Lao Cai Tourism Development: New Orientations

1:46:46 PM | 5/7/2016

Lao Cai province has a lot of favourable conditions for tourism development: geographical location, high mountain terrain, biodiversity and culture. Sa Pa Town, the most popular tourist attraction in Lao Cai province, is endowed with beautiful natural scenery.
Dubbed the “town in the clouds”, Sa Pa has a cool climate all year round. The weather in one day can have all four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The natural landscape is picturesque, featured by villages hidden in the mist and colourful blooming flowers. The town is peaceful, harmonious and spectacular, but very lively with weekend market fairs. Lao Cai is also home to Fansipan Peak of the Hoang Lien Son Range in Hoang Lien National Park. Fansipan Peak, with an altitude of 3,143 m, is known as the “Roof of Indochina”. Featured by stunning flora, fauna and nature, Hoang Lien National Park has a lot of Hoang Lien plant (goldthread) - a valuable medicinal herb, along with other rare trees, birds and animals such as grouse, bear, monkey and antelope.
In addition, this is an attractive tourist destination as it has distinctive indigenous cultures of 25 ethnic groups, lively market fairs and unique festivals and rituals.
Favourable conditions created for tourism development
In recent years, Lao Cai has issued many supportive policies for tourism development, including Resolution 39/NQ-HDND on master plan for Lao Cai tourism development in the 2015 - 2020 period, with a vision to 2030; and the Lao Cai tourism economic development scheme in the 2011-2015 phase. In particular, the master plan for Lao Cai tourism development in the 2015 - 2020 period, with a vision to 2030, defined that Lao Cai will be developed into a leading tourist destination in the Northwest region and one of major tourist attractions of the region and the country. By 2030, Lao Cai will be Vietnam’s largest centre of cultural natural upland tourism and have strong pull on domestic and international tourists with its pristine, majestic nature and diverse, characteristic cultures of ethnic groups which help shape distinctive tourism products. Newly opened Hanoi - Lao Cai Highway has reduced the driving time from Hanoi to Lao Cai from 7 - 8 hours to 3 - 4 hours and generated new motivations for socioeconomic development, including tourism between Hanoi with Lao Cai and other Northwest and Northeast provinces.
With synchronous infrastructure investment and smooth connectivity among authorities, businesses and resident communities, tourist arrivals to Lao Cai are on the rise in recent years. Tourist spending totalled VND4,500 billion in 2015.
Building unique product systems
Ecotourism is one of tourism strengths in Lao Cai because the province has many charming destinations such as Ham Rong Mountain, Bac Waterfall, May Bridge, Love Waterfall - Golden River (Sa Pa); Na Co Lake, Coc Ly hydropower reservoir area (Bac Ha district); Den Sang, Sang Ma Sao and Y Ty (Bat Xat district). Besides, community tourism associated with ethnic communities (Giay, Dao, Mong, Tay, Nung and Ha Nhi) is tapped in Sa Pa, Bac Ha, Bat Xat, Si Ma Cai, Muong Khuong and Bao Yen districts, notably characterised by market fairs, festivals and homestay accommodation. Adventure tourism is highlighted with the conquer the Roof of Indochina - Fansipan Peak, Bach Moc Luong Tu Mount (Bat Xat), Ba Me Con Mount (Bac Ha), paragliding and cliff climbing. Spiritual tourism at Truc Lam Dai Giac Monastery (kicked off in May 2015 and expected for completion in May 2017), Thuong Temple, Mau Temple and Doi Co Temple (Lao Cai) and Bao Ha Temple (Bao Yen) is connected with tourism services in Yen Bai and Phu Tho provinces.
Besides, the province has invested in development of some unique tourism products, such as tourism market fairs in Bac Ha, Si Ma Cai and Muong Khuong districts; flower-themed tourism in buckwheat flower areas (Bac Ha and Si Ma Cai districts), rhododendron flower areas (Y Ty district and Hoang Lien National Park), and flower valleys (Bac Ha district).
Resolution 39/NQ-UBND of the Lao Cai People's Council defined tourism development as priority tasks in economic development. The province will strive to realise the goal of becoming the largest mountainous natural cultural tourism centre in Vietnam in 2030.
Thanh Nga