Vietnam’s “last paradise” intends to challenge Phuket and Bali
HANOI – The developers of Phu Quoc – an idyllic island in the Gulf of Thailand, off the coast of Cambodia and known as “Vietnam’s last paradise” – have plans to develop the gem into a major tourist resort.
The island, long a major producer of mam nuoc fish sauce, will attract a large number of tourists. But it will first have to overcome various obstacles, some of which are erected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the steep climb ahead, Le Khac Hiep, vice chairman of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, said in April that the island was on its way to becoming a leading regional resort destination. He was speaking at the baptism of Grand Monde, a “sleepless city” offering a variety of pleasures day and night, 365 days a year.
Inside the park, more than 1,000 restaurants, various shops and shophouses line either side of a canal. An aquatic show is organized every evening.
Grand World is full of “amazing spaces that make me feel like I’m not in my country,” said one enthusiastic tourist from Hanoi.
Things started to change for the sleepy island famous for its fish sauce in 2013, when the Vietnamese government of then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung designated the island as a special economic zone.
Vingroup has since invested $ 2.8 billion in the island. A theme park, casino and golf course are already operational, and the number of hotel rooms has reached 12,000.
Sun Group, a leading Vietnamese real estate company, has completed an aerial cable car that is one of the longest in the world, a theme park and other facilities.
Other projects are advancing.
To date, $ 16 billion in tourism-related business investment has been made in Phu Quoc, which is part of Kien Giang province.
Unlike its Thai and Indonesian neighbors, Vietnam has never been known for its resort islands. But Doan Van Tien, vice-chairman of the Phu Quoc People’s Committee, intends the island to compete with Phuket in Thailand and Bali in Indonesia.
A major challenge will be generating buzz, not an easy chore given Phu Quoc’s position as a new kid on a pond of popular destinations that also include Cebu and Boracay in the Philippines.
In 2019, before the coronavirus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the number of visitors to Phu Quoc increased 27% from the previous year, reaching 5.1 million. This year, the island plans to welcome 3 million holidaymakers, almost all of them national.
The island is working to attract Vietnamese visitors to overcome its hardships triggered by COVID. However, as the virus continues to spread and mutate, it may be lower than his estimate.
As Phu Quoc struggles to make a name for itself alongside its more established peers in Southeast Asia, travel experts say the island’s movers and shakers will need to rely on promotional efforts. down to earth in cooperation with airlines, travel agencies and other leisure companies.