|Abundant beauty: Young local women play in a plum forest on the northern plateau of Moc Chau. Beautiful scenery and ethnic cultural identity make the site a special attraction for tourists. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
SON LA (VNS) — Authorities have announced a master plan on developing Moc Chau into a national tourism site by 2020 during a ceremony in the northern province of Son La.
According to the plan, approved by the Prime Minister, the 206,000-ha Moc Chau National Tourism Site in Moc Chau and Van Ho districts will be developed for tourism. Neighbouring northern midland areas with special tourism products will also be included, combining natural scenery and local culture.
The site will include a resort centre, an ecological tourism centre and a recreational centre.
The province set a target of receiving over 1.2 million tourists by 2020 and 3 million tourists by 2030, 50,000 of whom will be foreign visitors.
Total income from tourism is set to reach VND1,500 billion (US$71 million) by 2020 and VND6,000 billion by 2030.
The local tourism sector will give priority to increasing the number of domestic travellers from Hong (Red) River Delta provinces and northern midland provinces.
Addressing the ceremony on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed that the northwestern region was a strategic area in terms of socio-economics, security and foreign affairs. The area possessed great potential for forestry, hydro-electricity, mineral resources, tourism and economics. It has been home to various minority groups for a long time.
"The master plan will be a driving force – a legislative foundation for local authorities to improve socio-economic development, and utilise local advantages in geology, natural resources and human resources," he said.
At the same ceremony, Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam Nguyen Van Binh gave the northwestern region VND127 billion from the national social welfare bank system.
Moc Chau Plateau is the biggest of its kind in the country, with an average altitude of 1,050m. The area has a temperate and fresh climate all year round with many beautiful spots and historical relics. Its natural land is fertile and good for developing agriculture and forestry.
Ha Chung Chien, chairman of the Moc Chau People's Committee said the province had decided to improve its investment environment and renew investment activities. Local authorities in the two districts were implementing various measures to reform administration and upgrade infrastructure to encourage domestic and foreign enterprises to do business in the area.
"Moc Chau's special features are its ecological scenery and farm tourism like cow-raising and tea and flowers planting," he said.
The town would further promote community-based tourism in the villages of Ang, Vat, Ta Phinh and Muong Khoa while establishing international routes from Moc Chau to Laos through the Long Sap Border Checkpoint, from where it could connect to other ASEAN countries like Thailand and Myanmar.
Ranges of plum and peach trees on hills and green expanses of tea leaves are among the most impressive features of Moc Chau Plateau.
"The town is magically beautiful in spring, when various kinds of flowers bloom in the sunlight," said Nguyen Thi Lan, a frequent visitor to Moc Chau.
"Mingle with the green leaves, the white and pink flowers and the multi-coloured local ethnic textiles. The whole plateau is as beautiful as a painting.
"I have been to Moc Chau many times and have different feelings each time. I find local culture there is unique, and I will return many more times."
Together with community tourism services, milk-cow farms and high-tech flower farms have been popular tourism hubs. Visitors can enjoy local delicacies like grilled stream fish and sticky rice baked in bamboo pipes.
Doi (bat) Cave has magnificent stalactites and stalagmites. Other attractions include Dai Yem Water Fall, Ang Village Pine Forest; and peach and plum forests in On, Ba Phach, Thong Cuong and Loong Luong villages. — VNS