Hefty funding needed for tourism development

Vietnam will need to spend over VND1,930 trillion (US$88.5 billion) developing infrastructure, improving service quality and diversifying products for the tourism sector in the next 15 years to make it a key industry.



Hefty funding needed for tourism development

File photo of tourists taking a boat ride along snaking canals in the Mekong Delta. Vietnam will need to spend over VND1,930 trillion (US$88.5 billion) developing infrastructure, improving service quality and diversifying products for the tourism sector in the next 15 years.




Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Hieu said at a conference on investment promotion for green tourism in the Mekong Delta in Can Tho City on June 30 that the sum would go to developing modern facilities and services to enable the tourism sector to serve some 18 million international visitors a year by 2030, or more than double the figure last year.

The State budget and official development assistance (ODA) loans are expected to account for 15-20% of the total amount and the private and foreign-invested sectors the remainder.

Hieu said investments in tourism in the Mekong Delta region including the financial support from the State budget have been insignificant over the years.

Data of the ministry showed the central State budget has earmarked only VND464 billion for tourism in the Mekong Delta region in 2011-2015, with VND101 billion in 2011, VND122 billion in 2012, VND50 billion in 2013, VND72 billion in 2014 and VND119 billion this year.

By June 2015, foreign companies had got involved in 30 tourism projects with combined registered capital of over US$200 million, making up a mere 1.6% in capital and 2.9% in number of projects in the region.

“Almost all foreign-invested projects involve hotels and eco-tourism sites,” Hieu said.

The 2011-2015 period has seen ODA funding of US$80.4 million going to tourism in the Mekong Delta, mostly in the localities belonging to the economic corridor development project for the Greater Mekong Subregion. This source of finance has not been channeled into any tourism development projects benefiting the Mekong Delta region.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said Vietnam and its Mekong Delta region have more advantages in attracting tourists than other regional countries. He asked why Vietnam could lure 7-8 million international passengers a year while the number is 25 million in Thailand and 27 million in Malaysia.

Ninh called on ministries and localities to cooperate in infrastructure development using finances from both the State and the private sector for the tourism industry and product diversification.

Localities need to invest more in human resource development for the tourism sector, improve product and service quality, protect the environment and help locals better understand the important role of the tourism sector in economic growth and income improvement.

At the conference, cities and provinces in the Mekong Delta region introduced a total of 62 tourism projects in need of domestic and foreign investments. These projects require VND11.86 trillion and US$715 million.

The authorities handed over investment certificates to a number of tourism and commercial projects, including an international eco-tourism project worth over VND445 billion and invested by International Eco-tourism Co. Ltd. and a VND300-billion eco-tourism project by Truong Huy Hotel and Trading Co. Ltd.

SGT
Hefty funding needed for tourism development
 
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