Last updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Ha Long Bay Management Department: Harmoniously Combining Preservation and Promotion of Heritage Values

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2019

Since being recognised as a World Natural Heritage by the UNESCO, Ha Long Bay has always been defined as a focal point and a driving force of tourism development in Quang Ninh province. To promote the strengths of this heritage effectively and sustainably, the Ha Long Bay Management Department constantly strives to conserve and promote Ha Long Bay's value. Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr. Pham Hong Ha, Director of Ha Long Bay Management Department, on this topic. Quynh Ngoc reports.

With ongoing efforts to manage, preserve and promote the heritage values, tourist arrivals to Ha Long Bay are on the increase. In the first 10 months of 2018, Ha Long Bay welcomed more than 3.38 million visitors, an increase of 5 per cent from the same period of 2017, including nearly 2.19 million foreign visitors, 6 per cent more than a year earlier. Ha Long Bay is expected to welcome 4.1 million visitors in 2018, up 4 per cent year on year, including 2.82 million foreign visitors, up 4 per cent.

Quang Ninh province has numerous advantages and potential for sustainable tourism development. So, how does the Ha Long Bay Management Department capitalise on those advantages and potential? What do you think about this?
Quang Ninh province has all topographic features of Vietnam; it is sometimes billed “a little Vietnam”. The province not only has a favourable location for connecting domestic and foreign tourist centres via road, sea and air transport systems, and a vibrant international border gate system but also has outstanding natural and cultural tourism resources. A 250-km coastline endows Quang Ninh with diverse, abundant marine resources featured by such landmarks Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Van Don Island, Bai Tu Long National Park, Co To Island and Mong Cai to constitute a large-scale resource chain. Together with its natural tourism potential, Quang Ninh is also proud of a system of its unique cultural tourism resources. Currently, the province is home to more than 600 historical and cultural relics, including nationally recognised relics like Yen Tu Scenic Relic Site, Tran Dynasty Relic in Dong Trieu, Bach Dang Pointy Pile Battlefield and Cua Ong Temple. Besides, scientists also proved that Quang Ninh is a prominent prehistoric cultural site of Vietnam with the Ha Long culture developed through three stages - Soi Nhu, Cai Beo and Ha Long. This place also illustrates the nation’s heroic victories in the history of building and defending the country and, at the same time, and contains tangible and intangible cultural values of 22 ethnic groups living together. These advantages enable Quang Ninh to develop sustainable tourism constituted by many types of tourism, such as maritime tourism and spiritual, cultural tourism. Based on such potential and advantages, the province has developed the tourism space constituted by four key tourism areas: Ha Long City with Ha Long Bay, Mong Cai - Tra Co with boundary tourism and border trade, Van Don - Co To with high-class beach resorts with casinos; and Uong Bi - Dong Trieu - Quang Yen with spiritual cultural tourism, with the focus placed on Yen Tu Temple, Ba Vang Pagoda, Tran Relic Site, and Bach Dang Relic Site.

With full potential and advantages for sustainable tourism development, the Ha Long Bay Management Department has made good use of those advantages and potential for sustainable conservation and promotion of Ha Long Bay Heritage and gradually made Ha Long a national and international sea tourism centre. With a unique natural landscape formed by multiform rock islands, natural sand dunes and vegetations, Ha Long Bay has become an attractive destination for tourism services such as sightseeing (admiring islands with various shapes, exploring the splendid cave system, visiting special sites selected as the shooting settings for blockbuster movies), ecotourism (visiting typical ecosystems such as Tung - Ang ecosystem, island vegetation ecosystem and fishing grounds, playing with golden monkeys), sports tourism (going banana buoys, kayaking, dragon boat racing or mountain climbing to explore majestic, sparkling landscape of Ha Long Bay), and amusing and shopping tourism (relaxing, sunbathing in a peaceful space, visit pearl-cultured areas to choose meaningful souvenirs). Besides, to promote marine tourism potential, the Ha Long Bay Management Department has focused on expanding the tourism space, investing in infrastructure, attracting businesses to bring new high-class services to tourists: high-class yachting, sport boat rowing and mountain climbing. These products have created new experiences and attracted more and more visitors to Ha Long Bay, especially international tourists.

Not only stunning holidaymakers with the spectacular sky and sea, Ha Long is also a unique cultural space, which blends the natural landscape with the life of indigenous inhabitants. This place is not only known as a common house of prehistoric people backdated 18,000 years with three splendid development periods: Soi Nhu, Cai Beo and Ha Long but also contains unique tangible and intangible cultural features of fishing communities. Today, although inhabitants already moved to the shore, their values are still preserved to create tourism products.

Determined to turn tourism into a key economic sector, Quang Ninh province has planned tourism spaces, improved infrastructure (highways, airports and international marina) and material facilities for tourism development, raised service quality, and expanded the tourism spaces. In Resolution 02-NQ/TU dated February 5, 2016 of the Executive Board of the Provincial Party Committee on service development of Quang Ninh province in 2016 - 2020, with an eye to 2030, the province targets to build Ha Long City into a modern tourism city by 2020.

As a direct manager of the heritage, the Ha Long Bay Management Department determined that taking advantage of local tourism opportunities and potential is an important step in managing, preserving and promoting the values of Ha Long Bay. At the same time, based on the direction and orientation of Quang Ninh province, the Management Department is always resolute to promote natural and cultural values of the heritage in couple with preserving, renovating and ensuring development objectives in association with protecting the ecological environment.

What measures has the Ha Long Bay Management Department carried out to preserve and promote heritage values of the Ha Long Bay World Natural Wonder?
In order to manage, conserve and sustainably promote the values of the Ha Long Bay World Natural Heritage Site, the Ha Long Bay Management Department has gradually improved regulatory mechanisms to keep up with practical requirements of heritage management (Regulation on management, protection and promotion of Ha Long Bay heritage; study, review, adjust and supplement detailed planning on management, conservation and promotion of the values of Ha Long Bay World Natural Heritage to 2020, with a vision of 2030; revise and supplement the management plan for Ha Long Bay Natural Heritage in the 2017-2021 period; coordinate with stakeholders to build and issue plans for management of high-speed boats, etc.); focused on professional work, scientific research and communication (implementing many provincial-level scientific topics on the preservation of scientific values of Ha Long Bay); drastically managed social, economic activities, ensured tourism business climate and security; continued to make clear changes in service management; invested, restored and upgraded key projects; supervised the environment at Ha Long Bay by intensifying management of waste; and sped up international cooperation, particularly with UNESCO. Particularly, the Ha Long Bay Management Department has concentrated on developing tourism services on Ha Long Bay: expanding the tourism spaces, proposing new unique tourism products for a wide range of tourists.

With its ongoing efforts in managing, preserving and promoting Ha Long Bay's values, tourist arrivals to Ha Long Bay have been on a stable rise over the years. Revenues from tourism activities at Ha Long Bay have contributed significantly to local socioeconomic development and improved people's living standards.

Thank you very much!

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