|Seventeen eco-tourism areas will be built under a tourism development project in the Côn Đảo National Park until 2030. — VNA/VNS Photo|
BÀ RỊA-VŨNG TÀU — The southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu has planned to establish 17 eco-tourism areas under a tourism development project at Côn Đảo National Park until 2030.
The project includes ecological, leisure and entertainment areas at the national park.
The authority of Côn Đảo island will promote eco-tourism and raise public awareness about Côn Đảo’s natural, cultural, historical and humanitarian values through tourism activities.
Park Director Nguyễn Khắc Phó said the park is pioneering eco-tourism in combination with nature education. It will work with local authorities and agencies to enhance forest and maritime resource preservation, and build a database on forest resources, along with a map of natural resources.
The province expects the new activities will attract more investment in tourism in Côn Đảo.
The 16-island archipelago of Côn Đảo is located at 180km from Vũng Tàu City, and about 230km southeast of HCM City. It has a land area of nearly 6,000ha and water surface of 14,000ha.
It is well known for its beaches with white sand, deep blue water and colorful coral reefs. French colonialists and the Americans turned the island into a prison to jail Vietnamese revolutionary soldiers in wartime. The former prison facility has attracted many local and foreign visitors in recent years.
The national park is home to 1,077 species of vascular plants and 155 species of fauna. Many bird species in Côn Đảo cannot be found anywhere else in Việt Nam, such as the red-billed tropicbird, masked booby, and pied imperial pigeon.
Surveys conducted by the Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography found more than 1,300 maritime fauna and flora species, including 44 in Việt Nam’s Red Data Book, in the park. Côn Đảo is home to a small population of dugongs that are vulnerable to extinction worldwide.
Côn Đảo National Park is also an important nesting place for olive ridley sea turtles and hawksbill sea turtles, two species threatened with extinction globally.
The national park, a Ramsar site of wetlands of international importance, has more than 340 species of corals and is one of the richest and most diverse coral reefs in the country.
However, many of its reefs suffered from bleaching and died on a large scale because of rising sea temperatures in 1998, 2010 and 2016 and because of low salinity in 2005.
Many of the affected reefs could not recover naturally. — VNS