The world’s longest over-sea cable car connects An Thoi Town and Hon Thơm Island on Phu Quoc Island. It opened in February. (Photo courtesy of Sun Group)

Kien Giang (VNS/VNA) - Phu Quoc island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is pouring more investment in tourism and transport infrastructure to become a driving force for development in the region.

Mai Van Huynh, Chairman of the Phu Quoc District People’s Committee, said that in recent years it had mobilised sources to finance transport projects via road, air and sea that would connect to major urban centres in the country. 

The laying of a 110kV underground cable for the Ha Tien - Phu Quoc power supply project has been completed, while construction on Duong Dong reservoir, which supplies water at a capacity of 21,000 cubic metres per day, is underway.

A project to build a waste treatment plant for the island is near completion. New urban areas and concentrated residential area projects are also being built on the island. 

Phu Quoc has attracted 279 projects covering a total area of 10,754 ha, according to the management board of Phu Quoc Economic Zone.

Of the figure, 249 projects, covering a total area of over 9,000 hectares, have been granted investment certificates with total registered capital of 270.5 trillion VND (11.6 billion USD). 

As many as 36 projects have been put into operation with total investment of over 14.75 trillion VND (633.37 million USD). 

In addition, 35 projects are under construction with total investment of 95.731 trillion VND (4.11 billion USD).

The island has attracted a number of tourism projects, including Vinpearl complex, a safari park, and the world’s longest cable car, which connects An Thoi town with Hon Thom island.

According to the Phu Quoc District People’s Committee, the district is expected to have 500 hotels and other accommodations with more than 15,000 rooms by the end of this year.

Last year, Phu Quoc received 2 million visitors, and more than 2.3 million tourists are expected this year, of which foreign tourists account for 22 percent.

A list of projects calling for investment by 2020 include foreign direct investment (FDI) and investment in the form of public-private partnerships (PPP). 

In addition, Kien Giang province is calling for investment in a number of urgent projects in Phu Quoc, including a project to build a 500-bed resort-style hospital covering 10 ha at Bai Truong complex in Duong To commune.

The Bai Thom Eco-tourism Area which covers more than 42 ha in Bai Thom commune will be able to serve about 1,200-1,600 people a day.

A waste treatment plant with a capacity of 150 tonnes per day covering a 5.25-ha area in Duong To commune is also being built.

In addition, Phu Quoc has also completed the first phase of its smart city project. Under the project, the island will offer free public wifi, surveillance cameras, emergency response application for tourists, and environmental monitoring equipment, as well as e-government. 

The district has set up the Phu Quoc Smart City Operations Centre with an information service team that can promptly handle incidents.

Pham Vu Hong, Chairman of the Kien Giang Province People’s Committee, said Phu Quoc had met necessary conditions to become a special administrative economic zone. 

The potential to become a Special Administrative Economic Zone would add value for the tourism industry, he said.

Huynh, Secretary of the Phu Quoc Island District’s Party Committee, said that Phu Quoc would continue to issue incentives to facilitate the local economy and livelihoods. 

Phu Quoc was once a sleepy area of around 100,000 people. In recent years, however, the 567sq.m island has become a tourist mecca for thousands of visitors from around the world.

It is expected to become one of three Special Administrative Economic Zones, besides Van Don in Quang Ninh and Bac Van Phong in Khanh Hoa, which will offer preferential incentives for development.

Located 46km from the mainland, the island can be reached by air from HCM City within one hour and from Hanoi within two hours.-VNS/VNA