A construction site on Son Tra Mountain. (Photo: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA) - Tourism construction on Son Tra Peninsula could come to a dramatic halt, after the Da Nang People’s Committee met on August 28 with the city’s tourism association to discuss the Son Tra Tourism Area Development Master Plan.

At the meeting, officials proposed cancelling all projects that are located in “sensitive” areas and likely influence security and national defence on Son Tra Peninsula. The city also proposed restricting construction to areas on the peninsula below 100m above sea level; under the status quo, construction may occur up to 200m above sea level.

The outcome of the meeting represents a serious turn away from earlier plans for major tourism construction on the peninsula.

Under a plan outlined in May 2013 and approved in November 2016, Son Tra Mountain on the Son Tra Peninsula was set to become a national tourism site and luxury eco-tourism resort complex by 2030, able to accommodate 300,000 tourists with 1,600 luxury hotel rooms.

As soon as the plan was publicised in February this year, the city’s Tourism Association strongly opposed it, saying that hotels and buildings on the peninsula would threaten its biodiversity as well as social stability and national defence there.

Three months ago, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam asked the city to halt all constructions on the peninsula for further review and to allow time to collect public opinions in order to submit a final proposal for changes to the tourism development plan.

After the August 28 meeting, the People’s Committee is sending their proposals to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. If he accepts the new restrictions, the massive eco-tourism resort complex will not be built.

At the meeting, deputy chief of office of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Tien said that before the plan was approved, the city granted licences to ten investors to develop 18 tourism projects providing about 5,000 rooms on the peninsula.

Tien said that after reviewing, the city decided to cancel projects located on the eastern and northeastern parts of the peninsula – considered “sensitive military areas”.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, vice chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said that buildings were only allowed below the elevation of 100m of the peninsula. Most of them are to the west and southwest of the city so that they would better connect with the city’s centre as it expands in the future.

Tuan also said that the city did not plan to develop a tourism area in the eastern and northeastern parts of the peninsula because they are the home of endangered langurs and valuable herbals.

Head of the city’s tourism association Huynh Tan Vinh said that the association wanted no tourist accommodations to be built on Son Tra Peninsula. 

“Over 15,000 people have signed a petition on preserving the peninsula,” he said. Earlier, the association sent the Prime Minister its recommendation that no further tourist accommodations should be built beyond the 300 rooms currently on the peninsula.

The 4,400-ha Son Tra Peninsula, about 10km away from the north east of Da Nang city’s centre, is regarded as a harmonious ecosystem between the forest and sea in Vietnam.

According to the latest report from the centre for biodiversity research and conservation (GreenViet), more than 237 herds of red-shanked douc langurs, comprising over 1,300 individuals, are living in the Son Tra Nature Reserve on the peninsula.-VNA