|World treasure: Hạ Long Bay draws tourists with a its magnificent scene of more than 1,500 limestone karst islands popping up from turquoise waters. — Photo gapyear.com|Viet Nam News
Authorities have announced that an international airport near Hạ Long Bay will open next March, according to Hà Nội Mới Newspaper.
The airport, the first private facility in Việt Nam, will be on Vân Đồn Island around 50 kilometers from the famous bay and have a capacity of two million passengers a year.
Details are not yet available, but the US$330 million airport is designed to receive two million arrivals a year by 2020, and there are plans to expand the capacity to five million by 2030.
Another Vietnamese company is building a $2 billion casino complex on the island.
Hạ Long Bay was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Việt Nam.
Visitor numbers rose 23 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of the year to 944,000, including more than 800,000 foreigners. — VNS