|Foreign tourists visit a fish sauce production facility in Phu Quoc Island of Southern Kien Giang Province. The island is striving to become an international eco-tourism and resort centre. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
KIEN GIANG (VNS) — Phu Quoc, an island in Viet Nam's southwestern waters, is striving to become an international eco-tourism and resort centre.
Viet Nam's largest island, dubbed the Pearl Island in the southern province of Kien Giang, attracts numerous tourism development projects and thousands of holiday-makers due to its landscapes and geographical features.
Local authorities and investors take great efforts to support tourism development, and they are certainly paying off: visitor numbers are at an all-time high.
Phu Quoc welcomed approximately 600,000 tourists in 2014, an annual increase of nearly 40 per cent, and this year's numbers are expected to exceed 850,000 visitors.
The island posted an 84.28 per cent hike in tourism revenue last year, totalling more than VND2.2 trillion (US$104.8 million), according to the People's Committee of Phu Quoc District.
However, despite its large number of tourists, the island has yet to attract large investors, said Phung Xuan Mai, general director of the Sai Gon-Phu Quoc Resort. He added that local tourism operators still neglected quality of service amid the spike in visitors, which has prevented Phu Quoc from becoming a top regional destination.
To remedy this, Deputy Chairman of Phu Quoc district's People's Committee Huynh Quang Hung said local authorities were working with schools and vocational training centres to boost the island's human resources to meet increasing demand for highly skilled tourism staff.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently approved the building of an entertainment complex with a casino on Phu Quoc, which is expected to help lure more visitors.
At present, Phu Quoc Island has more than 4,000 hotel rooms on offer, which can accommodate 7,000 to 8,000 guests. A number of hotel and resort construction projects are currently under way in an attempt to cater to tourism demands and make the island an international tourism hub. — VNS