Tourists ride bicycles on Cồn Chim Island in Trà Vinh Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Hoà
The Mekong Delta province of Trà Vinh is developing more nature-based tourism products and new-style rural areas to attract tourists and improve local incomes.
With a coastline of 65km and its location between the Tiền and Hậu rivers, two main tributaries of the Mekong, the province has diverse natural tourism resources besides cultural attractions.
It has many riverine islands with orchards offering year round harvests and friendly local people, ideal for developing eco-tourism.
It also has large Hoa and Khmer ethnic minority populations, whose cultures are major attractions.
There are many popular tourism destinations like Bà Om Lake and Âng Pagoda Complex in Trà Vinh City, a 700ha eco-tourism mangrove forest in Duyên Hải District and Tân Quy Island in Cầu Kè District.
Bà Om Lake and Âng Pagoda were recognised as national cultural and historic heritages in 1994.
Bà Om Lake is a popular destination in the province. — Photo thamhiemmekong.com
Trà Vinh City is well known for its high rate of urban greenery, with more than 14,000 trees aged hundreds of years old planted along its streets.
Lê Thanh Bình, vice chairman of the province People’s Committee, said besides existing attractions, the province has also been developing ecological, cultural and community-based tourism products in recent years.
Cồn Chim Island in Châu Thành District’s Hoà Minh Commune, for instance, began to offer nature tourism in 2019.
Here visitors can try their hand at traditional games and cooking local specialities, walk in fruit orchards, row boats, and catch crab, shrimp and fish.
It is situated in the Cổ Chiên River, has a total area of 64ha and 54 households, some of whom offer homestay services.
Half of its farmlands are used to grow rice and vegetables, and fruit trees are grown on the rest. Farmers grow clean produce without using pesticides and other chemicals.
Phạm Văn Phú, a representative of Theme Travel, a HCM City-based company, said he had visited Cồn Chim three times and enjoyed its fresh air, tranquility and friendly locals.
He said he was impressed with local people’s high awareness of environmental protection.
His company had included the island into its tours in Trà Vinh, he added.
Võ Văn Bé, whose household on the island offers tourism services, said, “Farming rice and shrimp cold earn [my family] an income of VNĐ10-20 million (US$430-860) a year, while tourism services bring in VNĐ30-50 million ($1,300-2,100).”
Lê Văn Trí, secretary of the Hoà Minh Commune Party Committee, said: “After Cồn Chim Island began tourism services, the lives of the islanders have improved significantly because many locals have better jobs.”
The island had received more than 22,000 visitors in the two years since it began offering tourism services, he said.
The average income of people on the island increased to VNĐ60 million ($2,600) last year, or VNĐ13 million ($560) higher than in 2019.
According to vice chairman Bình, tourism and the programme to build new style rural areas are the province’s two major missions, and they positively impact each other.
The programme improves the look of rural areas, lifestyles and infrastructure, and these help develop tourism, while tourism helps improve new-style rural areas by increasing incomes.
Dương Hoàng Sum, director of the province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said to further develop tourism, the province is spending VNĐ12.8 billion ($550,000) in 2021-22 on promotional activities within the country and abroad.
It is soliciting investment in a number of tourism projects, including Ba Động Beach and a farm for eco-tourism in Duyên Hải Town, ethnic Khmer culture-tourism village in Trà Vinh City and Châu Thành District. VNS
Tourists watch a crab race on Cồn Chim Island in Trà Vinh Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Hoà