Coming to An Giang province today, visitors will be certainly surprised by the new look and prosperity of this land. An Giang today has risen to become a new tourism symbol of the Southwest region with many unique tourism products and many attractive tourist destinations, including Sam Mountain National Tourist Area baptized a tourism symbol of the Southwest bordering province.
Tourism development coupled with relic value promotion
Sam Mountain Tourist Area is a complex of nearly 200 temples, pagodas and shrines from the foot to the top of the mountain where there are many historical, cultural and spiritual relics recognized as national values by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism such as Ba Chua Xu Temple, Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb, Tay An Pagoda (Phat Thay Pagoda), and Phuoc Dien Pagoda (Hang Pagoda). Ba Chua Xu Festival on Sam Mountain, which is held in the fourth lunar month, is one of famous spiritual tourist attractions of the Mekong Delta and the whole country. Every year, millions of pilgrims come here to visit and pray for peace, helping create a bustling and unique festival space. Preserved and practiced for generations in Chau Doc, the festival is imbued with the cultural identity of Southwestern residents, demonstrating identity and continuity of Kinh people in the process of cultural exchanges with Hoa, Khmer and Cham ethnic groups. After being recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2014, in March 2022, Ba Chua Xu Festival was agreed by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam to be submitted to UNESCO for consideration and inclusion in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This will open up great opportunities for tourism development in the mysterious That Son (Seven Mountains) land.
To develop Sam Mountain Tourist Area into a national tourist destination, An Giang province always utilizes central and local budget to invest in infrastructure modernization and traffic infrastructure projects linked to the tourist site. The province already completed upgrading Chau Doc - Nui Sam Road, the roundabout route of Sam Mountain Cultural Park, the Chau Doc - Tinh Bien bypass of National Highway 91; the passenger port in Chau Doc, and Sam Mountain Cultural Park - the first Buddhist theme park in Vietnam with world-class exhibits and scale.
While the local budget is still limited, the province also actively calls for investors to invest in projects in Sam Mountain Tourist Area. For example, Sao Mai An Giang Group invests in building an 5-star world-class hotel and eco-resort. Van Binh An Company invests in Truong Gia Mo Lake Resort and Sam Mountain Garden. MGA Vietnam Company invests in Sam Mountain Cable Car Spiritual Cultural Area. After five years of construction and testing, on February 12, 2022, a new modern cable car system at Sam Mountain Cable Car Spiritual Cultural Area was officially inaugurated, capably running around the clock to serve tourist needs at Sam Mountain National Tourist Area.
Most recently, on March 21, 2022, Chau Doc City also held a groundbreaking ceremony to invest VND11.3 billion to build the Welcome Gate for Sam Mountain National Tourist Area to increase beauty and promote the image of Chau Doc City to domestic and foreign tourists. Previously, the city also held a groundbreaking ceremony for conservation, embellishment and promotion of Ba Ngu National Relic on the peak of Sam Mountain, costing over VND29 billion, in order to preserve, embellish and promote heritage values.
Appeal from open policy
On December 27, 2017, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 2098/QD-TTg on Master Plan for Development of Sam Mountain National Tourist Area to 2025, with a vision to 2030. After that, the An Giang Provincial People’s Committee launched a specific plan for implementation of the Master Plan on Sam Mountain National Tourist Area Development in order to make this tourist area a national cultural and spiritual tourism center of the country.
According to the master plan, An Giang province directs development of Sam Mountain Tourist Area, aiming to make it an attractive and highly competitive tourist destination. By promoting values of Ba Chua Xu Temple, Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb, Tay An Pagoda and Hang Pagoda, the province has created distinctiveness and specificity of tourism products and made the name of tourist areas; built and developed tourism products suitable to their potentials and strengths; and created specific and competitive tourism products in the region, in the country and in the world. Sam Mountain Tourist Area will be developed to meet criteria of national tourist area by 2025 and become a cultural and spiritual tourism, entertainment, community tourism and ecological tourism center of the Mekong Delta and the nation. Together with Chau Doc City and neighboring tourist spots, it will become an important destination of the Mekong Delta region and the whole country.
According to the master plan, Sam Mountain National Tourist Area will welcome about 6 million visitors (including 800,000 staying visitors) by 2025 and about 7 million visitors (more than 1 million staying visitors) by 2030. Tourism revenue was estimated at over VND2,600 billion by 2025 and VND6,000 billion by 2030. The tourist site will create over 5,000 jobs by 2025 and 9,000 jobs by 2030.
In 2020, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 2179/QD-TTg on establishment of Management Board of Sam Mountain National Tourist Area of An Giang province by reorganizing Management Board of Sam Mountain Monuments, Culture History and Tourism of Chau Doc City.
Mr. Huynh Thanh Cu, Deputy Director of Management Board of Sam Mountain National Tourist Area, said, the Management Board of Sam Mountain National Tourist Area of An Giang province is a public service unit that can self-finance recurrent expenditures directly under the An Giang Provincial People's Committee, assist the committee to directly manage Sam Mountain National Tourist Area; provides cultural tourism services in Sam Mountain National Tourist Area according to Decision No. 2098/QD-TTg dated December 27, 2017 on master plan on overall development of Sam Mountain National Tourist Area to 2025 and further to 2030.
To achieve these goals, every year An Giang province launches tourism investment promotion for Sam Mountain National Tourist Area; focus on developing typical, specific, high-class tourism products highly competitive in the region, in the nation and in the world; focus on promoting cultural, historical and spiritual values of the tourist area and locally typical cultural identity; prioritize development of cultural and spiritual tourism products, including pilgrimage, Ba Chua Xu festival and visits to Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb.
At the same time, An Giang tourism industry has effectively carried out tourism development cooperation program between Mekong Delta provinces and Ho Chi Minh City; cooperated and expanded tourism markets in Southeast and Central Highlands provinces; and organize inter-provincial and international tourist routes. In the province, the tourism industry has strengthened cooperation and coordination in tourism product development between Sam Mountain National Tourist Area with prominent tourist destinations in An Giang province such as Tinh Bien Border Gate, Tra Su Melaleuca Forest, Cam Mountain (Tinh Bien district), Oc Eo Relic Site (Thoai Son district), Tuc Dup Hill (Tri Ton district) and Bung Binh Thien (An Phu district). At the same time, it has cooperated with important tourist zones and attractions of the Mekong Delta to create attractive intra-regional and inter-regional tourism products to draw a large number of tourists to experience and explore.
To develop tourism into a spearhead economic sector, An Giang province is giving priority to creating a wide range of tourism and improving service quality, with focus placed on Sam Mountain National Tourist Area. The province will issue investment incentive policies for investors; develop incentive policies on capital, land, site clearance, funding, tax and credit. The provincial government also commits to always support and create all favorable conditions for investors to implement infrastructure projects to turn Sam Mountain Tourist Area into a national tourist area and soon into a unique spiritual and cultural tourism center of the Mekong Delta and the whole country. In particular, the province will also have a policy of prioritizing high-quality investment projects and environment-friendly services to foster and enhance the brand value of Sam Mountain National Tourist Area.
Source: Vietnam Business Forum