Developing Ninh Binh into a key national tourist area

Saturday, 2021-05-29 17:04:24
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The Tam Coc rice field by Ngo Dong river. (Photo: Le Hong)
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NDO – The northern province of Ninh Binh has enhanced the implementation of the tourism master plan and formed national tourist areas to exploit the potentials towards making specific highly competitive tourism products associated with the brand “Ninh Binh – Trang An”.

Development tourism while preserving heritage values, in association with ensuring national defence, security and social order is a professional and sustainable direction to motivate Ninh Binh to strive to become a key national tourist area.

Prioritising "dual" goal

Currently, the rice fields in Tam Coc - Bich Dong tourist area in Ninh Binh Province are in ripening. The yellow rice fields in Tam Coc are some of the most beautiful in Vietnam. Traveling by boats in the yellow ripe rice season, visitors will feel like they are lost in a fairyland. Therefore, the province has held the Tourism Week entitled “The yellow colour of Tam Coc – Trang An” annually. This year, if the COVID-19 pandemic was not so complicated, the tourism week would have been considered a unique event during the 2021 National Tourism Year – Ninh Binh themed “Hoa Lu - The ancient capital of a thousand years". Managing director of the Tam Coc - Bich Dong tourist area Hoang Thanh Phong said: “The tourist area had to temporarily postpone welcoming guests since early May according to the direction of the Department of Tourism and the Provincial People's Committee. It is a safe measure to prevent and control the epidemic although the Tam Coc fields is turning yellow with ripe rice, as beautiful as a watercolour painting.”.

In addition to the temporary closure of all tourist areas and attractions, 691 accommodation service establishments in Ninh Binh Province had to uphold the spirt of COVID-19 prevention and control. The provincial tourism sector asked them to strictly implement the provision of “safe destinations”. They must properly assess their own safety regarding COVID-19; regularly access to the website http://safe.tourism.com.vn to register an account and self-assess their safety in the new situation; register and tick the item of the business establishments that are temporarily closed; and release QR codes in the most convenient places. Thereby, visitors can check the level of safety before using the services or monitor the COVID-19 prevention and control through the application of “Du lich Vietnam an toan” (A safe trip in Vietnam).

Implementing the "dual" goal, Ninh Binh provincial tourism sector has actively advised the provincial leaders to direct the investment into tourism development in the spirit of Resolution No. 15 and Resolution No.02 by the provincial Party Committee on tourism development and preservation of the value of Trang An - the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The province has proactively developed an action plan to implement the Resolution of the 22nd Provincial Party Congress for 2020-2025 tenure. The orientations have helped Ninh Binh tourism develop quite quickly while attracting dozens of projects from the budget and socialisation capital of organisations and individuals. Typical examples include: Xuan Truong Construction Enterprise; Inconess Joint Stock Company with the investment of US$100 million into the construction of Dong Thai River Tourist Site in Yen Mo District; Cuc Phuong Tourist Service Joint Stock Company for its development of resorts in the mountainous district of Nho Quan; and many other businesses with the investments worth hundreds of billions of Vietnamese dongs.

The preservation and promotion of the value of Trang An World Cultural and Natural Heritage have positively impacted the tourism development and the image and brand of provincial tourism in the international arena. Thereby, the province has moved its economic restructure towards increasing the proportion of tourism and services; reducing the proportion of agriculture to the lowest level; creating jobs from tourism and increasing the income for locals. In 2020 specifically, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism in Ninh Binh created 21,000 jobs.

Creating highlight for national tourism

The growth rate of tourism in Ninh Binh has been very slow in recent years. The province has not yet made a breakthrough in terms of scale and service quality and not yet attracted many strategic investors with reputable brands and experiences in the country and abroad. The tourism promotion activities have been still limited.

According to many leaders of tourism businesses in Ninh Binh, the cause of the above situation is that the province's tourism products are duplicated, which goes against the principle that each tourist area and destination must have its own unique product. The infrastructure has not been synchronised; meanwhile, mechanisms and policies on tourism development have not been made attractive so that they have not lured in big investors to create new, attractive and high-quality products. In addition to tourist sites have lacked professional guides and voiceovers with good foreign language skills and behaviours. Several businesses have not paid attention to training human resources for tourism. Some tourism businesses have competed unfairly; have not posted prices of tourism products and services; have sold products at unsuitable prices; and have not focused on ensuring environment sanitation and food hygiene and safety.

The illegal construction of a number of accommodation and food service businesses has still taken place quietly in the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, including many violations that have not been fully handled. The reason was that some Party committees and authorities have not properly identified tourism development in association with conservation and promotion of heritage values for the future.

In order to restore tourism activities while waiting for new announcements, the Ninh Binh provincial tourism sector has made efforts to enhance the information technology application and digital transformation during 2021-2025 period. Head of Information Agency under the provincial Department of Tourism Quach The Hai said: “The digital transformation issues that are implemented by the provincial Department of Tourism are the building of a database specialised in tourism; the development of an interactive digital map of tourism, history, and culture of Ninh Binh; the upgrade of smart tourism application; the construction of smart tourist stations to support tourists in Ninh Binh city centre, the Trang An tourist area, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Tam Coc - Bich Dong; and many others. They aim to improve the value and attraction of destinations, tourism products and services. It is one of the breakthrough solutions to improve the quality of state management of tourism in Ninh Binh”.

In addition, the master plan for tourism development until 2025, with orientation to 2030, has been proactively implemented under the Decision No.1124 of the Ninh Binh Provincial People’s Committee. The objective of the tourism development master plan is to effectively exploit the advantages of tourism potential; develop tourism in a professional manner; create unique and high-quality tourism products with the brand of “Ninh Binh – Trang An”; associate tourism development with the conservation of natural and cultural values; and ensure national security, defence and social order and safety, towards sustainable tourism. Accordingly, the province's tourist area system develops in two levels, including the formation of the Trang An and Kenh GA – Van Trinh national tourist sites; the Dong Thai River tourist area; Con Noi Beach Resort; and many cultural and historical sites in the city and districts.

The clear orientation of functional areas for tourism development based on the distribution of tourism resources and infrastructure system will create favourable conditions for local agencies, districts and city to prioritise the investment and call for the socialisation of tourism development; protect the natural resources and tourism environment; create specific mechanisms and policies to attract more investment into tourism; enhance state management of tourism activities; train high-quality human resources; boost the promotion of attractive, safe and friendly destinations; and accelerate the linkage and cooperation in tourism development.

LE HONG
Translated by NDO