Dong Thap (VNA) – The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap is striving to develop its tourism sector by diversifying tourism products, improving human resources and deploying investment attraction policies.

The local tourism sector has set a target of recording an average annual growth rate of 5 percent and welcoming 4.5 million visitors, including 130,000 foreigners, by 2025. Revenues from tourism services are expected to reach 1.3 trillion VND with an average annual growth rate of 7 percent.

Pink lotuses in full bloom at the Go Thap lotus field – an attractive tourist site in Dong Thap province (Photo: VNA)

Diversifying tourism products

To achieve this, Dong Thap province has come up with a series of measures, particularly restructuring its tourist markets with a focus on Europe and Northeast Asia.

It plans to attract high-spending and long-stay tourists with various products, especially high-value added ones, ranging from eco-, cultural, agricultural and spiritual to shopping and community-based tours.

Tourists travel by boat on a lotus area in Go Thap (Photo: VNA)

The province aims to develop its human resources toward increasing the number of direct workers, particularly qualified personnel. Restructuring tourism firms and building a healthy competition environment will also be prioritised, with preferential policies issued to lure big companies to invest in Dong Thap province. Meanwhile, locals will be trained to become promoters of tourism in their localities.

The annual Dong Thap tourism week is also a highlight among the province’s measures to boost demand. This year, the week lasts from July 10 to 14, featuring a singing festival, Cao Lanh – Hoi An cuisine, calligraphy on lotus leaves, folk games, a painting contest and the introduction of local clean farm produce and crafts, among other activities.

Tapping tourism potential

Tourists visit the Tram Chim national park by boat (Photo: VNA)

With a development history spanning over 300 years, Dong Thap province is home to several cultural and revolutionary relic sites, including the grave of Nguyen Sinh Sac – farther of late President Ho Chi Minh, Tram Chim National Park – the fourth Ramsar site of Vietnam and 2,000th of the world, and Go Thap archaeology and architect site – a special national relic site closely related to Oc Eo Culture.

Dong Thap is also renowned for its craft villages like Sa Dec ornamental flowers, Chau Thanh pottery, Nem Lai Vung (fermented pork), Dinh Yen mat, Cao Lanh mango, Chau Thanh longan, and Phong Hoa pomelo, among others.

Lotus is a signature plant of the province, which can be seen almost everywhere and is a local magnet for tourists. Between August and November is the best time of the year for visitors to enjoy the beauty of such flowers. Lotus fields in Dong Thap province are among the most popular weekend destinations for travellers from Mekong Delta localities and Ho Chi Minh City.

Despite such potential, Dong Thap’s tourism has just made a breakthrough in growth since 2015 with the implementation of a project on local tourism for the 2015 – 2020 period.

In 2014, the province welcomed 1.8 million tourists. In 2018, the figure reached 3.6 million, of whom 90,000 were foreigners, up 7.8 percent and 15.42 percent compared to 2017, respectively.

Also in 2018, Dong Thap province reeled in about 800 billion VND (34.6 million USD) in tourism revenue, an annual increase of 16.9 percent.

This year, the province has been focusing on making tourism one of its key economic sectors. It aims to serve 3.8 million visitors, including 95,000 foreigners, and earn 1 trillion VND (43.2 million USD) from the industry.

In the first six months of 2019, 2 million people visited Dong Thap province, with the sector’s revenue hitting 500 billion VND (21.6 million USD), up 25 percent year on year. -VNA