Nghe An province, with its favorable geographical position to expand domestic and international economic exchanges that serve as an important prerequisite for development of tourism and other economic sectors, is always a charming destination for tourists as it has many distinctive and attractive tourism types like ecotourism, cultural tourism and festival tourism.
Great potential for tourism development
Visiting Nghe An, visitors will think of ecotourism destinations with many picturesque natural landscapes.
Cua Lo Beach, about 16 km from Vinh City, has long been the most famous beach in Central Vietnam which receives a lot of tourists every summer. With its long, flat beach, crystal-clear water, fine sand and gentle waves, Cua Lo draws millions of tourists every summer.
Che (Tea) Islands, lying in Hamlet 8, Thanh An commune, Thanh Chuong district, are an appealing destination for tourists, a favorite check-in for netizens. Each island is covered with green tea trees surrounded by clear blue lakes. Tourists sit on motorboats moving around the islands to experience and explore the scenery.
Huong Duong (Sunflower) Farm, covering 30 ha in Nghia Son commune, Nghia Dan district, is an alluring check-in address for any traveler. Sunflowers bloom in March-April and November-December when visitors come together to admire and take pictures with the dazzling beauty of yellow flowers.
Pu Mat National Park, with a natural area of up to 194,000 ha where many rare plants and animals are living, was recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve. Kem Waterfall is extremely majestic in the park. Many ethnic minorities are living in the buffer zone, especially the Dan Lai people.
Bai Lu Beach in Nghi Yen and Nghi Tien communes, Nghi Loc district, is seductive to tourists because it converges both sea and forest with an open landscape, harmonious nature. Bai Lu Resort, separate from residential areas, features a clean beach and clear water, with sea-facing adjacent houses surrounded by green trees.
Cua Hoi Beach, lying between Cua Lo Beach and Xuan Thanh Beach (Ha Tinh province), is famous for its gorgeous sandy sloping beach of Song Ngu, always bustling with visitors seeking to enjoy this charm. Lying in front of Cua Hoi Beach is Song Ngu Island, forming two giant side-by-side natural walls to block strong winds and strong waves to bring peace to this place.
Muong Thanh ecotourism site in Dien Lam commune, Dien Chau district, about 60 km from Vinh City, is one of the most popular entertainment venues today in Nghe An, thanks to an attractive entertaining complex where visitors can visit the Safari Land Zoo, where more than 70 species of rare animals are kept. This is the largest zoo in the north, very suitable for families with small children. With many thrilling games such as sun wheel, octopus wheel, flying ferris wheel, roller coaster or water park will give visitors many choices to explore. If they want to enjoy leisure and relaxing experiences, they can go to Thac Tien mud bath or visit Lam Ha Pagoda - where there is a system of Buddha statues made of gold inlaid bronze.
Cultural and spiritual tourism
Nghe An has a distinctive identity for tourism development in general and cultural and spiritual tourism in particular. Currently, the province has 2,395 relics, including 324 certified relics (132 national sites and 192 provincial sites).
Monuments, temples and memorials were built by many generations to express gratitude to predecessors accredited for opening the national boundary, defeating the enemy, defending the country and developing Vietnamese culture. They have become valuable legacies in many aspects. This is great potential for developing spiritual and cultural tourism in Nghe An, with popular forms such as spiritual tourism and religious tourism.
Another famous place is Kim Lien Relic Site, one of four important monuments of President Ho Chi Minh. This 205-ha site includes artifacts, documents, and cultural - historical space about Ho Chi Minh's childhood and youthhood and his family members. The 205-ha site, with relics 2 - 10 km apart, is considered one of the most important relics of the nation, invested heavily by the government for many years. Every year, this place welcomes millions of domestic and foreign visitors.
Con Temple (Quynh Phuong-Hoang Mai) is a typical mother-worship shrine and has become one of the largest mother worship centers. Can Linh Pagoda (Cua Nam Ward, Vinh City), also called Linh Van Temple or Su Nu (Nuns) Temple for being hosted by nuns, was built in the ninth century. Dai Tue Pagoda (Nam Anh - Nam Dan) is dedicated to Buddha Wisdom. It is recognized for records by the Vietnam Association of Records: The temple on the mountain has the largest artificial lake; The temple has the most ruby statues; The temple has the most mulberry statues, and; The temple has the most parallel sentences in pure Vietnamese calligraphy.
Spiritual tourism is a popular and potential type in Nghe An province. Typical destinations include places such as Ong Hoang Muoi Temple (Hung Nguyen), Quang Trung Emperor Temple on Quyet Mountain, Hong Son Temple (Cinh city), An Duong Vuong Temple (Dien Chau), Mai Emperor Temple, Hoang Thi Loan Tomb, Chung Son Temple (Nam Dan), Qua Son Temple (Do Luong) and Bach Ma Temple (Thanh Chuong).
Cultural festival tourism
Given its intense vitality, cultural festivals have boomed again as a social phenomenon, rising in every area with a new vitality and attracting millions of domestic and foreign tourists. Dozens of formerly near-forgotten festivals have now been restored and developed in all areas of the province, such as festivals concerning Cuong Temple, Con Qua Son Temple, Hoang Muoi Temple, King Mai Temple, Bach Ma Temple, Hong Son Temple and Su Nu Pagoda. In the cultural flow of clans in Nghe An, popular clan festivals include Nguyen Dinh (in Nghi Loc district), Nguyen Canh (in Do Luong district), Ho and Nguyen (in Quynh Luu and Yen Thanh districts). In addition to traditional festivals, the province has some modern festivals such as Sen Village Festival, Ho Chi Minh Birthday Celebration (May 19), Cua Lo River Festival, Cua Lo Tourism Season Opening, Thanking Festival, Memorial Day (July 27), and Sunflower Festival in Nghia Dan district. These can be considered creative products of Nghe An people, gradually traditionalized, recognized by the masses and sublimated to new beauty and unique identity of cultural life in Nghe An.
Tourism attraction solutions
Tourism forms in Nghe An are still monotonous, largely concerning visits to historical and revolutionary relics. The province lacks recreational, leisure and classy options for high-class domestic and foreign tourists. Besides, Nghe An has not clearly formed stable tour routes with rich and attractive contents. Most tourism companies are small, unconnected, mainly spontaneous, unprofessional and uncompetitive. Travel agencies are underdeveloped, very small in scale, unable to provide high-end services and ensure time continuity. Tourism activities are relatively localized in terms of type and location. Discrete destinations are not interlinked to form networks convenient and attractive to different tourists.
To overcome the above limitations and attract tourists in a sustainable way, the Nghe An tourism industry needs to focus on the following issues:
First, the Nghe An Tourism Department needs to strengthen tourism administration; advise lawmaking and policymaking on tourism; and raise awareness for tourists and residents to build a safe, civilized, friendly and quality tourism environment toward sustainable tourism development goals.
Second, accelerating construction of tourism development plans, programs and projects: Completing projects of Nghe An tourism development strategy to 2030 to submit to relevant bodies for approval and enactment; investing in tourism infrastructure projects financed by ADB and public tourism infrastructure projects in 2021-2025 and in 2026-2030; jointly carrying out tourism product development projects: GEF project and adventure tourism product development project.
Third, diversifying tourism products to draw tourists like recreational venues, casinos, modern discotheques and hotels. Potential night tourism forms are aimed to increase length of stay and spending of tourists such as shopping, dining and music venues, in addition to uniquely traditional tourism products such as folk festivals, culinary culture and Vi Dam folk singing.
Fourth, promoting tourism images through domestic and international tourism fairs; digitizing tourist destination data using 3D imaging technology; producing tourism marketing video clips for posting on social networking sites; installing LED screens in some places to inform and welcome visitors; providing tourist information via website, email or search engines like Google, MSN and Infoseek for easy search by foreign tourists. A very effective promotional tool is making great introductory videos about Nghe An province to entice tourists to come to explore beautiful scenes and legends seen on such videos. In addition, famtrips attended by travel agencies, famous artists and stars are also a good way to introduce Nghe An to tourists far and wide through these reliable information sources.
Fifth, necessarily reviewing and reassessing the workforce of tourism-related companies to build a reasonable training plan; facilitate universities and colleges to enroll students; applying proper labor recruitment and task assignment policies.
Sixth, it is very important for localities to establish cooperation for joint tourism development in the current context of fierce competition, thus promoting comparative advantages and potential resources for tourism development, and dealing with existing shortcomings.
Dr. Dinh Van Toi, MSc. Hoang Thi Thuy Hang
Nghe An University of Economics