|An overview of Sa Pa in the northern province of Lao Cai. Property developers are stepping up their projects' progress to make opportunities in the market. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
LAO CAI (VNS) — The Sa Pa tourist destination in the northern Lao Cai Province has become a magnet for property developers, following projections that the number of tourists coming there would increase sharply.
The footfalls in the urban tourism area have increased particularly after the opening of the Ha Noi-Lao Cai expressway last September, which reduces the travel time from Ha Noi to Lao Cai from the current seven hours to 3.5 hours.
It was also backed up by Lao Cai's recent investment in upgrading infrastructure to promote tourism development.
The number of tourists coming to Sa Pa is expected to increase, but hotels and villas in Sa Pa might fail to meet the demand. According to latest figures from the Lao Cai provincial tourism information centre, 126 businesses provide nearly 2,000 rooms and more than 3,600 beds to tourists.
However, more than half of them are small hotels run by private enterprises.
During the last Tet (Lunar New Year) festival alone, Sa Pa welcomed more than 5,000 visitors. Last year, it received 1.6 million tourists, proving that the tourism facilities in Sa Pa are being overloaded, thus opening up opportunities for property developers in this market.
Several giant firms have entered the tourist property market and are stepping up their projects' progress to open them as early as possible.
Last year, some major projects became operational in Sa Pa, such as the five-star Aristo International Hotel and four-star U Sa Pa Hotel.
At present, about 30 investment projects are involved in the construction of residential areas and tourist facilities.
The Truong Giang Sapa joint stock company is investing VND1.2 trillion (US$55.8 million) in building Mercure Sapa Resort and Spa complex in Sa Pa. Its construction started in 2012 and is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of this year.
Another giant firm Contrexim Holdings also plans to open a five-star hotel in Sa Pa in July. Covering more than 7,000sq.m, the hotel comprises 58 rooms and provides a wide range of services such as bar, spa, indoor swimming pool and gym.
Sa Pa is expected to see several real estate projects in the coming time, such as a 27ha ecotourism project with an investment capital of nearly $20 million, and the Sapa Indochina International hotel project with an investment capital of VND170 billion ($7.9 million), the People's Committee of Sa Pa town said.
Meanwhile, other giant firms such as Vincom, Bitexco and Sun Group also plan to invest in entertainment centres and resorts in this destination.
A highly acclaimed British website providing tourist information and guides, Rough Guides, has listed Sa Pa among the top nine new tourist attractions around the world. — VNS