Investment into tourism economic development solution for ethnic minorities in Bac Kan
The Ba Be Lake (Bac Kan). (Source: Vietnam Tourism)
It is a mountainous province located deep in the Northeast region, in which ethnic minorities account for over 88%, including 7 main ethnic groups: the Tay, Nung, Dao, Mong, Kinh, Hoa and San Chay. The ethnic diversity represents itself a treasure of tourism resources for Bac Kan. It can be mentioned as a special national historical relic site – the Cho Don secured safe zone, a stopover for Uncle Ho at Na Tu, and Ba Be lake tourist area...
It is worth mentioning that many traditional festivals of ethnic minorities are still preserved to this day, such as Ba Be Long Tong festival, Xuan Duong love market, and Mu La Pac Nam music festival (games and performance by the H’Mong).
However, at the peak time when national tourism was at the fastest growing momentum (in 2019), this place only received more than 500,000 visitors/year. For the whole period of 2016-2019, Bac Kan only received over 1.8 million tourists, revenue from tourism reached more than VND 980 billion, the contribution of tourism reached about 1.7% of the province's GRDP.
According to experts, the number of around 500,000 visitors per year that Bac Kan recorded in 2019 is extremely low compared to its inherent resources. And the reason for Bac Kan being among the provinces with the lowest number of tourists in the country is that it has not turned its rich tourism resources into attractive tourism products.
The Chairman of the People's Committee of Bac Kan province, Mr. Nguyen Dang Binh also admitted: “Despite possessing many advantages, Bac Kan tourism has not had the development conditions commensurate with the available potential. In particular, the flow of high-end tourists and foreign tourists does not seem to have paid much attention to this destination.
The identified barriers mainly come from the lack of quality infrastructure to serve tourists and the lack of strategic products. Bac Kan is making efforts to call investors across the country to come to the locality to research, invest, exploit and promote potential tourism.
Strategic investors to be called in
The biggest bottleneck for tourism development in Bac Kan is the asynchronous transport infrastructure. The distance from Hanoi capital to Bac Kan is not far, but it still takes a long time to travel. While the road from Bac Kan city to Ba Be tourist area is quite winding and degraded, making travel very tough.
To overcome this barrier, Bac Kan is determined to complete the road from Cho Moi to Bac Kan City to Ba Be Lake to directly connect the tourist route from Hanoi to the lake; concurrently, to build many inter-district roads to develop tourism within the province and connect to Na Hang tourist area (of Tuyen Quang province).
A conference on promotion and advertising for Bac Kan tourist destination was held on April 1st, 2022. (Source: Emulation and Reward Magazine).
Accordingly, in the period of 2021-2025, Bac Kan plans to invest VND 7,000 billion of public investment into the transport sector, of which the main focus is the highway from Cho Moi to Bac Kan city and the tourist route from Bac Kan City to Ba Be Lake, a link to Na Hang (Tuyen Quang).
When these two routes are completed, the travel time from Hanoi to Ba Be Lake will only be about three hours. Along with that, the province will propose to the Central Government to invest in building an expressway from Bac Kan to Cao Bang city.
In addition, the province also focuses on "Building mechanisms and policies to support and create a favorable environment for tourism development" with a focus on attracting strategic investors who are capable and experienced in investing in complex tourist service areas, large-scale tourism service projects, especially accommodation establishments, entertainment facilities, high-class resorts, in accordance with new needs and trends in tourism; it is also to encourage the start-ups, innovation, creativity, diversity in tourism in accordance with local strengths.
Currently, Bac Kan is focusing on directing and planning the construction of key tourist areas in accordance with the province's planning in the period of 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050, as an investment basis to build infrastructure systems and attract investment in tourism development. At the same time, it is to focus on planning the preservation, overhauling, restoration of the special national relic – the Cho Don secured safe zone; to make a good planning of the national scenic relics, especially the Ba Be lake and its vicinity.
The leaders of Bac Kan Provincial People's Committee are committed to making restless efforts to improve the tourism environment, build smart tourism services, promote linkages in planned development, make infrastructure connections; enrich cultural heritage values, adapt to climate change, protect the environment, provide proper training of human resources, advertise and promote inbound tourism.
Bac Kan province has set a target that by 2025, Ba Be tourist area will become a national tourist area, welcoming at least 32,000 international visitors and 1 million domestic visitors, to gain a total revenue of VND 1,000 billion from tourist services.
By 2030, Bac Kan tourism will basically become a spearhead economic sector of the province, attracting about 50,000 international visitors and 1.7 million domestic tourists, to gain a total revenue of VND 2,500 billion from tourist services.