Ha Long aims to turn into international tourism hub hinh anh 1A corner of Ha Long Bay (Source: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) - The Prime Minister has approved a master plan for Ha Long city of the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh to 2040 with a vision towards 2050, aiming to develop the city into a world-class tourism and service hub.

The master plan targets to raise status for Ha Long city in particular and Quang Ninh province in general in the region and the world by developing the locality in a sustainable manner, meeting green growth and climate change adaptation related-requirements.

Under the master plan, Ha Long will be converted into a civilised and friendly sea tourism city with synchronous and modern socio-economic infrastructure systems, where the World Natural Heritage Site Ha Long Bay is preserved.

The city, which has an administrative boundary of 27,753 hectares, is expected to become a national service-tourism urban area and a driving force for regional growth.

Ha Long Bay literally “descending dragon bay” is a must-see destination in Quang Ninh. It was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and 2000.

The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes. It features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various shapes and sizes. The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The geo-diversity of the environment has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea biosystem. Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.

Endowed with natural advantages for sea and island tourism, the northeastern province of Quang Ninh is working to promote its tourism brand abroad and become an international tourism hub by 2030.

Under the Overall Plan for Tourism Development, the province prioritises developing two projects, namely Van Don International Airport and a resort complex with a casino.

Along with expanding the sea and island eco-tourism area of Van Don, Co To and Mong Cai, Quang Ninh province is branching out tourism products like Yen Duc countryside tourism, Binh Lieu eco-tourism, discovering Ha Long Bay by kayaks and seaplanes and Ha Long Park.

Also, tourism promotion campaigns in key markets like China, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom have been paid due attention, coupled with human resources training in line with the standards set by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Local tourism has created a lasting impression on both domestic and foreign investors. They said they were impressed by the excellent products, vibrant cultural activities and hospitable and professional tour guides.

The “transition to a green economy" project piloted in Ha Long will be a key pillar of the green growth process in the whole province in the future.

A project to promote green growth in Ha Long Bay has been implementing in Quang Ninh from November 2015 to December 2019, under the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Quang Ninh has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and some 2,000 islets, two-thirds of the total in Vietnam.

The spectacular stretch of coast connects the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay with majestic natural scenery, Bai Tu Long Bay, Van Don and Co To islands and Tra Co beach with Cat Ba National Park in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

As an important centre of the northern key economic region with its unique and rich geographical, environmental and resource features, the province boasts natural strengths for sustainable socio-economic development.

In 2015, with the support from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the local authorities adjusted its green growth action plan, setting concrete objectives, which are expected to be realised by 2020.

The number of tourists visiting Quang Ninh in the first nine months of this year is estimated to top 10 million, an increase of 25 percent over the same period last year. Of this, foreign tourists account for over 3.6 million, rising 19 percent.

It expects to welcome a total of 12 million visitors, including five million foreigners, this year on the back of its hosting of the National Tourism Year 2018 themed “Ha Long-Heritage, Wonder, Friendly Destination”, with more than 50 cultural, sport and tourist events held throughout the province.

Last year, some 9.87 million tourists visited the province, including 4.28 million foreigners. More than 70 percent of the tourists took in sea and island tours. The province raked in nearly 18 trillion VND (792 million USD) from tourism.-VNA