Official information on constructing a cable car system in Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in central Quang Binh province was revealed in a press conference held by the provincial People’s Committee on November 4.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Huu Hoai asserted that the planned tramway will comprise two stations with a total length of 10.5km, beginning at the entrance to Phong Nha cave and ending 300m from Son Doong cave.

This contradicts public opinion, which has left many people believing the cable car network would include four stations and run through the world’s largest cave, Son Doong cave.

In other words, the cable car will not traverse Son Doong cave at all. Instead, the tramway is planned to be suspended 50-250m above ground, Hoai confirmed.

He also clarified that the cable car would not cost 4.5 trillion VND. In fact, this figure accounts for Sun Group’s total investments in a number of future projects throughout the province, not just the cable car project, he added.

Provincial authorities submitted a report to the Ministry of Construction on the detailed plans for the cable car system, he said. They will ask for comments from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, UNESCO, and UNESCO-Vietnam for the implementation of the project. If the project is not approved, the province would halt it in line with domestic and international law, Hoai said.

Director General of the Sun Group Dang Minh Truong avowed that the cable car project would not harm the environment. He noted that the project would entail erecting 30 pillars, each accounting for less than 10m 2 of land and equipped with a camera to monitor forest fires.

Peter Vogelmann, Area Manager for Doppelmayr Southeast Asia, said after numermous fact-finding missions the company finally selected the optimal solution for building and operating the cable car system, with minimal impacts on the environment, including avoiding deforestation.

Director of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park Le Thanh Tinh said the construction of the cable car project was lawful based on Prime Ministerial Decree 117/2010/ND-CP on the management of special-use forests.

According to Chairman Hoai, the cable car project could benefit over 1,000 residents.

He also confirmed that local authorities and residents are aware of the importance of preserving the heritage site.

Located approximately 500km south of Hanoi , Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park is a top destination in central Vietnam .

Son Doong cave is at least 6.5km long, 200m wide and 150m high. It was opened to a limited number of tourists in 2013, instantly making it onto the bucket lists of travellers around the world.

The cave’s entrance was first discovered by a local resident in 1991, and was further explored by a group of cavers from the British Cave Research Association in 2009.-VNA