From a poor island district with poor infrastructure, Co To island in the northern province of Quang Ninh has strived to become a famous tourist destination. One of the biggest breakthroughs for the island came with its access to the national grid last year, reports the Communist Party of Vietnam online newspaper.

From October 16, 2013, backward, the district had to use generators to produce electricity. To cater to the power demand of over 6,000 islanders, each year Co To district had to spend over 30 billion VND (1.4 million USD), including 10 billion VND from the State and the rest paid by islanders.

This large expense partly held back the development of some spearhead economic industries, including tourism, fishing and the processing of fish.

For that reason, Quang Ninh province and the Northern Power Corporation (NPC) have decided to bring power to the district. A project worth over 1.1 trillion VND was officially launched on November 4, 2012, to build diverse works, including 23.226 kilometres of 110kV line, 25.064 kilometres of undersea cable, and 43.333 kilometres of 22kV overhead line.

The national grid has created a facelift to the district, remarkably improving locals' lives. Islanders do not hesitate to use power for economic development.

Ngo Van Tuat, in Co To town, said that earlier, as the power fee was very expensive, he had to pay at least 200,000 VND per month. When his family used the power from the national grid, he only had to pay 100,000 VND for several electronic devices.

“With the inexpensive electricity fee, I bought more fridges to keep seafood fresher and saved more money,” he said.

The electricity also brought the island greater opportunities for developing tourism – the sector that was set as a spearhead industry for the district.

According to Nguyen Duc Thanh, Secretary of the district Party Committee, over the past 30 years, some 1,300 houses worth 90 billion VND were built on Co To island. However, within six months of having access to the national grid, people built over 500 houses worth 100 billion VND for accommodation and to welcome visitors.

At present, many families are expanding their houses to provide accommodation with greater comfort for visitors.

During the 2014 tourism reason, the district invests more in express buses and trams to serve tourism.

“The district’s socio-economic development has seen a breakthrough thanks to the national grid,” said Thanh.-VNA