Hau Giang Making Effort to Turn Tourism into Important Economic Sector

6:00:11 PM | 25/9/2014

Along with optimistic socioeconomic development achievements, the tourism industry of Hau Giang province has witnessed a strong rise in tourist arrivals and played an important part in local economic development. Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr Pham Thanh Nhu, Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Hau Giang province, on this issue. Thanh Tam reports.
Hau Giang is part of Mekong Delta tourism region with the highest number of tourist arrivals. While utilising abundant tourism potential, how has the tourism industry focused on diversifying tourism forms?
Hau Giang has based on its local strengths and resources to diversify tourism forms, including the embankments of Xa No Canal (considered the longest river embankments in Vietnam). Beside completed projects like Viet Uc - Hau Giang Ecological Resort and Spring Forestry and Agriculture Centre, Hau Giang is now calling for investment capital for eight tourism projects, including Lung Ngoc Hoang ecological tourism site and Nga Bay floating market. While Lung Ngoc Hoang site features natural beauty, Nga Bay floating market typifies daily activities on the river, typical of the southern region.
Remarkably, pro-community tourism is a priority for development in Hau Giang province. Cau Duc pineapple in Hoa Tien commune (Vi Thanh City) and tangerine in Long Tri (Long My district) will be two first to be focused for the purpose. This type is not new and attractive to tourists, especially foreigners who prefer experiencing the rural life. We hope that Hau Giang will draw a lot of tourists with these products.
The tourism sector still has a lot of limitations like insufficient products and infrastructure like restaurants, hotels, bus stations and marinas to attract more travellers. So, how has the province addressed these weaknesses?
Objectively speaking, its tourism industry has a lower starting point than other provinces in the region, its tourism infrastructures are insufficient, and its tourism products are not typical and unique. Therefore, although tourist arrivals to Hau Giang increase year after year, the results are still below the potential. Personally, as a tourism official, I also have a lot of questions to be answered to tap the local tourism potential.
With the endeavours of the tourism sector, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will continue advising on tourism development and strengthening interdisciplinary coordination. The department will work with other agencies to provide best incentives and create the most attractive environment for tourism investors.
Besides, the tourism industry of Hau Giang province has promoted the autonomy and creativity in implementing typical tourism product development measures. Recently, the Hau Giang Scientific Council approved the pilot project to develop countryside tourism, led by Mr Nguyen Duy Tan, Deputy Director of the Department. This new model promises to bring many positive results when it is implemented.
Tourism stimulus is considered the right solution to make Hau Giang an appealing tourist destination. Could you tell us more about tourism stimulus measures of the province for the coming time?
We have focused on tourism stimulus measures and considered it a correct solution to attract more tourists to the province. So, in 2014, the tourism industry has launched a stimulus programme to boost tourism growth and ensure sustainable tourism in the coming years. Particularly, the tourism sector also responded to the tourism stimulus programme launched by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) to attract travel firms and tourist attraction operators to reduce service charges. This has drawn more tourists and prolonged their stays.
Regarding tourism promotion policy, based on the Tourism Handbook published in 2012, the province will update more information for tourism investors, tourism promoters and tourists. Hau Giang will also actively take part in tourism activities in the region to boost the image of the land and the people of Hau Giang and coordinate with relevant units to propagate local cultural, tourism and sports events to attract tourists, open training classes to improve the professional quality and expertise of tourism workers. In addition, the province will lead journalists and travel firms in Ho Chi Minh City and neighbouring provinces to visit and survey tourism in Hau Giang to write tourism articles.
Hopefully, the aforesaid positive tourism stimuli will attract more tourists to the Hau Giang in the future.
To develop tourism into a general economic sector to make a greater contribution to GDP growth, increase incomes for local people and to turn Hau Giang into a favoured tourism destination in the Mekong Delta, what policies has the province taken?
Recently, we have advised the Provincial People's Committee to establish a steering committee for tourism development. This is the condition for Hau Giang province to develop tourism. Besides, we have proposed that the Provincial People's Committee issue the Resolution on Hau Giang tourism development until 2020, with a vision to 2030, and create favourable conditions for tourism development.
In the coming time, we will coordinate with other agencies and localities to tap tourism potential in a sustainable manner and enhance the quality of tourism services and products. At the same time, we will strengthen tourism popularisation and promotion, attract investment capital for key projects, and accelerate the progress of ongoing tourism projects. We will also seek to prolong tourist stay duration, not merely increase arrivals.