Delta province places bet on potential for tourism
The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Ben Tre is seeking VND1.5 trillion (US$84.5 million) in investment funds for seven projects to further develop its tourism potential.
Despite current economic difficulties, the province had allocated VND10 billion for the tourism sector during the first six months of this year, said the provincial Department of Planning and Investment director, Do Minh Duc.
"However, the sum was not enough to solve the internal difficulties in its hospitality industry, Duc said.
Lack of typical tourism products, human resource shortages, inadequate accommodation and insufficient tourism infrastructure were problematic for the province in attracting visitors, he noted
Currently, the province has 35 hotels, only one of which has a three-star rating. This lack of good accommodation causes problems for local authorities trying to host large events in the province, according to the provincial People's Committee vice chairman, Nguyen Quoc Bao.
"Therefore, the province is trying to attract investors for three-and four-star hotels," Bao said.
In order to attract more arrivals, Viettravel Deputy General Director Trieu Cong Tinh Thanh suggested the province engage in tourism promotion by building unique products out of coconuts to lure tourists.
For the seven tourism projects needing investment, support was needed from domestic investors and also from consulate offices in HCM City to find suitable investors, said a representative from Saigontourist.
In the first six months of this year, the province hosted over 240,000 visitors, 100,000 of whom were foreigners, an increase of 11.5 per cent over last year that was mainly attributed to the new Rach Mieu Bridge across the Tien River.
Revenue from tourism was estimated at VND105 billion ($6 million), a yearly rise of 30 per cent.
Ben Tre's plan for tourism development by 2015 would require about VND1 trillion ($61.2 million) to implement; the figure required would be VND2.49 trillion ($140.3 million) by 2020.
Under the plan, the province aimed to attract 780,000 tourists by 2015. By 2020, 1.16 million tourists are planned for, hopefully bringing in VND1.82 trillion (over $100 million) in revenue for the province.
"Top priority is being given to developing the tourism sector, and favourable conditions for investment in the sector are being created," said the provincial People's Committee chairman, Nguyen Thai Xay.
The province would continue to streamline its administrative procedures by applying its "one-door" policy, offering investors effective assistance while implementing their projects and some incentives such as land rental reduction.