Viet Nam News
PHÚ YÊN — The tourism sector in the central province of Phú Yên made a strong start with its 2011 National Tourism Year, but has shown little progress since then.
According to Võ Khánh Ngọc, director of the Phú Yên Tourism Promotion Centre, thanks to the national budget spent in Phú Yên in 2010, local infrastructure was significantly improved.
“A new road was built linking downtown Phú Yên with beaches and beauty spots in the province,” he said, “Some five-star hotels were built for this occasion. Tuy Hòa Airport and the road to Ghềnh Đá Dĩa, a local beauty spot, have been upgraded. Various historical cultural sites have been renovated. Phú Yên was given good impetus for development.”
Yet local tourism has registered little success in comparision with neighbouring central provinces, like Bình Định, Quảng Bình and Kiên Giang.
“The biggest challenge of the province is the poor infrastructure and limited numbers of high standard rooms," said Nguyễn Hồng Đài, director of APT Travel.
Ngọc said big groups want to stay at three to five-star hotels. “The province has not got enough accommodation to serve this kind of customer. Big groups cannot stay at the same hotel but have to be divided into smaller groups to stay at several hotels,” he said. “Not every big delegation is content with the division.”
There are 125 hotels and other types of accommodations in Phú Yên, with more than 2,500 rooms, only 500 of which have a three to five-star rating.
Another weak points that Phú Yên should improve is poor tourism services.
“The 190-km coastline stretches along many beautiful bays and beaches. Yet tourism services at these points remain poor,” said Đài, “Pristine beaches are inviting, but to serve guesses well, the spots should be easily accessible and offer good service.”
Đài added that the province should offer a public beach for both residents and tourists near Tuy Hòa City, which is near accommodations, restaurants and the airport.
“Another weak point in Phú Yên is the limited number of good restanrants,” he said. “The localitity has various delicacies, like sea sardine, nước mắm (fish sauce), bánh hỏi lòng heo (vermicelli served with boiled pig’s intestine) and fresh seafood. Yet there are only three or four restaurants that can serve tourists, beside restaurants at hotels.”
The number of tourists to Phú Yên during 2011-15 increased 20 per cent per year, on average, with the number of foreign tourists growing 10 per cent per year. Income from tourism increased 30 per cent per year, on average.
In 2015, about 900,000 visitors came to the province, a 19.2 per cent increase against 2014. Some 45,000 were from overseas. The total 2015 income from tourism was VNĐ850 billion (US$37.8 million), a 33.3 per cent increase against 2014.
However, the numbers are small in comparison with those of Quảng Bình and Bình Định provinces.
Quảng Bình hosted 2.86 million visitors last year, a 3.9 per cent increase against the previous year.
Last year, the number of tourists to Bình Định reached 2.6 million (205,950 were foreigners), a 25 per cent growth compared to the previous year. The total income from tourism was over VNĐ 1,000 billion ($44.4 million), a 31 per cent increase against 2014.
Neighbouring Bình Định had similar infrastructure problems but has since made big achievements, with a beautiful public beach running along the city coast, luring not only Vietnamese but also foreigners, especially Russsians, he said.
Đài said Russian guests tend to tour from Nha Trang to Bình Định and Phú Yên, which is a big opportunity for Phú Yên. “If Phú Yên doesn’t change quickly, it will miss its chance for such potentital tourists.” — VNS