Boosting Ha Tinh Tourism Development

12:02:33 AM | 3/7/2012

Ha Tinh province has a large number of historical and cultural relics and vestiges. To learn more about the local tourism potential and development trend, Vietnam Business Forum had a discussion with Mr Vo Hong Hai, Director of Ha Tinh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Phan Quang reports.
Sacred land and talented people
Firstly, what do you think about the characteristics of people in the Central Region in general and Ha Tinh ones in particular?
It is normal in most regions that the rivers and mountains are considered the symbols. For example, Hue is symbolized by the Huong River and Ngu Mountain; Nghe An is symbolized by the Lam River and Hong Mountain. In the Central Region, there are many rivers and mountains and in Ha Tinh, the estuary to the sea is also beside the mountain. The concentration of rivers and mountains make it a special land.
The Lam River flows to Sot estuary, and then is blocked in Trung Luong, Ha Vang, Nghen town before finally pouring to Hoi Estuary. In Ha Tinh there are many significant changes of terrain and rivers. That might be the reason why the people here are so hardworking and determined. Confucian scholar Bui Duong Lich commented: Central Region people are straight to the extent of being tough and obstinate, and thrifty to the extent of stinginess.
Has local political history also contributed to making up people’s characteristics?
Yes. In the past, the southern bank of the Lam River was the conjunction between Sa Huynh and Dong Son civilisation with the evidence of Bai Coi archeological site (Xuan Vien, Nghi Xuan). Sot Estuary (Ha Tinh) was the border between Dai Viet and Chiem Thanh and along the expansion to the South, Ha Tinh was the troop station for soldiers and emigrants. They all took a break here on the way to the South. This history makes people here tough, even obstinate.
Since it is the conjunction of culture, the first area on the way to the South, Ha Tinh has seen continuous population fluctuation. Even now, it is still common among many young people to go to the North or the South to settle and make their own business.
Could you tell us about Ha Tinh’s historical and cultural relics and vestiges?
There are many historical and cultural relics and vestiges in Ha Tinh. Natural sites include Ngang Mountain Pass (attached to Hoang Son Quan), Hong Linh Mountain, the Lam River, Thien Cam Sea, Xuan Thanh Beach. Historical relics include temple worshiping Ms Nguyen Thi Bich Chau (entitled Che Thang phu nhan – a queen in the dynasty of King Tran Due Tong), Ca temple, the temples worshipping Post Tran Dynasty commander Dang Tat, Dang Dung, especially Memorial Site for General Secretary Tran Phu, Ha Huy Tap, and revolutionary relics of Nghen T-junction and Dong Loc T-junction. Spiritual sites include Huong Tich Pagoda. Dong Loc T-junction and Memorial Site of Nguyen Du are especially notable. The reason for such pride in Ha Tinh is land and people who continuously make contribution to the spirit of their hometown.
How to boost tourism development
How would you describe local tourism potential?
Despite great potential, Ha Tinh has faced difficulties. Firstly, although it is said that Ha Tinh has convenient transport, many roads are degraded (such as Highway 8), Vinh Airport is more than 50 km away, Ha Tinh city has no train station. Secondly, despite a large number of relics, it lacks those with strong brand communication, while sea tourism season only lasts 3 months. Spiritual tourism is advantageous but difficult to gain economic benefits.
There are many tourism proposals which first sound strange but are in fact reasonable. There was a proposal for tourism in flooding season as a special product of Ha Tinh. We are afraid of floods, so why can’t we think about a solution that helps people balance with it and use tourism to benefit from it? Certainly, though, it’s a challenge to turn such a proposal into reality (laugh).
Can you share about the orientation in tourism economic development of Ha Tinh?
Considering Ha Tinh in the whole chain of the Central Region tourism economy, we can see that the Central Region has the unique heritage road in South East Asia which runs from Central Highland (with gong heritage) to Thanh Hoa (with Ho Dynasty Citadel). The issue is we have to build up service centres to make Ha Tinh a rest stop on the Central Heritage Road. Tour routes to Laos and Northeast Thailand also need rest stops and service centres to meet shopping demand of visitors.
To gain tourism development, it is necessary to settle infrastructure, establish rest sites as well as avoid scattered investment without concentration. At present, the province is preparing plans for Nguyen Du tourism site (on the area of 400ha), which can link to Cua Lo, Sen Village relic, Thien Cam and Xuan Thanh beaches.
Secondly, tourism development is firstly for Ha Tinh people and to meet tourism demand of local residents. In addition, Ha Tinh industrial development, with a variety of big industrial projects, will foster demand for resort tourism among businessman and workers.