Switzerland Backs Can Tho City in Pursuit of Sustainable Tourism

The Can Tho Urban Development and Resilience Project must be completed as soon as possible in order to address the various difficulties that the city of Can Tho is currently experiencing, similar to other cities.

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Officials from Can Tho City had a meeting with a delegation from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to discuss the implementation of a sustainable tourism development project funded by the Swiss Government in Vietnam for the period of 2023-2027, according to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

Participants at the working session. Photo: VNA
Participants at the working session. Photo: VNA

Katrin Ochsenbein, the Deputy Head of the Cooperation and Development Division at the Embassy of Switzerland in Vietnam, led the delegation. She stated that SECO is responsible for the Economic Development and Cooperation Programme of Switzerland in Vietnam. Katrin Ochsenbein, deputy head of the Cooperation and Development Division at the Embassy of Switzerland in Vietnam, who led the delegation, said SECO is currently in charge of the Economic Development and Cooperation Programme of Switzerland in Vietnam.

SECO’s strategy for Vietnam in 2021-2024 is focused on helping the Southeast Asian nation attain sustainable growth, she highlighted.

According to Ochsenbein, Switzerland has been providing Can Tho with support in public finance management, sustainable urban development, and tourism. The Swiss Tourism for Sustainable Development Project (ST4SD) in Vietnam for the 2023-2027 period seeks to help create a more sustainable and inclusive tourism sector in Vietnam. The project promotes public-private dialogue on tourism policy, and develops sustainable tourism management and business skills.

From May 16-19, the SECO and ST4SD delegation conducted a survey in the Mekong Delta region as part of activities to evaluate the potential, capacity, and dedication of localities to participate in the project in the near future.

Deputy Director of Can Tho’s Municipal Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Dao Thi Thanh Thuy, recently declared that the city’s tourism sector is actively pursuing solutions to develop it into a leading economic sector.

Can Tho has been supported by international organisations in developing sustainable and green tourism that has unique characteristics. Switzerland has provided financial support for two projects on Tan Loc island and at the Cai Rang floating market, according to the head of the locality’s tourism sector. They hope for more support in the future to develop their tourism products.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thuc Hien recently declared that the city will focus its efforts on meeting a set of comprehensive criteria in order to ensure sustainable tourism, while at the same time calling upon entities to invest in enhancing the infrastructure that supports the development of the sector.

Last year, Can Tho welcomed a total of 5.1 million tourists, representing an impressive 142% increase from the previous year. The city’s revenue from tourism activities was also significantly higher, reaching a staggering VND 4.11 trillion (approximately USD 175.2 million), which is a 199% increase compared to the amount reported in 2021.

Ninh Kieu Wharf in Can Tho city. Photo: VNA
Ninh Kieu Wharf in Can Tho city. Photo: VNA

Last month, Chairman of the Can Tho city People’s Committee Tran Viet Truong welcomed Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam Thomas Gass, during which he requested continued support from Switzerland for localities in the Mekong Delta in their efforts to adapt to climate change.

As the city of Can Tho is confronted with saltwater intrusion and a sea level rise, it has partnered with experts and scientists to identify suitable plants and animals to restructure its agricultural sector for better adaptation, he said.

The official also urged Switzerland to keep collaborating in the fields of health, education, and training, and to continue exchanging experts in areas of mutual interest such as clean energy and aquaculture.

According to the city leader, Can Tho has received ample support from Swiss partners for non-governmental organisation (NGO) projects focusing on education and health.

The Swiss government has provided official development assistance (ODA) for the implementation of the third component of the Can Tho Urban Development and Resilience Project, which has been funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The total capital of the project is USD 254 million, of which USD 250 million comes from the World Bank and the rest from SECO.

A number of completed works under the project are highly beneficial for the city’s development. Among those, the embankment along Can Tho River and Cai Son – Muong Khai embankment greatly aid with flood control in the city’s urban core area.

Ambassador Thomas Gass declared that Switzerland highly values its relationship with Vietnam’s locality, further noting that Can Tho is the major economic powerhouse of the Mekong Delta region. He emphasized that the country is dedicated to fostering the bonds between them.

The city of Can Tho has been struggling with a variety of issues, just like many other cities, necessitating the rapid completion of the Can Tho Urban Development and Resilience Project – thus providing potential investors with the opportunity to explore investment opportunities in the Mekong Delta metropolis, the diplomat explained.

He also declared that Switzerland will lend its competencies and expertise to Can Tho in order to tackle the difficulties they are facing. The Swiss government is committed to giving its support and aiding Can Tho in overcoming these challenges.

Hannah Nguyen