A road in Northwestern region (Source: news.otofun.net)

Transport linkage has been identified as the key factor to further drive the Northwestern region’s social-economic development, according to delegates at a recent conference.

Scientists, investors and local officials shared their opinions and solutions to fully tap the region’s potential at the conference on mechanisms and policies to boost connectivity in the Northwestern region that was held in Hanoi on October 24.

According to Truong Xuan Cu, Deputy Head of the Steering Committee for Northwestern Region, the region has strategic importance in terms of national defence, security and external relations. However, it remains the poorest region in the country.

He said besides objective reasons, the region showed many own weaknesses, such as slow administrative reform, poor management and a lack of strong mechanisms and policies to attract local and international resources for development.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong said transport infrastructure bears an extremely important significance and is a breakthrough factor in the region’s development.

Despite the general improvement of the road network in the region and the completion of some big transport projects such as Noi Bai - Lao Cai Highway, the transport network has failed to keep pace with the region’s development, he said, pointing to the absence of connectivity among road networks, waterways, railways and aviation services.

Participants at the meeting agreed that suitable mechanisms are necessary to attract investment in transport, with high priority given to highway routes connecting provinces of Lai Chau, Tuyen Quang, Ha Giang, Bac Kan, Hoa Binh and other provinces.

Management and use of major waterways in the region should be improved, railway routes and existing airports needed to be upgraded, while new airports should be built in Lai Chau and Lao Cai to meet increasing transport demand, they said.

Tourism is also another main point of discussion at the conference.

Attendees took note of the region’s tourism, which has seen an increasing number of tourists and more diverse tourism services, but urged more investment in tourism infrastructure, tourism personnel training and linkage among localities in the region.-VNA