Kon Tum Tourism - Constant Innovation for Development

3:44:11 PM | 10/10/2013

Dubbed as the “Junction of Indochina” on the Truong Son Range or the Annamite Range, Kon Tum province is endowed with remarkable strengths and conditions to develop tourism. Bui Thi Thanh Van, Director of Kon Tum Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the province is now stepping up tourism development to rapidly reach sustainability, making tourism a flagship industry of the province by 2020. Hoang Lam reports.
Being a culturally diverse land with six indigenous ethnic groups and having great scenic beauty, Kon Tum has significant potential for tourism development. So, how effectively has the province tapped this potentiality?
In the past years, with the direct guidance of the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial People's Committee and the expert assistance of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Kon Tum province has tapped and achieved positive tourism development results. Specifically, the province welcomed 94,800 tourists in the first six months of 2013 and grossed total tourism revenue of VND216.240 billion, up 14.8 per cent year on year. Tourism activities have thrived since the enforcement of the Decision 298/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister approving the Mang Den tourism site construction plan and the Kon Plong township master plan in Kon Plong district, Kon Tum province till 2030.
Tourist tours, routes and destinations in the province are very attractive to investors, especially for international tourists from France, Canada, the United States, Germany, Laos and Thailand. Famous tours include taking a dugout canoe on the Dak Bla River, trekking into Kon Ko Tu - Kon Ba Forest from Kon Ko Tu village, and spending nights in Kon Ko Tu communal houses or Rong House in Dak Ro Va commune. International tourist-attracting destinations include mountainous villages of Ba Na people near Kon Tum city, statues in graveyards of Gia Rai people in Plei Ko Lei, Plei Bua and Plei Ve villages. Especially, Mang Den ecological tourist site is known as the paradise in the Central Highlands where the climate is mild. Many travellers from Thailand and Laos cross the Bo Y International Border Gate to visit this site.
However, compared with other provinces in the region, the number of tourist arrivals in Kon Tum province remains very modest. Therefore, in the coming years, the Kon Tum tourism industry will strive to unlock its advantages for tourism development. To develop a sustainable, unique tourism, Kon Tum will research and find unparalleled tourism products in the Central Highlands region.
What are key tourism types in the province, as measured by their contributions to the province’s socioeconomic development? How has the province focused on developing these tourism types?
Currently, ecological and cultural tourism is a flagship type of tourism and has great contributions to local social and economic development. As mentioned above, Kon Tum has many natural landscapes, pristine tourist attractions and famous scenic spots. To give priority to the development of this tourism form, Kon Tum province has invested and planned Mang Den ecological tourist site which was recognised as a national resort in February 2013. In addition, typical tourism destinations are always invested to draw more tourists, like Kon Ko Tu Cultural Tourism Village in Dak Ro Va commune or Dak To - Tan Canh Victory Monument in Dak To district. Particularly, the Kon Tum Provincial People’s Committee has approved ecological and tourism development plans in border-sharing areas with Cambodia and Laos. Additionally, Kon Tum also calls for infrastructure construction for tourist attractions like roads to Dak Uy - Dak Ha specialised forests, roads to Yaly Lake, roads to Dak Ke Lake, Toong Dam Lake, Pa Si Waterfall, and Mang Ken national tourist site.
With its numerous advantages for tourism development, how has Kon Tum province cooperated with other localities in the region and in the country as a whole to attract tourists and investors?
The Provincial People’s Committee has directed the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to form tourism development cooperation with Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh provinces to realise the Kon Tum - Quang Ngai - Binh Dinh tourism development cooperation programme signed in October 2011 by Binh Dinh, Quang Ngai and Kon Tum provinces. The provinces jointly opened tours from Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai provinces to Mang Den national tourist site and Bo Y International Border Gate in Kon Tum province through National Road 24 or routes to Attapu - Xekong - Champasak provinces in Laos and Sisaket - Ubon provinces in Thailand. This cooperation has drawn a lot of tourists from Laos and Thailand to Kon Tum, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh provinces.
Besides, in the framework of the economic development cooperation programme between Kon Tum province and Ho Chi Minh City, the Departments of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the two localities organised review meetings on tourism development cooperation programme from 2007 to 2012 in July 2012 and signed an agreement to launch a continuation programme for the 2012-2017 period. This programme connects tourists sites in Kon Tum province with major travel firms in HCM City, bringing a lot of international tourists to the Central Highlands province. Thanks to the cooperation programme with the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the number of HCM City-based investors account for a third in Mang Den national tourist site (currently, 82 investment projects are located in Mang Den national tourist site). Every year, the Kon Tum Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism takes part in HCM City Tourism Festival and International Tourism Fair (ITE) in HCM City to strengthen the bilateral cooperation and introduce tourist attractions.
To develop tourism, apart from promoting popularity, how has Kon Tum province focused on completing infrastructure, investing places of interest and diversifying tourism products?
Tourism investment management and planning is given much importance. Currently, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Kon Tum has made adjustments to the “Kon Tum tourism development master plan in the 2008 - 2015 period, with a vision towards 2020" which was approved by the Kon Tum Provincial People’s Committee.
On February 5, 2013, the Prime Minister issued Decision 298/QD-TTg approving the construction plan of Mang Den ecological tourism zone and Kon Plong township master plan in Kon Plong district till 2030. According the Mang Den ecological tourism zone has a total area of over 138,000 ha, with the core being the Kon Plong ecological township covering 14,000 ha and having 10,000 dwellers. Kon Plong Township is the heart of tourism in Mang Den eco-tourism site. This residential zone has recreational service, eco-tourism, sports, entertainment, restaurant, and theme parks. The province turns investment focus into ecotourism, restaurant and hotel facilities, clinics and physical practising facilities.
In addition, infrastructure systems in local places of interests like Chu Mom Ray National Forest (Sa Thay district), Dak Uy special-use forest, Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve (Dak Glei district) and Dak To Hot Spring (Dak To district).
The diversification of tourism products is underlined. Kon Tum has effectively promoted tourist routes: Green Central Highland road, Indochina heritage route, caravan routes from Thailand to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Caravan travelling is now quite popular and Bo Y International Border Gate Economic Zone is a frequent transit point.