For the past years, Tay Ninh province has focused on rationally and effectively unlocking its advantages to create a foundation and driving force for modern, professional tourism development and make the province an “attractive - friendly - safe” destination for tourists. The following conversation with Mr. Nguyen Hong Thanh, Director of the Tay Ninh Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, elaborates on these efforts. Cong Luan reports.
Could you please introduce your remarkable achievements in tourism investment?
To tap local potential and advantages for tourism development, Tay Ninh province has redefined the space for tourism development, positioned tourism products, trained and retrained tourism human resources, identified key investment projects, and boosted tourism promotion to call for investors. In the past five years, the province has managed to invite some investors into tourism sector. For example, Vingroup Joint Stock Company invested in a 5-star Vincom hotel, shophouse and trade center. Xuan Cau Co., Ltd invested in a forest protection and development project in combination with an eco-tourism site in Nhim Island, Dau Tieng Lake. Tay Ninh Sun Joint Stock Company was approved by the province to invest in a cable car project and ancillary works at Ba Den Mountain National Park. Saigon Co.op invested in Co.opmart supermarket chain and Bach Hoa Xanh general store system to basically meet shopping and entertaining demands of people and tourists.
Effective operational projects include Long Dien Son Resort, Ca Na Trade - Entertainment Center, Nui Ba Den Cable Car System - Phase 2, Sunrise Hotel and Vinpearl Hotel, thus helping the province draw more and more tourists. Each year, Tay Ninh receives 4 - 4.5 million visitors and achieves tourism revenue growth of 5-15%. Particularly in the first nine months of 2019, the province welcomed 2.5 million visitors, 4% more on year, and tourism revenue reached VND771 billion, an increase of 20% over the same period of 2018.
However, tourism currently contributes a small share to the economy. What are the causes and how will you address this reality?
Tay Ninh has a lot of potential for tourism development. However, at present, tourism makes up a small share in the local economy. I think the tourism of Tay Ninh province is still at an early stage of development. Achieved results are well below potential and expectations. There are a lot of reasons leading to this, including limited tourism products, low-quality tourism infrastructure, insufficient and underdeveloped entertainment facilities and trade centers. Hence, the province is still not attractive enough for tourists to stay for a long time. Tourism workers are weak at foreign language skills and communication skills. Tourism promotion is not strong enough to reach the international market while the fund for advertising and promotion is not much.
To overcome these shortcomings, in the coming time, Tay Ninh tourism will continue to execute Resolution 08-NQ/TW dated January 16, 2017, Action Plan 68-CTr/TU dated October 5, 2017, of the Provincial Party Committee on implementation of Resolution 08-NQ/TW dated January 16, 2017, of the Politburo (12th tenure) on tourism development into a key economic sector. The province will actively support investors to invest in Ba Den Mountain Resort; invite investors to key tourism projects; provide favorable conditions, mechanisms and policies to develop different types of support services such as restaurants, hotels, shopping centers and entertainment centers to serve tourists. This will help retain visitors and increase tourism revenue for the province.
In the meantime, the province will put a premium on innovating and diversifying tourism promotion; focus on developing high-quality professional tourism human resources, and pay attention to raising awareness of protecting natural resources and tourism environment where tourists visit.
How have you upgraded traffic infrastructure and connected tourism with other localities to add appeal to Tay Ninh tourism?
Tay Ninh is an important gateway to the southern key economic region with a synchronous transport system linked to other provinces and cities on Trans-Asia Road, National Highway 22A and National Highway 22B. These backbone traffic routes also connect the southern key economic region with Cambodia via Tay Ninh province and link Tay Ninh with Ho Chi Minh City and other provinces in the region.
By utilizing central budget, allocated to target programs on tourism infrastructure development, we have focused investment resources on socioeconomic infrastructure development, particularly transport infrastructure for local industrialization and modernization. Thus, many local roads have been completed, including Provincial Road 786, Provincial Road 788, Dien Bien Phu Road, Road 30-4, and Ben Dinh Bridge. The following ongoing projects will be completed and put into operation in 2020 and 2021, including Ly Thuong Kiet Road, extended Road 790, Road 781 (from Bo Ho junction to the border of Binh Duong province - Phase 2), Provincial Road 782 - Provincial Road 784, Dat Set - Ben Cui Road, An Hoa Bridge, Cay Oi Bridge, and Provincial Road 792 - Provincial Road 793.
Specially, the Tay Ninh Provincial People’s Committee and the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee have agreed to ask ministries and central agencies to propose that the Government assign Ho Chi Minh City to invest in Ho Chi Minh City - Moc Bai Expressway Project (Tay Ninh) to reduce travel time across provinces and cities in the region, especially economic centers of Ho Chi Minh City and the Kingdom of Cambodia, through the Moc Bai International Border Gate. Currently, the Prime Minister has agreed on the above proposal and the project is expected to be launched in 2021.
We have also asked the Government to add Go Dau - Xa Mat Expressway to the Vietnam Expressway System Plan to link to Ho Chi Minh City - Moc Bai Highway to create a driving force for socioeconomic development in the coming time, including tourism.
Could you tell us about the project on smart tourism development in Tay Ninh province in 2018-2021?
Knowing that smart tourism development is becoming a vital trend amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Tay Ninh Provincial People’s Committee has assigned the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to work with related departments to build the smart tourism scheme. Smart tourism system is a total solution which consists of tourism data integration infrastructure, tourism service ecosystem and scalable tourism applications, and tourism information access point infrastructure like public wifi system and travel information booth. The project aims to serve three main subjects: tourism authorities, residents and visitors, and tourism businesses. Through mobile applications and information access support infrastructure, citizens, tourists, tourism businesses and authorities will be interconnected.
Once the project is put into operation, the provincial tourism portal will connect authorities, residents, visitors and businesses, thus enabling authorities to supervise, administer and interact with tourism organizations and individuals, tourism businesses to connect with each other to form new tours and bring more tourists to Tay Ninh. Smart tourism application helps search information, automatically set up tours, and connect visitors with restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. Thus, the application will help people and tourists to look up and learn Tay Ninh tourism information fully and accurately. The digital map application of Tay Ninh tourism will allow visitors to find tourist destinations in the province quickly and accurately.
Thank you very much!