Tourism expected to drive Hai Phong forward hinh anh 1A corner of Cat Ba town in Hai Phong (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Favourable transport infrastructure and beautiful landscapes are expected to boost tourism in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

Cat Bi International Airport and the Hanoi-Hai Phong expressway, which were put into service in early 2016, have helped cut travel time from Hanoi to Hai Phong.

Direct flights between Hai Phong and foreign countries like Thailand and the Republic of Korea, or localities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc island district in Kien Giang province in the south, Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and Nha Trang city in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa, have been launched.

Along with favourable transport infrastructure, efforts made by agencies in tourism and the involvement of big investors have turned Hai Phong into a popular tourist destination.

At a workshop on Hai Phong tourism held by the municipal Department of Tourism, leading experts in this field across the country discussed promoting local tourism through social communication and developing standard tourism products.

Various tourism promotion activities have been conducted in Cat Hai district, which is the administrative management unit of Cat Ba archipelago – an attractive tourist site with leisure, exploration and ecological tourism in the Cat Ba National Park in the island commune of Viet Hai.

Firms like Vingroup, Sungroup and Him Lam have invested in luxurious resorts in Cat Ba and Do Son. Once operational, the projects are expected to become ideal destinations for both domestic and foreign holiday-makers.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Hai Phong, particularly Do Son beach town, has experience in tourism development.

The northern port city welcomes a large number of visitors every year. In 2016, the locality is expected to greet 5.7 million tourists, the agency said, noting that the target is within reach as about 5.6 million tourists visited Hai Phong last year.

Nguyen Quy Phuong, head of the VNAT’s  Travel Department, at a recent workshop on tourism development in Hai Phong said the city should make breakthroughs in tourism and consider the sector a driving force for local economic development.

He also suggested the city step up State management to synchronously conduct tourism activities.

To that end, Hai Phong should revamp the municipal Tourism Department, ensuring it has enough human resources capable of implementing the city’s guidelines and plans, Phuong said.

At the same time, it is necessary to develop spearhead tourism products like leisure tourism on Cat Ba island in a sustainable manner, he added.

Nguyen Thi Ha, Director of Viettravel Hai Phong, described tourism products as decisive to tourism promotion, saying Hai Phong should connect with other localities to promote tourism products for the northern coastal region.

Travel companies will introduce products to their customers, she said, underlining the need for Hai Phong to turn itself into an attractive and safe destination different from others in culture and landscape.

Channels should be built and updated with new mechanisms, policies and information about tourist attractions and Hai Phong’s connection with foreign and domestic localities, Ha suggested.

In particular, information about Ca Bi International Airport needs to be updated more regularly for partners and tourists, she added.

Tran Thi Kim Quy, Deputy Director of Hung Vuong Investment JSC  - the investor of international brand names like Cat Ba Resort and Flamingo Dai Lai in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, said Cat Ba archipelago has advantages for tourism development with the most noteworthy being its biodiversity and Cai Beo, the most ancient fishing village in Vietnam.

However, Cat Ba has failed to fully tap its potential, she said, suggesting Hai Phong extend the duration of tourism projects in the islands to 70 years and shorten the time for administrative procedures while upgrading infrastructure in Cat Ba.-VNA