Việt Nam's tourism resources under threat

December 24, 2018 - 09:00

The emerging mass tourism in coastal provinces in recent years has destroyed natural beauty spots at a furious pace. And In the next five years, Việt Nam may lose all tourism resources.

Volunteers pick up trash on Sơn Trà Peninsula in an effort to clean up local environment. — VNA/VNS Photo Trần Lê Lâm
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The emerging mass tourism in coastal provinces in recent years has destroyed natural beauty spots at a furious pace.

And in the next five years, Việt Nam may lose all tourism resources.

The stark warning came from Vũ Thế Bình, deputy head of Việt Nam Tourism Association speaking at a recent conference.

Cửa Đại Beach in Hội An Town, the central province of Quảng Nam, for example, has gradually lost its attraction to Western tourists due to salt intrusion.

Many now choose An Bàng Beach or Hà My Beach instead, but that beach is also showing signs of subsidence.

Cửa Đại Beach erosion is caused by the lack of mud and soil running from the upstream.

Professor Nguyễn Kim Đan told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that the construction of hydropower plant dams and illegal sand mining on Thu Bồn River, the mother river of Quảng Nam Province, also contributes to the shortage of mud.

Too many resorts built on the shore block the supply of sand to the beach, making Cửa Đại gradually disappear.

Mũi Né Beach in the southern central province of Ninh Thuận, once featured in top ten beautiful beaches in Asia-Pacific, is now facing similar problems.

From fully booked years ago, “the resort land” of Mũi Né has seen a decline in the number of visitors.

On most popular booking sites like, Agoda or Tripadvisor, many travelers have left negative feedbacks for the beach saying it has lost its original charm.

At present, according to Bình, only two southern central provinces of Ninh Thuận and Phú Yên still have tourism resources.

“These provinces should take time and not rush to invest into beach tourism. As a follower, Ninh Thuận Province needs to be aware of other localities’ failures and be careful in planning and choosing investors,” he said.

Red alerts

Right after Bãi Kem in Phú Quốc Island was named in top 100 most beautiful beaches in the world by the Canada-based Flight Network and the island aimed to become Việt Nam’s special economic zone, local beaches have started being divided into areas to build tourism spots.

However, many of these constructions are illegal. Earlier this year, Phú Quốc Island Urban Security Surveillance Team found 650 cases of violating regulations of construction.

According to Việt Nam Association of Realtors, in the first three months of 2018, the price for one sq.m of land on Phú Quốc Island’s central street of Trần Hưng Đạo rose almost threefold, set at VNĐ100 million (US$4,300).

Nguyễn Tấn Phong, deputy director of Phú Quốc District Land Registration Office, said they received 1,000 dossiers asking for acquiring land use right certificates each month.

Bình Châu Commune in Xuyên Mộc District, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, which has been long considered as the “green lung” of the southeast region is now being targeted by investors.

The land price has been rising dramatically from VNĐ400-500 million ($17,200-21,500) for 100sq.m to VNĐ600-700 million ($25,800-30,100) in the past few months.

Trần Văn Nguyên, a Canadian-Vietnamese investor, said it was easy to earn huge profits after a short period of time by investing into real estate projects in Việt Nam’s new tourism spots.

He quoted by Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper, as saying: “Local authorities roll out the red carpets for investors and we almost reserve all rights on the areas we buy. In other countries, not to mention projects affecting environment, even a normal construction needs authorities’ approvals of structure, functions and environmental impacts.”

Beautiful landscapes, convenient services and flocks of visitors have become a common formula of Việt Nam tourism for years.

Only until many natural landscapes started being destroyed, did people realise their impacts on environment and discuss sustainable tourism.

Đào Đặng Công Trung, 40, in the coastal city of Đà Nẵng, who has picked up trash on Sơn Trà Peninsula, said mass tourism is affecting the local ecosystem.

Some monkeys living in the peninsula have formed a habit of finding food in the trash tourists throw away and not in the forest anymore.

He warned that without tighter management, Sơn Trà may become the second Cửa Đại Beach in the near future, suffering the severe damage and never restoring its original beauty.

“It is impossible to say the national tourism is developing when only referring to the number of tourists. Most of tourism agencies have not paid much attention in preserving and protecting the nature’s gifts. The doomed future for our tourism is foreseen if this situation is continued,” said Bình. — VNS