Making Dien Bien a Destination Well Worth Visiting

11:06:03 AM | 6/4/2015

Dien Bien is home to much unique cultural heritage, with many such sites recognised as intangible heritages of the nation. Dien Bien also has Dien Bien Phu Battlefield where Vietnam’s victory against French invaders in 1954 shocked the world. In the past years, the province has introduced many policies to promote tourism development. Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Doan Van Chi, Deputy Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Dien Bien province. Binh Minh reports.
Could you please introduce some of the remarkable results the tourism industry of Dien Bien province has achieved? What are the core factors producing these results?
In 2014, the 60th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu Victory affirmed the significance, magnitude and historical value of this victory and affirmed the judicious leadership of the Party and President Ho Chi Minh, the spirit of national great unity, and the strength of the Vietnam People's Army. Celebratory events were organised with the aim of educating young generations about patriotic traditions, extending undying gratitude to the generations sacrificing their lives for the cause of national liberation, construction and defence, consolidating the people's faith in Party leadership, and reiterating the strong determination and efforts to realise economic and social development, security and defence tasks in 2014 and subsequent years and create the motivations for Dien Bien province in particular and the Northwest region in general to reach rapid and sustainable development. With commemorative events, tourist arrivals to Dien Bien province climbed sharply. In 2014, the province welcomed 440,000 tourists, up 15.6 percent over 2013. International tourists, of 84 nationalities, reached 75,000, an increase of 12.35 percent against 2013. Tourists from Laos accounted for 17.8 percent of total foreign arrivals, followed by France with 16.6 percent and Thailand with 9.5 percent. Tourism revenue was VND540 billion, up 24.5 percent against 2013. Currently, the province has 120 tourist accommodation establishments with more than 1,700 rooms, including one 4-star hotel, two 3-star hotels, five 2-star hotels and four 1-star hotels. State agencies also have their own official accommodations for their employees like the Office of Provincial Party Committee, the Office of the Provincial People's Committee and Offices of District People’s Committees.
In my opinion, these impressive results came from several factors:
Dien Bien is endowed with beautiful nature, tropical monsoon climate and diverse terrain, featured by majestic rivers, lakes and landscapes. The province has a plenty of attractive natural tourism resources like Pa Khoang Lake, Muong Nhe Nature Reserve, Muong Phang Historical Forest and Landscape, Pa Thom Cave, Tham Pua Cave, Hua Pe and U Va Hot Springs (Dien Bien district), Sang Village (Tuan Giao district) and Son La hydropower reservoir. Dien Bien also has many historical sites linked with the cause of national construction and defence, typically Muong Luan Tower, Van Tam Citadel, Ban Phu Citadel, Hoang Cong Chat Temple and especially Dien Bien Phu Battlefield. Dien Bien shares national borderlines with both China and Laos. Its traffic infrastructure is being constructed or upgraded to form key routes, including Dien Bien Phu Airport which was planned to be built into an international airport, Son La - Hoa Binh - Ha Tay - Hanoi road system to the Red River Delta, Lai Chau - Lao Cai - Yen Bai - Phu Tho to the Northeast region. Hence, Dien Bien has become a connecting point for northern provinces of Vietnam with provinces of Northern Laos, Southwest China and Southern Myanmar. These favourable conditions enable the province to develop tourism, service, trade, border economic development with other countries in the subregion.
The province is home to 19 ethnic groups with unique cultural identities. Each group has its own unique culture, including tangible and intangible cultures; traditional social and cultural institutions; production and livelihood traditions; religious festivals; and food specialities. These tourism resources are very appealing to tourists, especially foreigners. In addition, the hospitality and enthusiasm of Dien Bien people is also a plus in attracting tourists.
What does the Dien Bien tourism industry need to do to become a leading economic sector and create sustainable development?
In spite of achieving important results that lay the groundwork for future development, Dien Bien tourism is facing underlying challenges that require effective coordination of all sectors and the community to address.
To tackle those difficulties, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism is actively advising on the effective implementation of the Overall Plan for Dien Bien Tourism Development until 2020; enhancing operations of the Steering Board for Tourism Development to guide and coordinate provincial and district agencies to carry out tourism development programmes, projects and plans; studying policies to resources for tourism infrastructure development, including GMS Project on tourism infrastructure upgrading investment; effectively operating international tourism routes to northern Laos and northeast Thailand; enhancing human resources training courses; and selecting key tourism markets to launch promotion programmes to draw tourists.
What are some major tourism promotion tasks of Dien Bien in the coming time?
To successfully promote tourism development, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has developed the following tasks:
Enhancing State management on tourism, facilitating tourism development, creating stable financial resources for tourism development; promoting the guiding role of the Steering Board for Tourism Development in tourism activities;
Coordinating with relevant departments to advise the Provincial People's Committee to complete mechanisms and incentives to attract capital for key tourism projects and recreational areas to diversify tourism products to prolong the stay of tourists;
Adjusting and supplementing the Master Plan for Dien Bien Tourism Development to 2020, with a vision to 2030, gradually building detailed plans for national and local tourist attractions;
Training and improving the quality of State tourism officials; fostering people's knowledge of community tourism, developing tourism trainers and tour guides;
Strengthening cooperation with major tourist centres (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang) to attract tourism product development investment, and support travel firms to bring tourists to Dien Bien province.