Over the past five years, the central province of Quang Binh has created a new image on Vietnam’s tourism map and become a favourite destination of foreign tourists. Vietnam Economic News explains what has made Quang Binh such a popular tourist destination.

Tourists already booked tours for 2015

Quang Binh has 116.04 km of coastline with a diverse terrain including plains, mountains, rivers and lakes, the sea, islands and caves, providing the full range of natural environments that can be found throughout Vietnam.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to it being home to the world’s biggest cave dating back more than 400 million years. The complex includes over 300 large and small caves such as Son Doong, Phong Nha, Thien Duong (Paradise), En (Swallow) and Tu Lan caves.

Over recent years, Quang Binh Province has mobilised resources to prioritise investment in tourism infrastructure such as roads, electricity supplies, wharfs, airports, clean water and medical care. Tourist accommodation has been built and upgraded. Many new tours have been put into operation and obtained initial positive results such as Sinh Ton valley – Thuy Cung cave, Rao Thuong natural tourism discovery – Swallow cave, Chay river – Dark cave, and Tu Lan and Son Doong caves.

The exploration of Son Doong cave discovery tour costs 3,000 USD per person, but despit the cost a large number of domestic and foreign tourists have registered to take in its wonders, with over 400 tourists having already booked the tour for 2014 and 2015.

Some 20 km from Phong Nha on the Ho Chi Minh City Highway to the west, Paradise Cave after receiving hundreds of billions VND in investment has become a paradise in the true sense of the word, attracting hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign tourists each year.

With such a large tourist potential, in 2013 Quang Binh tourism industry has attracted 1.2 million visitors, a year-on-year increase of 15 percent. Among them, the foreign tourists totaled 36,700, up 23 percent, earning revenue of 1.2 trillion VND.

Boosting connection for further development

Apart from diverse potential, the success of Quang Binh tourism was attributed to the efforts of functional agencies to implement tourism promotion programs such as organising tourism promotion conferences in Ho Chi Minh City, Thailand and Australia, introducing tourism products in Cambodia; connecting tourism activities between the north central provinces; conducting surveys on tourist destinations in Quang Binh; promoting tourism on the East West Economic Corridor and promoting international cooperation in tourism with ASEAN countries, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

In 2014, Quang Binh sets a target to attract 1.3 million visitors, including 40,000 foreign tourists, and earning revenue of 1.3 trillion VND. At the same time, it strives to gradually transform provincial tourism into a spearhead of the local economy. According to Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Tourism Administration Nguyen Manh Cuong, to realise these objectives, the connection of tourism activities between Quang Binh and the northern province is an important measure to boost the development of the sector.

Deputy Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Quang Binh Nguyen Van Ky said also in 2014, the key connection orientation of Quang Binh tourism is Hanoi and the northern provinces, where there are tourist companies organising tours to Quang Binh and Phong Nha - Ke Bang (accounting for the highest percentage in recent times) in particular.

In addition, Quang Binh tourism industry will also focus on implementing measures such as making continued efforts to innovate and draft mechanisms to attract investment in tourism, developing tourism products and infrastructure, strengthening regional links, promoting international cooperation and tourism promotion and expanding tourism markets to attract more visitors with priority given to the domestic market, the northeast region of Thailand, Laos and other traditional markets.

Quang Binh tourism remains as a potential gold mine. It is expected that with enthusiasm and dedication of businesses in the Quang Binh tourism sector and Vietnam tourism in general, Quang Binh will become a tourist hotspot.-VNA