Illustrative photo (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – Authorities of Ha Long city in the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh will coordinate with relevant agencies to evaluate service quality of tourist boats operating on Ha Long and Bai Tu Long Bays from November 15 to December 25.

The inspections will focus on technical safety, firefighting, search and rescue capacity, and environmental protection equipment, and other facilities of the boats, as well as labour law enforcement of boat owners and crew members.

Ha Long city is managing 504 tourist boats, with 478 on Ha Long Bay and the others on Bai Tu Long Bay.

Ho Quang Huy, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ha Long city, said the locality has so far this year suspended operations of 36 tourist boats and 15 crew members, and forced 41 boats to stop operations.

Since 2017, Ha Long has destroyed 80 vessels that violated regulations on managing, protecting and promoting heritage values of Ha Long Bay. 

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.

The Prime Minister has approved a master plan for Ha Long city 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.

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

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