Phu Quoc Aims to Transform into Vietnam’s First Island City

The island paradise of Phu Quoc has significant potential to develop into a leading tourist destination in Southeast Asia. At the moment, however, it is only a second-class city within Vietnam’s administrative structure. Promoting Phu Quoc to a city would certainly help the island fully tap into its potential.


Phu Quoc is an island district located in the Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang province, with an area of approximately 600 sq km, equivalent to the size of Singapore. Among the 22 islets in the district, Phu Quoc Island is the largest, covering an area of 580 sq km.

Also known as “Pearl Island,” Phu Quoc has emerged as a popular tourist destination. In 2010, it welcomed 300,000 visitors, which grew to 1 million in 2015 and over 4 million in 2019. This tourism boom has resulted in rapid socio-economic development, particularly in terms of urban infrastructure.

In 2014, Phu Quoc Island was officially recognized as a second-class city due to its established infrastructure. However, its status as a district under the province has impeded further progress.

Currently, Phu Quoc has around 300 investment projects, primarily in tourism and services, contributing to 70% of the district’s GDP. Additionally, 70% of the district’s population, which is currently 147,000 people, are employed in non-agricultural sectors.

However, the high level of investment has resulted in challenges in project management, supervision, land acquisition, site clearance and compensation, and land management. District management is also overwhelmed by these issues.

Experts suggest that promoting Phu Quoc into a city would provide the necessary conditions for the island to fully utilize its potential for development.

Kien Giang province is currently finalizing procedures with the central government for the consideration of recognizing Phu Quoc as a city. It is expected that this recognition will be granted by the end of the year.