Located 24 km to the south-east of Quy Nhơn, the small island of Cù Lao Xanh has an area of around 5 sq.km, which is 4km in length and the largest part of which is just 1.2km.
Despite its impressively blue charm as its name and picturesque landscapes, the island has long been an unrecognized destination on Việt Nam's tourism map, and is now still considered "the island of the old and the children."
Although the island is surrounded by the sea on all sides, its people are not able to make their living from the sea.
According to the People's Committee of Nhơn Châu Commune, the highest annual fishery production in Cù Lao Xanh is less than 1,000 tons and that is plummeting, once reported less than 400 tons. The average monthly income of people could not even reach VNĐ1 million (US$45) and the average population once dropped to only 2,000 people.
Expect the prosperity
There have been marked signs of change since 2016. Along with the impressive growth of tourism in Bình Định, the name Cù Lao Xanh is being gradually mentioned more besides Kỳ Co, Eo Gió, Trung Lương.
"Due to the poverty and difficult conditions previously, the youth on the island were forced to move to the mainland. Now the situation has changed. Several industries including tourism have flourished and young people are returning home to make their living," says the head of Nhơn Châu commune.
With about 500 households living mainly on the shore front, the entire area of 325ha of Cù Lao Xanh is still almost deserted with rocks piled aside the white sandy beach.
The lagoons in Cù Lao Xanh are meandering and winding, surrounded by crystal clear waters reflecting the bottom with colourful coral reefs and seaweeds. The shades of green and blue from the trees, the sea and the sky are mixed, creating a stunning scenery that could impress any visitors first stepping foot here.
In August 2017, Phan Văn Bình, chairman of People's Committee of Nhơn Châu Commune said that since the beginning of the year, there have been over 1,500 visitors to Cù Lao Xanh.
This figure is not large when compared with nearly four million visitors coming to Bình Định in 2017. However, this has brought a lot of joy to the people of Cù Lao Xanh.
In fact, to set the name of this "island of the old and children" as a tourist destination on the Vietnam tourism’s map as other places of Bình Định, the people of Cù Lao Xanh still face a tough journey ahead.
At present, the island uses electricity from diesel generators running from 5pm to 11pm daily, with a small number of boats taking people from the island to the mainland forth and back in turn.
Tourism on the island still remains completely self-sufficient and scattered with hardly any accommodation. In the long term, this situation hampers the development of Cù Lao Xanh as well and unitedly as several other areas in Bình Định.
The chairman of Nhơn Châu Commune at least twice expressed his wish for investors to go to Cù Lao Xanh to expand the infrastructure, help develop tourism as well as improve living standards of the local people.
Binh’s wish came true when the People's Committee of Bình Định Province approved the investment policy of the ecotourism resort and villas project FLC Cù Lao Xanh in August 2017 by FLC Faros JSC.
What makes FLC Cù Lao Xanh Resort?
As planned, the ecotourism resort and villa FLC Cù Lao Xanh covers an area of 120 ha, in which over 105 hectares are allocated for the development including 47.2 ha of land and 57.9 hectares of water surface.
The project will contain numerous integrated items such as hotels, forest villas, rocky resorts, sea bungalows, scenic towers, beaches, water parks, restaurants, a spa and a gymnasium, with the total capital nearly VNĐ486 billion ($21.4 million).
The project developer - FLC Faros is one of the most prestigious construction contractors in Việt Nam, also known as the owner of a large number of big scale projects.
In the stock market, FLC Faros share (coded ROS) has been among those having seen the strongest net foreign inflows since the start of 2018. It has currently been one of the most lucrative constituents of the portfolios owned by three major foreign-run ETFs in Việt Nam’s stock market.
FLC Faros's portfolio comprises 11 projects with a total investment of $3 billion, of which many are jointly implemented with FLC Group, such as FLC Quảng Bình, FLC Quy Nhơn, Quy Nhơn Safari Park, The Coastal Hill Hotel, FLC Lux City Samson.
With FLC Cù Lao Xanh, "we want to build a resort property in harmony with nature and minimise the impacts on the environment during the implementation," said Trịnh Văn Quyết, chairman of FLC Faros.
He also adds that when put into operation, this project will increase the opportunities to exploit tourism for all residents in Cù Lao Xanh, not only working on the project but also for various activities including home-stay or travel service for tourists.
"We want to share as many opportunities as possible with the people here," the FLC Faros chairman emphasises.
The model of investing in the primitive and pre-tourist sites has been successfully implemented by the FLC Faros and FLC Group in Thanh Hóa and Bình Định, proved by great socio-economic efficiency when put into operation recently.
Being applied and expanded in Cù Lao Xanh, this model will turn the treasured jewel into a new remarkable destination in Việt Nam as expected by FLC Faros. Combined with Eo Gió – Kỳ Co - Quy Nhơn, these sites will form a series of featured spots of Bình Định, contributing to make this “land of martial art and literature” become a "new tourist paradise" of Việt Nam.