The natural wonder of the world Ha Long bay in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh is projected to become one of the most attractive tourism destinations in Vietnam with top-quality services due to the joint efforts of travel agencies, local authorities and community members.

To realise the target promptly, local authorities approved a series of infrastructure development projects in tourism sites on the bay in a bid to preserve its natural values, and increase its attractiveness for holiday-makers while promoting socio-economic development.

Along with the ongoing preservation and management efforts, the province teamed up with local and international nature conservation agencies, research institutes, universities and scientists to research and enhance the bay’s values in terms of biodiversity, culture, history, geography and geomorphology.

International cooperation on the economy and tourism with countries within and outside of the region has been enhanced, and numerous investment projects have been implemented, thus integrating Ha Long further into global heritage conservation efforts and promoting the bay and Vietnam to the international community.

On December 17, 1994, UNESCO recognised the bay as a World Heritage site of globally outstanding value in terms of natural landscape. The recognition was extended in 2000, and in 2011 Ha Long Bay was voted one of the seven new natural wonders of the world, outranking 261 other outstanding landscapes all over the world.

The site has so far welcomed almost 26.6 million visitors, generating a total revenue of more than 1 trillion VND (47 million USD), helping to make Quang Ninh province a tourism magnet.

Sharing the benefits of tourism in the bay between enterprises and the local communities plays a crucial role in the successful management and preservation of the heritage site.

Local authorities are utilising public investments and private management mechanisms at a number of tourism sites to develop accommodation facilities and new services.

In order to continue upholding the values of the bay, it is essential to step up management and conservation efforts, with a focus on capturing the values of the heritage site for tourism development and designing appropriate policies to maximise the local tourism industry’s strengths and potential.

More communication campaigns should be run to raise public awareness of the preservation and promotion of the bay’s heritage values, and encourage public participation.

At the same time, detailed master plans and long-term investment strategies should be developed for the sector with a focus on diversifying eco-tourism services in combination with preservation efforts.

Benefit-sharing mechanisms for the sector, local enterprises and the community will be enhanced, while a heritage preservation fund will be established.

In August 2014, the provincial People’s Committee approved a plan on Ha Long Bay’s environment with a vision towards 2030.

It puts a special emphasis on the protection of the environment and the application of environmental standards certified by Vietnam and developed countries.

By 2020, Ha Long Bay and Ha Long City aim to take the lead in environmental protection and green growth efforts.

By 2030, they strive to become an ASEAN-standard green growth centre, with Ha Long Bay becoming a leader in sustainable natural resources and environmental management.

According to Pham Thuy Duong, Head of the Ha Long Bay Management Board, tourism aims to generate resources for conservation in the bay.

Nature has bestowed a priceless treasure upon Ha Long Bay, and with appropriate conservation efforts the bay can live up to UNESCO’s recognition, Duong said.-VNA