Vietnam's Phu Quoc paradise to challenge Phuket, Bali hinh anh 1A beach on Phu Quoc island (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Kien Giang (VNA) - Phu Quoc island in the southern province of Kien Giang, which is dubbed as "Pearl Island", has emerged as a destination attractive to many tourists and earned a noticeable position on the tourism map of not only Vietnam but the world.

The Nikkei Asia Review of Japan said on June 6 that tourism developers in Phu Quoc plan to turn the jewel into a major tourism complex.

Many expected that Phu Quoc, which has long been Vietnam's leading fish sauce producer, will draw a large number of tourists. However, to make it a reality, the first thing is to overcome many obstacles, especially some that are erected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the article, things have begun to change in the "sleepy" island famous for fish sauce since 2013 when the Vietnamese Government designated Phu Quoc as a special economic zone.

Covering an area of 589.27, Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam with a long coastline, white sand beaches, mountains and primeval forests which are hard to be found any elsewhere.

The island district is home to a rich ecosystem with beautiful and pristine beaches such as Gieng, Khem, Sao, Vong, Thom and Dinh Cau, to name just a few.

Most of them boast ideal scenery with golden sand, clear and calm sea water, along with many species of colourful seaweed.

The warm waters around the island provide an environment conducive to marine species to breed. There are many coral reefs around Phu Quoc island.

In particular, it is one of the two sea areas in Vietnam where dugong – a large marine mammal species – is living.

Not only sea and island ecosystems, the island is also home to a primeval forest ecosystem, which comprises many mountain ranges, diverse flora and fauna, with rare species listed in the Red Book.

Many kinds of precious wood trees can be found in Phu Quoc forest, such as oleander, agarwood or rosewood, along with a wide range of herbal plants. Notably, local primeval forest has Aquilaria crassna trees with the valuable agarwood inside.

Apart from the natural ecosystem, Phu Quoc has a farming ecosystem with major crops such as pepper, coconut and cashew nut, which is a special natural resource for tourism.

According to the Nikkei Asia Review, unlike neighboring Thailand and Indonesia, Vietnam has never been known for its resort islands.

However, Doan Van Tien, Vice Chairman of the Phu Quoc municipal People's Committee, has mentioned plans to make the island able to compete with Phuket of Thailand and Bali of Indonesia.

In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in China’s Wuhan city, the number of visitors to Phu Quoc increased by 27 percent year-on-year to 5.1 million. This year, the island expects to welcome 3 million holidaymakers, almost all of them domestic traveller.

As Phu Quoc struggles to make a name for itself, travel experts said developers on the island of Phu Quoc have their work cut out for them if they want to compete with Southeast Asia's established resort islands.

The Nikkei Asia Review added that the island's movers and shakers will need to rely on down-to-earth promotional efforts in cooperation with airlines, travel agencies and other leisure concerns.

Last April, Vingroup inaugurated the entertainment and resort complex Grand World, a "sleepless city" offering a variety of pleasures day and night, 365 days a year.

Sun Group, a leading Vietnamese real estate company, has completed an over-the-sea aerial tramway that is one of the world's longest, a theme park and other facilities.

Other projects are moving forward.

To date, 16 billion USD worth of tourism-related corporate investments have been poured into Phu Quoc./.