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Coastal province sets sights on tourism

Update: December, 21/2012 - 10:58

HCM CITY (VNS)— The southern coastal Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province could become a major centre of tourism, industry and seafood processing.

Nguyen Viet Lien, deputy chief of the Regional and Local Economy Division under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, noted that the province was already a centre of the offshore oil industry.

With its abundant oil fields, the province is able to exploit up to 20 million tonnes of oil every year.

Although the area is a well-known tourism destinations with 150 kilometres of coastline, it still has potential to develop.

Con Dao Island, famous for its pristine beaches and primeval forests, lies offshore Vung Tau. The island district attracts tourists because of its historic value, including prisons used during wartime to jail thousands of Vietnamese patriots.

In addition, the province has great potential to develop its fishery and agriculture, especially seafood processing.

With the advantage of basalt red soil, the province has cultivated industrial trees such as rubber, coffee, pepper, cashew nuts and orchards as well.

The province has around 19,150 hectares of rubber, 12,000ha of coffee, 12,360ha of cashew, 2,400ha of pepper and 7,800ha of fruit trees, according to figures from the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The Cai Mep-Thi Vai deep seaport complex, which is a gateway to the province, was designed to receive vessels with a loading capacity of 80,000 DWT and capacity of 600,000 – 700,000 TEU per year.

Due to its depth, the seaport can allow large vessels to go in and out, and the transport time between southern Viet Nam and other countries can be shortened since large vessels no longer need to transit via Singapore.

The province also plans to build seaports in Vung Tau City and Con Dao District.

The province has attracted total investment of more than VND30 trillion (US$1.44 billion) annually in recent years, or 25 per cent of the total investment of the southern economic zone.

Of this, investment from the state budget was VND4.5 trillion ($215.9 million), state-owned companies VND8 trillion ($383.9 million) and FDI companies VND19 trillion ($911.8 million).

Due to its great potential in oil and seaports, and its Phu My electricity plant, the largest in the country, the province can attract many projects to develop industrial parks, ports and tourism projects.

The province is currently investing more in infrastructure and completing site clearance work to create a land fund to attract local and foreign investors.

As of October this year, Ba Ria-Vung Tau had 282 FDI projects with total registered capital of $26 billion, according to the ministry.

In 2010, the GDP of the province rose by more than 12 per cent. Of this, the GDP of the industrial sector increased by 18 per cent, the service sector by 17.9 per cent and the agriculture sector by 5.3 per cent.

The southern economic zone contributes about 40 per cent to the state budget. Of that amount, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province contributed more than 30 per cent.

According to Lien, to tap its own potential, the province needs to review and update general planning for socio-economic development.

It needs to improve linkages with other provinces in the southern economic zone, especially in building and improving road infrastructure and seaport systems.

There is an urgent need for the province to train high-quality human resources to meet the demand of industrialisation and modernisation. Social welfare policies should be improved and pollution should be curbed, Lien said. —VNS

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