Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Lao Cai (VNA) – The northwestern mountainous province of Lai Cai has made bold investment in developing tourism in an effort to make it a key economic sector.

The locality has developed numerous special tourism products and built tourism culture villages in Bac Ha, Sa Pa, Muong Khuong districts, thus preserving and promoting tangible and intangible cultural heritages.

A focus has been placed on promoting traditional crafts, such as brocade making, sculpture, blacksmith, and carpentry, as well as local special products such as rice, chili sauce, Sa Pa rose.

Community-based tourism models have been developed in ethnic minority areas, contributing to eradicating hunger and reducing poverty while raising the public awareness of protecting traditional cultural values.

Lao Cai has over 200 community-based tourism facilities. The Na Hoi – Ta Chai homestay complex in Bac Ha has been recognised as the ASEAN community-based tourism site.

The province’s tourism sector has also focused on diversifying its products and improving service quality. Some kinds of tourism have thrived such as resorts in Sa Pa and Bac Ha, ecotourism in connection with Fansipan and Hoang Lien Son National Park, shopping tourism in border gate areas, food discovery tours, spiritual tourism and cross-border tours.

Lao Cai has boosted tourism connection with nearby localities such as Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Lai Chau and Ha Giang.

Numerous tourism facilities have been built across the province, such as Thanh Kim, Ham Rong, Cat Cat resorts in Sa Pa, Ho Na Co in Bac Ha, and Fansipan cable network.

The province has also devised many policies facilitating tourism development with a view to turning itself into a key tourist destination of the northwestern region and the nation by 2030.

Lao Cai is featured by the 3,134 metre-high Fansipan peak, known as the roof of the Indochina, terrace fields, and Hoang Lien Son national park with diverse species of flora and fauna.

Cloud-covered Sa Pa town is a magnet to domestic and international tourists thanks to its picturesque landscapes and favourable climate for ecotourism development.

Besides, the province has numerous traditional festivals, such as the maturity ritual (Cap Sac) of the Dao ethnic minority, horse racing festival in Bac Ha district, as well as temples and pagodas to develop spiritual tourism.

It also boasts 18 national intangible cultural heritages, including the tug-of-war game of the Tay and Giay communities honoured by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and 18 national relic sites.

From 2011 – 2015, the number of tourists to Lao Cai increased by 22 percent annually.

Tourism has become an important economic sector, contributing 11.5 percent to the province’s GRDP during the  period.

In 2016, the locality received 2.7 million visitors, up 33 percent from 2015, including nearly one million foreigners.

The sector generated 6.3 trillion VND (278.28 million USD) and created jobs for 10,000 labourers.-VNA