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Last updated: Thursday, August 16, 2018


Developing, not Spoiling Tam Dao

Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2017

With a fresh and cool climate, Tam Dao in Vinh Phuc province has been an ideal hideaway for people in neighbouring provinces during weekends or public holidays. However, spontaneous development is ruining natural landscape and cultural values. It is time Tam Dao needed a consistent long-term strategy for sustainable development.

Great tourism potential
Tam Dao town in Tam Dao district, Vinh Phuc province is often called Da Lat City in miniature or second Sa Pa in the north of Vietnam. Located at an altitude of nearly 1,000 metres above the sea level, the temperature is below 20 degrees Celsius and the climate is always cool and fresh. Tam Dao has many hotels to serve tourists far and wide.

Moreover, just 80 km from Hanoi, Tam Dao is an ideal place for local urban people to escape the heat of the summer, the noisy and bustling life in big cities. Tam Dao town, which is not too large by size, features French-styled villas built by French rulers in the late nineteenth century. Combined with modern facilities, gorgeous natural landscapes, and enthusiastic and hospitable people, many visitors near and far choose to go to Tam Dao for leisure.

Mr Nguyen Van Chuc, Chairman of Tam Dao Town People's Committee, said that, with rich natural conditions, primitive forests, lakes, dams, streams, waterfalls, caves and popular places of interest like Rung Rinh or Rung Ma, Tam Dao attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Moreover, Tam Dao also preserves many intangible cultural heritages and historical relics like Quoc Mau Tay Thien Temple, Chan Suoi Temple, Thuong Ngan Goddess Temple and Tay Truc Lam Monastery in addition to traditional festivals and intangible cultural values such as folk singing and ancient rituals.

“Tam Dao has a wonderful climate and magnificent natural scenery. Our association also regularly organises training courses for our members here because they can work and rest at the same time. If the infrastructure system is better, it will be an ideal place for family weekend trips or MICE tourism development,” said Ms Nguyen Nhu Quynh from the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso).

A consistent strategy needed
With many natural advantages, Tam Dao has a lot of opportunities to develop tourism. However, what has been achieved does not match the potential and expectations.

According to the statistics of the Vinh Phuc Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vinh Phuc province welcomed over 3.5 million visitors in the first nine months of 2017, an increase of 17 per cent over the same period in 2016, including over 23,000 foreigners. Tourism revenue totalled nearly VND1,200 billion. Particularly during the National Day, the province received over 22,600 tourists, with many going to Tam Dao. Traffic congestions to Tam Dao are common during the peak season.

In addition, Tam Dao town now has only 86 hotels and motels with nearly 1,600 rooms. Therefore, to meet the increasing demand of tourists, many roads have been built or upgraded. Nevertheless, unplanned construction is spoiling the natural scenery and ruining the tourism environment. Visitors are mainly for leisure with family or on business but Tam Dao does not have big hotels with modern facilities.

Mr Doan Anh Vu, lecturer at Hanoi University of Technology, said that the Vinh Phuc tourism industry needs a comprehensive tourism development strategy. Which will be the core product of Tam Dao: MICE or leisure? After defining this, it will need investment for target customer segments.

“Tam Dao tourism lacks many tourist facilities. If I bring my family to this resort, my children will have no place to play. If we go there for sightseeing, our eyes are blinded by buildings. Tam Dao has great climate and weather. If we go there for this, one day is enough for us. Nevertheless, it is waste of time travelling from Hanoi to Tam Dao in one day,” he added.

Mr Nguyen Van Tai, Director of Vietsense Travel Company, said, unplanned construction destroyed the unspoiled beauty of Tam Dao. Thus, after so many years, tourism remains a potential, not a spearhead economic sector as expected.

According to the Master Plan for Red River Delta and Northeast Coastal Tourism Development to 2020, Tam Dao is defined to be a “mountainous place for weekend leisure, ecological tourism and MICE tourism.” To realise this vision, it is necessary for functional agencies to formulate a comprehensive, coordinated and specific development strategy. The construction investment should be concentrated on a larger scale, and more utilities should be added such as swimming pool, children's playgrounds, and high-quality meeting rooms. Cultural values and exchanges should be promoted as well. Roads, power grid and supporting facilities are necessarily built or upgraded to facilitate the travelling of tourists and form a healthy and classy tourist environment.

In addition, it is necessary to educate and improve tourism skills for local people, promote the image of Tam Dao and establish cooperation with other tourist sites, travel companies and event companies.

Given its existing potential, Tam Dao needs a consistent development strategy to make groundbreaking successes in tourism development.

Giang Tu

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