The tourism sector of Ha Giang province has made great progress to become a major tourist center in the northern border area and assert its name on the tourism map of Vietnam, the region and the world. To find out more information, our reporter has an exclusive interview with Mr. Nguyen Hong Hai, Director of Ha Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Nguyen Bach reports.
Could you briefly introduce outstanding tourism results of Ha Giang province in the past time?
Ha Giang is a northern mountainous border province which serves as an exchange place for Northeast and Northwest cultural regions and lies near to the tourist market of Yunnan province, China. Ha Giang is naturally endowed with many majestic and charming landscapes like the imposing frontier Lung Cu flagpole; a living place for 19 ethnic groups like Mong, Dao, Pa Then, Co Lao, Lo Lo, Bo Y, Phu La and Pu Peo with distinctive cultural identities, unique festivals, and colorful charming cultures. Especially, in October 2010, Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark was recognized by UNESCO as a global geopark, marking a dramatic change in Ha Giang tourism quantity and quality.
To unlock local potential, over the years, Ha Giang province has adopted many quality-focused measures and investment-prioritized policies for sustainable tourism development, conservation and promotion of natural resources, traditional cultural heritage values, geomorphologic features and scenic beauty. The province has created diversified, rich and attractive tourism products to form three tourism spaces, with Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark defined as a key space for tourism development.
In 2015 - 2020, international tourist arrivals grew by 16% a year. In 2020, Ha Giang welcomed 1.5 million visitors and made total revenue of VND2,477 million, 200% more than in 2015, becoming a Top 3 favorite destination of Vietnam in 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, Ha Giang tourism was honored to be in a Top 10 destination in Vietnam, featuring beautiful natural landscapes, rich cultural traditions and safety in the event of COVID-19 epidemic outbreak, as voted by international media agency CNN.
To achieve these successes, Ha Giang province has adopted many solutions to attract tourists and restore tourism activities. The province has also developed itself as a safe destination brand according to four criteria, namely safe passenger transportation; safe accommodation; safe restaurants and safe destinations, creating peace of mind for tourists when coming to the province. It has, at the same time, developed a program to stimulate demand and reduce ticket prices at tourist attractions. The province has well managed the quality of tourism establishments and businesses, and encouraged them to reduce prices, improve service quality, or implement promotion programs.
How has Ha Giang province focused on attracting strategic and key investors, socializing tourism development, and conserving and fostering cultural heritage values to create unique and appealing tourism products?
Ha Giang always creates favorable conditions and enabling environment for tourism businesses. In 2015 - 2020, the province mobilized VND1,000 billion for tourism development investment. Major projects included Phia Piu Resort in Bac Me district, H'Mong Village in Quan Ba district, Truong Xuan, Mo Neo Mountain Resort Complex invested by FLC Group, Yen Bien Luxury Hotel, and Phoenix Hotel and Shophouse Complex invested by Vingroup.
To achieve this result, Ha Giang province has focused on directing and prioritizing the synchronous execution of key tasks like accelerating administrative reform, facilitating enterprises to do business, and coordinating relevant bodies to clear difficulties faced by enterprises. The province has also managed sector planning to ensure that investment projects in Ha Giang are complying with current regulations and planning, especially those in Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark, increasing investment fund for transport infrastructure construction, reviewing and rearranging appropriate land funds for investors to develop service facilities and high-quality tourist attractions.
At the same time, the province has promoted and reformed tourism advertising in domestic key markets such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Can Tho and Khanh Hoa, and international markets such as the United States, Europe, Australia, Japan and South Korea. Ha Giang has also paid attention to cooperation with businesses and investors in tourism product research and development, based on local potential advantages; and ensured balanced harmony of interests among investors, tourists, the local community and other stakeholders.
Developing tourism into an important economic sector is a major goal set in the Resolution of the 17th Provincial Party Congress. What are key tasks and solutions for sustainable tourism development of Ha Giang in the coming time?
Immediately after the 17th Provincial Party Committee (2020-2025 term) adopted the resolution, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism actively advised the provincial government to develop a thematic resolution on Ha Giang tourism development into a leading economic sector in 2021 - 2025 and consulted the Provincial People's Committee on action plans with specific objectives and tasks to meet with new development requirements.
The department will follow the province’s direction specified in Program 29-CTr/TU dated July 24, 2017 of the Standing Board of the Provincial Party Committee to carry out Resolution 08-NQ/TW on tourism development into a leading economic sector; Resolution 17-NQ/TU dated September 7, 2018 of the 16th Provincial Party Committee on Ha Giang economic restructuring to 2030; focused sustainable tourism development, conserved and promoted cultural identity values; effectively managed and utilized natural resources, diversified tourism products, protected the environment, biodiversity, actively responded to natural disasters and epidemics, and ensured national defense and security.
It will concentrate resources for tourism development, attract investment in professional and effective high-class tourism services; strengthen connectivity and cooperation to expand markets and improve tourism competitiveness. By 2025, the tourism industry will basically become a key economic sector with modern facilities to create a driving force for socioeconomic development; develop well-branded high-class tourism products imbued with national cultural identity; attract 3 million tourists; and earn total tourism revenue of VND7,800 billion to account for 10.34% of the province’s economy. The sector will create 28,200 jobs, including 14,100 full-time jobs.
To achieve the above goals, the sector will continue to advise and carry out priority tasks and solutions like changing the mindset and raising awareness on tourism development; diversifying competitive tourism products; renovating and improving the quality of investment promotion contents; introduce mechanisms and policies on tourism development; invest in tourism infrastructure construction; and enhance the capacity and performance of tourism administration. In particular, the province has organized and coordinated with tourism businesses and People's Committees of districts and the city to research and survey all tourism resources toward improving and designing more tourism products to attract more investors and visitors.
Ha Giang Tourism Department advised the Provincial People's Committee and carried out many solutions to realize the "dual goal" of epidemic prevention and socioeconomic development. Could you please tell us about programs and plans on tourism stimulation and domestic tourism expansion?
Right from the beginning of the year, the department advised the provincial government to work out actionable programs and plans to stimulate demand and promote the domestic tourism market to build new unique stimulus products to attract tourists. Following directions of the Government and the province to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic development, the sector has made great efforts to coordinate with relevant agencies and localities to carry out approved plans. Specifically, the sector will, from now to the end of this year, organize a series of events to celebrate the 130th founding anniversary of Ha Giang province, the 30th anniversary of re-establishment, the 60th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s visit to Ha Giang; and take part in the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Festival 2021 and the Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) 2021 in Hanoi according to Plan 112/KH-NHT on tourism cooperation agreed by eight Northwest provinces.
In addition, carrying out activities within the tourism cooperation program framework between eight Northwest provinces and Ho Chi Minh City in the last six months of 2021 led by Ha Giang province, the department will organize Northwest Tourism Culture Week 2021 in Hanoi; host a series of tourism events in Ha Giang (Northwest and HCM City Beauty Contest; a tourism product survey program in eight Northwest provinces; a business meeting on tourism product development cooperation and the tourism development cooperation program launched by eight Northwest provinces and Ho Chi Minh City in 2021). It will also organize the Hoang Su Phi Terraced Field Cultural Heritage Week and Ha Giang Buckwheat Flower Festival 2021.
At the same time, Ha Giang will organize typical sports and entertainment activities to attract tourists such as marathon, paragliding over Hoang Su Phi terraced fields, and boat racing on Nho Que River.
Source: Vietnam Business Forum