Awakening potential, promoting advantages
Binh Dinh possesses many pristine islands, such as Hon Kho, Eo Gio and Cu Lao Xanh, diverse cultural and historical resources with 13 valuable Cham towers, famous art forms such as bai choi singing (a form of folk singing popular in central Vietnam) and tuong (classical dramas), as well as the Tay Son festival, Binh Dinh martial arts, traditional Cau Ngu (fish worshipping) Festivals, and traditional craft villages, with many delicious specialties and friendly people. These are the advantages for tourism development that the province has exploited and promoted effectively.
In recent years, Binh Dinh has combined sea and island tourism with cultural and historical tourism, creating a unique value. Nhon Ly commune (Quy Nhon city) is the most developed province in terms of tourism, due to its many famous landscapes, such as Ky Co beach, Eo Gio tourist area and Quy Nhon FLC resort complex. According to incomplete statistics, in the first nine months of 2018, the number of visitors reached 230,000. According to Vice Chairman of Nhon Ly commune People’s Committee, Nguyen Thanh Danh, tourism services started to appear in the commune from 2015 and are developing rapidly. The number of fishermen changing from coastal fishing to participating in the tourism sector has also increased rapidly. The services of tourist canoes, seafood restaurants, and homestays have brought high economic benefits to local people. Over the past four years, Nhon Ly has added nearly 70 guesthouses and hotels, as well as hundreds of restaurants and souvenir shops. Hundreds of poor fishermen have now become cruise ship owners, guides, chefs, restaurant staff and hotels owners. Thanks to tourism, from a poor coastal commune, the whole commune now doesn’t have any temporary houses, all are solid houses.
Vo Ngoc Trien is a young man of 20 years old. Unlike most of his friends, after he graduated from high school, he participated in the tourist sector. The family has restaurants, tramcars and canoes, so he studied and was granted a driver’s license. Recently, he has been participating in a tour guide class in Da Nang. Many families in Nhon Ly are also directing their children to follow the model.
Along with the creation of tourism products imbued with the local cultural identities, Binh Dinh province is also interested in training and fostering knowledge for local people, who are participating in community tourism. The Binh Dinh Department of Tourism has organised a series of communication programmes to equip indigenous people with basic knowledge about: cultural behavior, legal knowledge, professional skills and customer service skills. In order to raise awareness and improve tourist services skills for families and residential communities at six places with potential for community-based tourism development, including: Ghenh Rang ward, Nhon Ly commune, Nhon Hai commune (Quy Nhon city), Tam Quan Nam commune (Hoai Nhon district), My Tho commune (Phu My district), Nhon Hau commune (An Nhon town). Deputy Director of Binh Dinh Department of Tourism, Le Thi Vinh Huong, said that building a consciousness for people in undertaking responsible tourism, respecting historical values, indigenous cultures and people, is always the correct solution to develop community-based tourism.
In 2017, the province welcomed about 3.7 million visitors, total tourism revenue was nearly VND 2,134 billion, up 42.5% over 2016. In the first nine months of 2018, Binh Dinh welcomed 3.46 million tourists, up 11% over the same period in 2017.
Aiming for sustainable development
In addition to the advantages of nature, sea and islands, Binh Dinh also has cultural – historical heritage, many relics related to the Tay Son dynasty, in addition to the intangible cultural heritage such as bai choi singing (a form of folk singing popular in central Vietnam), tuong (classical drama) and Binh Dinh martial arts. The question is how to promote these values through tourism.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Ho Quoc Dung, said that with the available potential, the province is planning to develop a number of specific tourism products. The most outstanding product is still sea and island tourism. Binh Dinh has reconstructed the Quy Nhon coast, Phuong Mai bay and more than 134 km of the coast of the province to develop tourism, with the novel and unique tourism products. Secondly, for historical – cultural tourism, Binh Dinh has more than 200 historical relics with many unique cultural features. The province is planning to restore Quang Trung Museum, Cham tower system, and the traditional rooms for the practice of martial arts to develop historical tourism. In the future, the province will combine the spiritual relics such as Thien Mai or Ong Nui Pagoda to create completed historical – cultural – spiritual tours. Thirdly, the province will develop a type of science conference tourism in association with the International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE) of Professor Tran Thanh Van. At present, Binh Dinh welcomes over 1,000 scientists each year. This is an opportunity to promote Binh Dinh tourism. From the success of the centre, the province is building a complex of scientific space, with items such as science museums, a cosmic house and tourist areas. The Chairman expressed his hope that the complex would become an attractive destination in the near future.
Aiming to realise the tourist product groups, Binh Dinh is focusing on upgrading its infrastructure, especially those connected to tourist sites and transport infrastructure. The province is also focusing on re-organising the existing tourist sites in order to match the potential and strengths of each tourist site, meanwhile, the province has combined the investment in specific products, to bring different feelings to visitors when they arrive in Quy Nhon and Binh Dinh.
In fact, over the past time, with many sources of capital, Binh Dinh has invested thousands of billions of VND to upgrade the inter-provincial and inter-district roads connecting the airport and the station to the tourism destinations. The leading corporations in tourism and resorts sectors such as Anphanam, Marriott, or TMS have also invested in large projects in Binh Dinh province. The number of tourists travelling to Binh Dinh has increased and the number of flights to Phu Cat airport increased up to 49 flights per week. The new T1 terminal, which is three times larger than the old terminal, has been in operation from May 2018. In 2018, many transport infrastructure projects have continued to be implemented. All of these are contributing advantages to Binh Dinh’s realisation of the construction of tourism products that attract tourists, making a difference in the chain of links with province in the South Central and Central Highlands regions.