Sao beach is the most beautiful and serene on Phú Quốc Island. — Photo travel.com.vn
HCM CITY — The Kiên Giang Province's People's Committee has submitted a master plan on sustainable development for Phú Quốc until 2040 to the PM for approval.
The master plan focuses on marine, coastal and island development to build a comprehensive infrastructure system linked with the infrastructure of the country and Mekong Delta.
It seeks to promote sustainable development, culture, environmental protection, security, and harmonisation of economic growth with the conservation of historical and cultural relics.
Under the plan, the Phú Quốc Economic Zone will be developed into a hub for trade and tourism services to attract domestic and international visitors, a political and cultural centre and a science and technology centre.
It will prioritise development of coastal and riverine areas and public green spaces to improve the quality of life for locals.
It will be key to creating a legal basis for the management of investment projects.
Blessed with white sand, turquoise beaches and pleasant weather almost all year round and with two-thirds of its area covered in tropical forests, Phú Quốc, nicknamed “pearl island”, is a holiday-goers’ paradise.
It is the largest island in the country at some 590,000sq.km, almost the same size as Singapore.
The Phú Quốc National Park, which has mountains, dense tropical jungle, hiking trails, and wildlife, spreads over more than half of the island.
Phú Quốc is close to most of Southeast Asia and part of international freight routes, and less than two hours by air from the capitals of many countries in the neighbourhood.
It has had an international airport since 2012, with travellers flying directly to the island enjoying a 30-day visa-free stay. International airlines operate both commercial and charter flights to the island.
Phú Quốc is set to become one of the country’s three special economic administrative zones along with Vân Đồn in the northern province of Quảng Ninh and Bắc Vân Phong in the south-central province of Khánh Hòa.
It received more than five million visitors last year, up 30 per cent from 2018, including 541,600 foreigners.
Phú Quốc city proposal
A proposal to upgrade Phú Quốc island district into a city has received the approval of 96.28 per cent of its people, Phạm Văn Nghiệp, vice chairman of the Phú Quốc District People’s Committee, said.
The feedback has been submitted to the People’s Committee of Kiên Giang Province, where Phú Quốc is located.
Nghiệp said the island held a poll on the proposed establishment of Phú Quốc island city in which almost all of its 64,263 residents voted.
They also voted for a proposal to establish Dương Đông Ward (currently Dương Đông town) and An Thới Ward by merging Hòn Thơm Commune into An Thới Town.
Last month province authorities collected public feedback on the proposal to convert the island district into a city.
The city will have a population of more than 177,500, two wards, Dương Đông and An Thới, and six communes, Hàm Ninh, Dương Tơ, Gành Dấu, Bãi Thơm, Cửa Dương, and Cửa Cạn.
The province will soon submit the proposal to the National Assembly for approval. If approved, Phú Quốc will become the first island city in Việt Nam, according to Nghiệp.
It currently faces problems related to its growing population, education, healthcare, trade, tourism, and security, and becoming a city would enable Phú Quốc to address them, he said.
“The establishment of a city will play an important role in asserting the country’s sovereignty over its waters and islands.”
In 2018 the Government gave the green light for the province to hire a foreign consultant to draw up a master plan to develop the island into a special administrative and economic zone.
Most large corporations such as Vingroup, Bim Group, Sun Group, CEO Group have invested in Phú Quốc, which has attracted more than $15 billion so far.
There are more than 300 projects worth over VNĐ361 trillion ($15.55 million), according to the Kiên Giang Province People’s Committee.
Currently there are over 600 lodgings, including hotels and resorts, with nearly 20,000 rooms on the island. It expects to have 12,000 five-star hotel rooms by the end of this year.
A master plan to develop Phú Quốc into a special administrative economic zone offers many incentives to investors.
It will have the best mechanisms and incentives in the whole country, according to provincial authorities.
Its corporate and personal income tax rates are the lowest in the country, while land rents are waived for the first four years and cut by 50 per cent for the next nine.
It is seeking approval to offer 99-year land leases to investors.
The incentives continue to attract large investments from both local and international firms. — VNS
Visitors to Dinh Cậu Rock on Phú Quốc Island. — VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải