Quang Ninh province has set a target of building Co To island district into a national eco – resort tourism area and gradually develop the island into a major tourist attraction in the tourism complex of Cat Ba - Ha Long - Van Don – Co To – Tra Co - Mong Cai.

To achieve this goal, the district has set an urgent task of promoting advertisement, attracting investment to the tourism sector, and selecting potential and experienced investors to implement high-quality business investment projects, Nguyen Duc Thanh, Secretary of the district Party Committee, Chairman of Co To district People's Committee, was quoted as saying by the Communist Party of Vietnam online newspaper.

Accordingly, by 2015, the province will complete essential infrastructure, especially high-quality traffic between the island and the mainland and works to supply power, water and telecommunications to create conditions to attract investment for tourism development.

In the period of 2015-2020, Co To will focus on developing high-quality ecotourism rapidly and sustainably, which is compatible with the characteristics of marine and island tourism with diverse forms of tourism, sports and entertainment.

It is expected that from now to 2020, each year this island attracts about 100,000 arrivals, including 5,000-6,000 foreign tourists.

Co To district’s administration has tried to tighten management to prevent 'bargain bucket' cheap discount prices for tourists. The district will provide full information and openly announce prices, transport, prices of hotel rooms as well as the price of food and drink through leaflets, brochures and on the local website coto.gov.vn.

Co To is still a pretty wild island and sea area, comprising of about 50 large and small islands, and is a new tourist destination, which has started to attract tourists in recent years.

From 2012, Co To has put some new tourism models into operation such as innovative tourism “A day as soldier”, and “Journey for homeland sea and island" organised by the district Youth Union to support the community-based tourism model development.

The authority of the district has been active and encouraged the local people on the island to join the tourism sector by, for example, providing homestay services.

Thanh said that the district has provided 500 million VND (23,500 USD) to 100 families to build toilets, support 50 percent of internet costs with a loan of 200 million VND (9,400 USD) for each household, which is eligible to welcome tourists, provided 1 billion VND (47,000 USD) for the district Youth Union to provide free one-turn tickets for speedboat rides for the youth who participate in "Journey for homeland sea and island".

There have been over 70 delegations joining the journey with nearly 5,000 members, who have experienced homestays, engaged in daily life, work, fishing with local people and participated in voluntary and social activities in the district.

Promoting tourism has helped people on the island be aware of the of building the tourism culture. Since late 2013, many households on Co To island have invested in building houses, restaurants and hotels with a capital expenditure of nearly 100 billion VND (4.7 million USD).

The number of tourists coming to Co To island is increasing. In 2013, Co To island welcomed 56,000 tourist arrivals, a 17-fold increase compared to 2010. Tourists coming to Co To island are mainly young people who like to explore.

The infrastructure of the island district has been improved. Each day there are four speedboats from the mainland to the island, and the journeys take about 60-90 minutes.

Since 2012, Co To has provided wireless internet over the island and completed the construction of Truong Xuan reservoir with a capacity of 170,000 cubic meters, which is enough to provide clean water to households and the tourism industry.

The reservoir system continues to be built on other small islands. In late 2013, Co To was connected to the national power grid thanks 30 km of cables running on the seabed with an investment of 1 trillion VND (47 million USD), contributing to improving the quality of tourism services on the island. In addition, the district also focuses on training human resources for the tourism sector.

Chairman Thanh said that to turn Co To into an high-ranking ecotourism venue, it is most important to protect the natural environment.

Aware of this, the people on the island have restricted their use of wood, changing from cooking with firewood into using gas, electricity and peat. Each year, the district budget provides over 1 billion VND (4,700 USD) to cover the coal freight for people.

The authority has strengthened the checks on the handling of seaweed and ornamental plants, deforestation, the use of explosives and chemical substances in hunting seafood.

Quang Ninh is focusing on completing the infrastructure to achieve the goal of turning Co To island into a major tourism center of the province, contributing to the sustainable maritime and island development of the nation.-VNA