The northern mountainous province of Ha Giang will do every effort to conserve special identities of the Dong Van geopark and turn geographical difficulties into advantages, helping promote tourism.

The move is part of a master plan to preserve, restore and develop the values of Vietnam ’s first geological park during the 2012-2020 period with a vision towards 2030, which was recently approved by the Prime Minister.

The plan will be popularised among relevant departments and branches to seek synchronous and effective measures to preserve and develop the park, helping reduce poverty and maintaining political security in the province, said Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Trieu Tai Vinh.

With a viewpoint that combines preservation with development, the plan will be carried out based on the local community, he said.

Since Dong Van Stone Plateau became a member of the Global Network of National Geoparks (GGN) in 2010, Ha Giang has organised an array of activities to implement GGN recommendations.

The activities cover education, improving public awareness, heritage preservation and economic development through sustainable tourism.

However, much needs to be done to reach the final target of harmonious and sustainable development in the region, said Vinh.

In an effort to turn tourism into a leading sector in the province’s socio-economic development, the provincial People’s Committee encourages and creates an open mechanism for businesses, domestic and foreign investors to invest in tourism, especially Dong Van geopark.

Dong Van Stone Plateau was recognised as a GGN member on October 3, 2010. The plateau is Vietnam ’s first geological park and only the second such park in Southeast Asia, after Langkawi Geological Park in Malaysia .

Dong Van, which has remained untouched for hundreds of millions of years, is spread over the four districts of Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Meo Vac and Dong Van, and is 1,000 metres above sea level.

The plateau is 80 percent limestone and contains the fossils of thousands of species of prehistoric creatures from 400-600 million years ago.

It is also home to several cultures that have sprung up over the centuries. The 574 square kilometre plateau is now home to 250,000 people from 17 different ethnic groups.-VNA