak Lak province enhance its tourism competitiveness and uphold its tourism brand position?
After UNESCO recognised the "Space of gong culture in the Central Highlands” as the Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the conservation of cultural heritages has been further focused. The province built and effectively carried out the project “Preserving and promoting Dak Lak gong cultural heritage for the 2007-2010 period”. Traditional cultural festivals of local ethnic minorities were regularly organised and many surveys and studies on traditional rituals and festivals of local ethnic minorities were carried out. Some rituals and festivals were restored.
The tourism industry is always linked to the cultural sector to preserve and restore the above cultural values with specific measures like gong surveys and counting for management and protection and gong performance training. The province restores long tilted houses of Ede people, aiming to make it a cultural symbol of Dak Lak province - the heart of the Central Highlands, draw more tourists and develop homestay tourism.
Staffs at hotels, restaurants and tourism units are encouraged to wear traditional costumes to express cultural heritage values. Cultural works like museums, parks, monuments, hotels and restaurants are built to promote cultural heritage values. Regular traditional festivals like gong festival, elephant festival and coffee festival were upgraded to a broader scale to attract more tourists.
In order to enhance the competitiveness of famous cultural brands, the tourism sector regularly directs and supports local tourism businesses to advertise and introduce cultural traditions of Dak Lak in domestic and foreign cultural and tourism events, conferences and fairs. In addition, it has collaborated with the Vietnam Television and Ho Chi Minh City Television to broadcast tourism products and programmes and build cultural tourism routes for tourists.