4:20:11 PM | 1/4/2019
Located in the Mekong Delta famous for common tourism potential, Kien Giang province possesses unique strengths unseen in other localities, a magnet to draw more tourists far and wide. Especially, after the Provincial Party Committee issued two resolutions on tourism development, the tourism sector has strongly evolved to take off in the coming time. To learn more about the province’s tourism, Vietnam Business Forum Magazine’s reporter has an interview with Mr. Tran Chi Dung, Director of the Kien Giang Tourism Department. Cong Luan reports.
Could you please elaborate on peculiar strengths of Kien Giang tourism?
Despite possessing strong natural and cultural tourism resources similar to the rest of Mekong Delta provinces, Kien Giang province’s potential tourism resources are outstandingly different from theirs, particularly maritime tourism.
Kien Giang has a world biosphere reserve covering 1.1 million ha, the second largest in Vietnam. The Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve has two national parks - Phu Quoc and U Minh Thuong - and Phu Quoc Marine Reserve which contains flora and fauna biodiversity, extremely rare and precious genetic and animal species, with many species classified on Vietnamese and world red books. Strong magnets to visitors Dong Ho Lagoon in Ha Tien City, located in Vietnam's lagoon system, which contains important resource values to develop different community-based ecotourism; the biodiversity of Kien Luong limestone mountain where many rare and endemic species inhabit; and the creation of Karst cave terrain in Ha Tien - Kien Luong limestone mountain system. Especially, featured by marine tourism resources, Kien Giang is known as “Southern Ha Long Bay” where many beautiful islands and unspoiled beaches are not inferior to any in the country and in the world.
Kien Giang has a system of similar humanity resources to the region like historical and cultural relics, festivals and folk music in addition to unique cottage industry villages and trades like fish-cage farming, fish sauce production, pepper cultivation, rose myrtle wine brewing, sedge weaving, or pearl farming and crafting. These well-branded specialties fascinate tourists and travel businesses.
In the past years, Kien Giang, particularly Phu Quoc, has received much support for tourism infrastructure investment from the government, local authorities and domestic and foreign investors. Kien Giang currently has Rach Gia domestic airport and Phu Quoc international airport connected to many airports in the world and modern Phu Quoc international passenger port scheduled for operation soon. In addition, hotels and resorts operated by well-reputed brands across the country and the world are present in Phu Quoc like Vinperal Land Phu Quoc, Hon Thom - Phu Quoc Cable Car - the longest sea crossing in the world, Phu Quoc Safari - the largest wildlife zoo in Southeast Asia, and the only casino for Vietnamese players.
In 2013, the Kien Giang Provincial Party Committee (11th term) issued the Resolution No. 04-NQ/TU on promoting tourism development to 2020 and the Resolution 03-NQ/TU on Kien Giang tourism development to 2020, with an eye to 2030 dated November 16, 2017. So far, how has the province carried out these two resolutions? Could you please tell us about its encouraging results?
After four years of executing the Resolution 04-NQ/TU, Kien Giang tourism achieved significant development and the awareness of all-level authorities and branches of local tourism position and role has positively improved. In 2017, after the Politburo issued Resolution 08-NQ/TW, the tourism industry and the Party Personnel Board and the Provincial People’s Committee advised the Provincial Party Committee to review and implement the Resolution 04-NQ/TU and issue the Resolution 03-NQ / TU.
Following the Resolution 04-NQ-TU, the Resolution 03-NQ/TU was enacted to meet pressing tourism development needs in localities, the important foundation for economic development and restructuring in the past years. From this basic direction, Kien Giang tourism has developed strategies on tourism market, products and marketing to woo tourists; invested in infrastructure construction for tourism development and tourism zone construction; carried out consistent solutions for natural resource and environmental protection. This effort, coupled with the determination of tourism workers, the special attention of the Provincial Party Committee, the Provincial People’s Council and the Provincial People’s Committee to tourism development, and the coordination and support of all sectors and branches, brought Kien Giang tourism to new levels of scale, quality and commerciality.
Up to now, the province's tourism facility system has developed rapidly in both quantity and quality, largely focused on key tourist areas such as Phu Quoc, Rach Gia and Ha Tien, and met accommodation and sightseeing needs of domestic and international tourists. Most outstandingly, more high-class international hotels are present in Phu Quoc, mainly managed and operated by world's leading brands such as Accor, Marriott, Melia, Inter Continental and Best Western. Travel businesses have strongly grown up in number, from 60 in June 2013 to 97 now, with international travel firms from three to 12 to bring international visitors to Kien Giang province and domestic tourists to other nations. In particular, recently, many large projects have been launched in the province, including Vinpearl Phu Quoc, Phu Quoc Safari, Bai Khem Resort, Hon Thom Phu Quoc Cable Car and Beach Amusement Park, and Phu Quoc Casino. Phu Quoc Maritime Reserve and Phu Quoc National Park have also cooperated with enterprises to launch ecotourism and protect forests. Besides, agricultural and aquatic production models in key tourist areas have also been combined with tourism development.
In addition, to facilitate maritime tourism development and woo international visitors, the province recognized three provincial tourist resorts: Hai Tac Island (Ha Tien), Nam Du Islands (Kien Hai) and Lai Son (Kien Hai). After these recognitions, international tourists to Kien Giang, especially these places, have increased significantly. Furthermore, Kien Giang tourism has constantly increased and expanded cooperation with international tourism and domestic attractions. These cooperation and marketing programs have disseminated the image of Kien Giang tourism to domestic and foreign tourists. In 2016, the tourism industry advised the Provincial People's Committee to successfully organize the National Tourism Year 2016 - Phu Quoc - Mekong Delta, making tourism brand and attracting tourists to Vietnam.
What do you expect for tourism takeoff as stated in Resolution No. 03-NQ/TU of the Provincial Party Committee?
The objective of Resolution No. 03-NQ/TU involves expectations on Kien Giang province’s tourism development in the coming time. The province hopes to create breakthroughs in inclusive tourism development in scope, scale and quality toward sustainability. By 2030, tourism will be really a spearhead economic sector, featured by high share of the economy, growth pace and quality, professionalism, modern technical infrastructure system, high-class, well-branded and competitive products, cultural identity, environment-friendliness, and national security.
By 2020, the province expects to attract 650,000 - 700,000 international tourists and 8.4 million domestic travelers, up 20% and 12% year on year, respectively. This sector will contribute 9.75% of the gross regional domestic product (GRDP), reaching US$808 million (VND19,400 billion). Tourism revenue rises 31.53% annually. By 2030, Kien Giang hopes to entice 1.667 million international travelers and 22 million domestic tourists, both growing 10% annually. Tourism will contribute over 17.5% of local GRDP, or US$4.9 billion (VND105 trillion). Tourism revenue expands 18.4% yearly.
Thank you very much!