Ca Mau Tourism to Be Developed into National Destination

4:48:11 PM | 24/7/2018

Ca Mau Cape is located at the headland of the nation, which is not only of specially spiritual significance and touches the heart of every Vietnamese but also has landscapes and ecosystems suitable for tourism development. With that importance, the Prime Minister approved the Master Plan for Ca Mau Development to 2030 with the aim of making Ca Mau a national tourist destination then.

Much potential for tourism development
According to statistics from the Ca Mau Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the province received over 1.2 million visitors in 2017, up 11.3 per cent from a year earlier and expected to welcome more than 1.4 million visitors in 2018. Tourism revenue was estimated to reach VND920 billion.

With a natural land area of more than 5,200 square kilometres, Ca Mau province has mangrove forests covering on 110,000 ha where diverse forest ecosystems are formed. In 2009, Mui Ca Mau (Ca Mau Cape) was officially recognised by the UNESCO as the World Biosphere Reserve. Mui Ca Mau World Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 371,506 ha, divided into three sections, namely Mui Ca Mau National Park, U Minh Ha National Park and Tay Ca Mau Protected Forest. Mui Ca Mau Biosphere Reserve has a core area of 17,329 ha, a buffer zone of 43,309 ha and a transitional area of 310,868 ha with such ecosystems as Mangrove forests, peat bogs, marine ecosystem and many unique biosphere areas. The very natural diversity provides very favourable conditions for the tourism industry of Ca Mau province to grow strongly if it goes on a right track.

U Minh Ha National Park possesses unique features of wetlands on the peat layer where 176 plant species, 23 mammal species, 91 bird species, 36 reptile species, 11 amphibian species and 37 fish species are inhabiting. Coming to U Minh Ha National Park, tourists can climb the observatory to admire the panorama of the vast expanse of cajuput forests, or go on boat to sail through dense carpets of water lettuces into the Melaleuca forests where the leading ways are enfolded by white-flower reeds.

Mui Ca Mau National Park is a mangrove forest - the main habitat for mangroves and rare animals listed in the Vietnam Red Book and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species such as painted stork.

In addition, Ca Mau is located in the South Pole of the nation with stretched alluvium strips encircled green forests to form a natural ship looking to the sea. This is a perfect place for visitors to enjoy the sea and an ideal place for those who enjoy sunrise and sunset.

In addition, the potential of forests and the sea plus diverse ecosystems from salty water and brackish water to fresh water has brought a wealth of distinct foods and unique features hardly seen elsewhere. Famous dishes include Mam hot pot, fried mangrove clam with salted pepper, date palm worm or three-striped crab. All are unforgettably delicious.

And above all, Ca Mau people are honest, outspoken, cheerful and enthusiastic to visitors far and wide. The locality is home to many distinctive customs and cultural festivals such as the Choul Chnam Thmey (New Year Festival) of Khmer people, Farm Ghost Worship, Ba Thien Hau Festival, and Nghinh Ong Festival of seagoing people. All create a very unique identity of this land.

On the other hand, Ca Mau is accessible by air, road and waterway for domestic and foreign tourists. Moreover, from Ca Mau, they can travel to Phu Quoc Island by boat where they can enjoy the feeling of sitting on the deck overlooking the sea and facing fresh winds.

With its natural and cultural advantages, Ca Mau has more potential for tourism development than what it has achieved. However, to do that, Ca Mau tourism needs specific plans for short and long term purposes.

New direction for Ca Mau tourism
According to the Master Plan for Mui Ca Mau National Tourism Site Development to 2030 approved by the Prime Minister, this site will be expanded to attract high-class tourists by building ecological tourism, leisure tourism and entertainment among other forms by 2025. In the period to 2030, priority will be given to courting high-class tourists. However, the prerequisite is sustainable tourism development, meaning that tourism development is coupled with preservation of national cultural identity and protection of the environment and ecosystem.

To do so, the Ca Mau tourism sector needs to raise public awareness of tourism development and mobilise resources for tourism development. In particular, attracting investors to build infrastructure must be promoted at the same time with training human resources for quality tourism to meet all development needs.

Improving service quality and diversifying tourism products is essential to woo domestic visitors. The sector needs to base on natural elements to create attractive tourism products and uphold cultural, historical, religious and belief values. At the same time, it needs to boost tourism cooperation with neighbouring localities to form diversified and highly competitive product chains.

In addition, the Ca Mau tourism sector needs to strengthen communications and introduce the images of Ca Mau nature, people and cuisine to domestic and international tourists; builds many affiliate programmes and incentives; and maintains tourist markets from southern localities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Southeast provinces and Hanoi City while further developing other markets such as localities in Southwest, the Central Highlands and Northern regions and then accessing tourist markets in neighbouring countries.

Without doubt, with specific development strategies and plans for each stage combined with natural, human and cultural advantages, Ca Mau has many opportunities to attract more investment and develop tourism more strongly in the future.

Giang Tu