Bạc Liêu diversifies new tourism products

March 10, 2024 - 08:22
The Mekong Delta province of Bạc Liêu is focusing on building tours associated with cultural activities, ecotourism and experience tourism.

By Văn Châu & Trang Nhã

Bạc Liêu Mansion - a must-visit landmark in Bạc Liêu City. VNS Photo Văn Châu

The Mekong Delta province of Bạc Liêu with rich natural resources and biodiversity along with dozens of historical and cultural heritage sites has great potential and advantages to develop eco-tourism.

Bạc Liêu is only 280km from HCM City, about 100km from famous tourist destinations of the Mekong Delta such as Cần Thơ City and Kiên Giang Province, and 50km from Sóc Trăng City, making it rather convenient for tourists.

In addition to the role of blocking ocean waves and providing habitat for wild animals, protective forests are also rich in resources to build attractive ecotourism models.

With the orientation of expanding the tourism space towards the sea, the province, with 56km of coastline and immense mangrove forests, is trying to awaken the tourism potential under the forest canopy to help tourists have interesting experiences of the diverse cultures of different ethnic minority groups and local specialty foods.

When coming to Bạc Liêu, visitors also have the opportunity to admire the mansion of "Công tử Bạc Liêu" or "Bạc Liêu Playboy" who was a famous open-handed dude about 100 years ago.

The more than 100-year-old mansion with bold Western architecture is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province.

The rich family residence, located at 13 Điện Biên Phủ Street, was built in 1919 with a design by a French architect and materials mainly brought from France. Many valuable objects are still housed in the building.

In order to attract more tourists, part of the mansion has since 2003 been converted into a hotel.

Cao Văn Lầu Theatre with unique architecture. VNS Photo Văn Châu

Wind farms

Bạc Liêu is also focusing on building tours associated with cultural activities, ecotourism and experience tourism such as visiting the province’s wind farms, memorial houses for đờn ca tài tử (southern folk music) and artist Cao Văn Lầu, Tắc Sậy Cathedral, Đồng Nọc Nạng heritage site, and Hưng Thiện and Giác Hoa pagodas.

The most popular wind farm is located in the coastal area of Vĩnh Trạch Đông Commune, more than 10km from central Bạc Liêu City.

Visitors only pay about VNĐ30,000 for a ticket to discover the farm, which is considered the new popular landmark of Bạc Liêu Province, attracting thousands of visitors every month.

A concrete road running straight to the sea will help visitors get closer to the turbines like giant pinwheels slowly rotating in the wind. From the foot of these pinwheels, looking up at the giant blades spinning in the sky, few people know that this place was once a mangrove forest.

A wind farm in Bạc Liêu Province. VNS Photo Văn Châu

“Having seen the giant wind turbines with my own eyes, I feel proud and admire the will of the people who created this project. It has brought me many interesting emotions and experiences, completely different from other places I have been to,” Lê Trần Tiến, a tourist from Bình Dương Province, said.

The Bạc Liêu Bird Reserve covering over 160ha is also a must-visit place in the province. Visitors will have the opportunity to watch more than 40 rare, endangered bird species, which have been born and bred there.

Bạc Liêu Bird Sanctuary – a popular place to watch birds in the Mekong Delta. VNS Photo Văn Châu

The best time of day to go birdwatching in the bird sanctuary is the early morning, from sunrise to about 8am, when most birds leave their nests to begin a day searching for food. The visitors will also have a chance to listen to their songs and mating calls.

Religious heritage sites

Cultural and religious heritage sites are also worth a visit, such as the statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, which was built in 1973. This is an outstanding architectural, cultural and spiritual work of art. An attractive feature for tourists is the 11m high statue, which faces the East Sea to bless and protect fishermen who make a living at sea.

Xiêm Cán Pagoda located seven kilometres from Bạc Liêu City is one of the biggest and most beautiful ethnic Khmer pagodas in southern Việt Nam. The pagoda built in 1887 has many features that highlight Khmer history and culture.

The conical hat-shaped Cao Văn Lầu Theatre sits next to Hùng Vương Square in Bạc Liêu City. The theatre is an architectural work that has won many domestic awards, with a unique design of three conical-hat-shaped rooftops.

It is an attractive destination in Bạc Liêu and a place to preserve the material and spiritual values of the Mekong Delta people in the process of developing their cultural life.

Xiêm Cán Pagoda is known as the most beautiful Khmer pagoda in Bạc Liêu Province. VNS Photo Văn Châu

'Tourism hub'

In 2023, Bạc Liêu welcomed 4.2 million visitors with a total revenue of VNĐ3.85 trillion, which ranked fourth in the Mekong Delta area.

Tourism development in the province has facilitated economic development, attracted investment, created jobs and improved local life.

During the recent one-week Lunar New Year holiday, 245,000 tourists visited Bạc Liêu, an increase of 11.7 per cent compared with 2023. Total tourism revenue was around VNĐ125 billion, including VNĐ62 billion from the hospitality industry.

The Director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Trần Thị Lan Phương, says that in the future, the province will call for investment for developing facilities related to tourism and infrastructure for major areas so that Bạc Liêu can be a tourism centre in the Mekong Delta.

The province has promoted its tourism business in Hà Nội, HCM City and other key tourism markets in Việt Nam, as well as in neighbouring countries.

Bạc Liêu usually holds cultural, sports, and tourism events at regional, national and international levels to publicise its image to attract more tourists at home and abroad to the province.

Phạm Văn Thiều, chairman of the Bạc Liêu People's Committee, says that the province's tourism sector is continuously developing. Every year, the number of tourists increases by around 15 per cent, and total revenue increases by around 20 per cent.

The province has researched and developed different types of tours such as agritourism, ecotourism, and community-based tourism, along with traditional festivals of different ethnic groups.

Local speciality products that meet tourists' demand as souvenirs are also a key element to push tourism development. The province has 130 such products of diverse designs and high quality.

This year the province is expected to welcome 7 million visits, create 30,000 local jobs and reach a revenue of over VNĐ10 trillion, accounting for around 7 to 9 per cent of the province's GRDP.

Bạc Liêu will strive to have a sustainable tourism industry by 2030, welcoming 12 million visits, creating 50,000 local jobs, and securing VNĐ28 trillion in revenue. VNS