Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has directed the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang to complete a plan to transform Phu Quoc island into a special administrative economic zone.

He asked the district authorities to make full use of its advantages and potential, especially those in aquaculture breeding, fishery, tourism, trade and agriculture, to serve socio-economic development.

At a conference on December 15 to review the implementation of the Prime Minister’s decision to approve an overall development scheme on Phu Quoc island between 2010-2020, Dung noted that Kien Giang, and Phu Quoc in particular, should increase infrastructure development investment, especially in transport, electricity and fresh water supply.

The district should also take strong measures to protect the environment and forests, which are important to tourism development, Dung added.

The PM also pointed out Phu Quoc’s shortcomings to be resolved, particularly in land management and use, and land planning management.

The island has made positive changes since the PM’s decision first became operational eight years ago.

Annual GDP grew by 22 percent on average, and annual per capita income was estimated at 50 million VND.

The number of tourists to the district grew by 13 percent each year.

The same day, PM Dung cut the ribbon to inaugurate Phu Quoc international airport in Duong To commune.

Addressing the event, Dung stressed the importance of the airport, which will drive the fast and sustainable development of the island and social-economic development in Kien Giang and the whole region.

He asked the Airports Corporation of Vietnam to complete other airport facilities to ensure it meets international standards.

Phu Quoc should support the residents who gave land to the airport construction resettle, he added.

The airport, which cost 3 trillion VND to build, is the first of its kind entirely funded by domestic business. It covers an area of 900 hectares and can cater for 2.6 million passengers a year.

Replacing the local airport in Duong Dong town, the new airport can handle Boeing 777s, Boeing 747-400s and similar aircraft.

The same day, the low-cost carrier VietJetAir launched its Ho Chi Minh City-Phu Quoc route.

To begin with, one return flight will connect HCM City to the island every day.-VNA