Quang Tri - tourism potentials…

Friday - 22/12/2017 13:58
Quang Tri land is so gentle and proud of a heroic past where is converged on desire and will of Vietnamese and peace-loving people around the world.
The tourists at Vinh Moc special historical relic (Photo by NVM)
The tourists at Vinh Moc special historical relic (Photo by NVM)
Quang Tri has an important economic-geopolitical location, there is a heroic road No.9 which is the beginning point of the East-West Economic Corridor on the Vietnam; located on important national traffic routes of highway, railway and seaway; With extremely diversified natural and human resources, Quang Tri has great potentials to develop tourism.
Deversified potentials
Quang Tri is famous for several historical relics such as Quang Tri ancient citadel, Hien Luong – Ben Hai river banks, Road No.9 – Khe Sanh, Ho Chi Minh legendary trail, Vinh Moc tunnels, Ta Con airbase, Mc.Namara electric fence, Lao Bao prison, Con Co heroic island... together with  Truong Son national martyrs’ cemetery, Road No.9 national martyrs’ cemetery which formed a unique, typical and attractive system of the war relics in Quang Tri. This is also a basis to exploit the cultural-spiritual tourism with historical- revolutionary character in Quang Tri.
Quang Tri land is rich in history and culture with many festivals including the ancient traditional ones formed for a long time (Bai Choi festival, Arieu ping festival...), the revolutionary ones (National re-unification festival, Trans-Asia span festival, Truong Son Legendary festival...),  the regional ones (La Vang palanquin festival)... have been attracting a lot of national and international tourists.
La Vang Palanguin Festival 2017 (Photo by NTMP)
Quang Tri nature is diversified with plenty of topographical types: forests, mountains, caves, waterfalls, rivers, beaches and island… Quang Tri has a total forest area of 242.240ha among which 141.499ha is natural and 100.741ha is planted. Quang Tri forests are so beautiful and have several rare animals and plants.  There is Ru Linh primitive forest in the North and Tra Loc ecotourism in the South. The Western side of Quang Tri is high land. The typical mountains are Voi Mep cave, Sa Mui cave, Chau cave, Vang cave. The valleys are mostly very narrow, with large slopes creating many rivers, lakes, and waterfalls with tens of meters of complex hierarchies. The lake system of hydro-electric power such as Rao Quan, La Nga, Truc Kinh, Bao Dai is also advantageous for tourism development. The Western area is home of many ecotourism sites, which are becoming increasingly popular destinations for the visitors such as Rockpile hill, Gio stream, Dakrong beauty spot, Klu hot spring, Rao Quan hydroelectric ecotourism, Chenh Venh waterfall, O O waterfall, Ta Puong waterfall, Luoi waterfall, Ta Puong cave, Prai cave. Especially, Ta Puong cave and Ta Puong waterfall are adjacent to Prai cave in Huong Viet commune and Huong Lap commune respectively, Huong Hoa district which have become an exciting destinations for those who want to explore the wild and imposing beauty of the forests, waterfalls and caves.
Ta Puong Waterfall (Photo by NTMP)
In particular, many people seek to Quang Tri because of the smooth white sand, stretching sea coast and its blue water. The tourist - service areas from Cua Viet to Vinh Moc tunnel have been planned with a total area of 1.222ha. including the famous beaches such as Cua Tung beach, Cua Viet beach, Gio Hai beach... which are the ideal destinations for the visitors during the summer.
Quang Tri is not known as a homeland of quentessential cuisine, but there are also many traditional dishes, making visitors fascinate anytime they try them. These dishes are related to the harsh weather, hence their flavors are different with indispensable spice of hot peppers, which cannot be mixed with other places such as cassava cakes,  glutinous rice cakes, rice noodles with snake-head fish  buffalo meat with trơơng leaf, Mai Xa rice vermicelli with fresh water mussel, cassave flour soup with seaweed...
Quang Tri cassava cakes (Photo by: NTMP)
Quang Tri’s potentials and strengths are really great opportunities to take full advantage of and turn tourism into a spearhead economic sector.
...have not been waked up yet!
In fact, as in other provinces of the Central Vietnam, Quang Tri is still poor. Its tourism is still young, and trying to integrate with the non-stop flow of the national and international tourism development.
Tourism business has remarkable changes in 2017. Particularly, during the period from 30th April to 30th July, the number of tourists was increased and the hotels were full. According to the data of Quang Tri Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the number of foreign tourists is estimated 164.000 visitors in 2017, up 13% compared to the same period last year; the number of domestic tourists is estimated 1.485.000 visitors, up 49% compared to the same period last year. Total revenue in tourism is about 1,520 billions VND, up 45% compared to 2016.  
However, Quang Tri tourism still has many things to do. At present, most of relics only serve the demand of sight-seeing, while the system of associated products and services for tourist to consume and go shopping is very limited. In addition to the revenues from the sale of admission, almost relics do not have additional revenue.
Quang Tri has many beautiful beaches, easy to access transportation roads. However, this has not currently attracted many tourists because the quality of services, accommodation establishments are still low. It is necessary to establish the associated activities such as games on water, team building… to keep the tourists stay longer.
Lao Bao International Border Gate is used to be busy with shopping and trading, a reliable address with many products which were acceptable in price and guaranteed in quality, especially imported from Thailand and other ASEAN countries. However, smuggling, counterfeiting goods still existed, causing damage to the customers, losing the sympathy of tourists and there’s a rick of turning Lao Bao into a low-quality shopping in tourists’ eyes
Lao Bao International Border Gate (Photo by: NTMP)
Tourism enterprises in Quang Tri are quite limited. There are many reasons caused a problem that Quang Tri tourism has not still been really attractive, namely: The methods to organize and exploit tourism products and services haven’t been professional with suitable view yet; the tours haven’t been fascinated…
It is necessary to straightly face to the shortcomings in order to find out effective solutions for Quang Tri tourism improvement.
Firstly, a decisive factor in tourism development in Quang Tri is building a system of own, typical tourist products, and of reciprocal properties to attactt visitors, extending time of staying. With current limited capital investment, the province can choose a few points of interest, a “focal point” for investment in reconstruction, preserving in the spirit of respect for authenticity of history in the direction of becoming a tourist destination, full of sound systems, explaining photos, professional guides to the services for tourists such as eating and refreshments, standard toilets, proper parking lots, souvenir shops, local products… Only when improving the quality of the tour, then to have the basis for keeping tourist stay longer, raise the revenue from tourism for the province.
Secondly, promoting to attract investment in tourism. In order to make a oriented basis for investors, Quang Tri aims to develop tourism based on four key areas: Dong Ha area will develop accommodation and tourist transshipment; Khe Sanh - Lao Bao area will focus on historical-revolutionary tourism, border trade and transit tourism; The area of Cua Tung - Cua Viet - Con Co - Vinh Moc will conduct sea tourism, historical-revolutionary tourism; and finally the area of Quang Tri Ancient Citadel - Southeast Economic Zone will develop historical-revolutionary tourism, and business service tourism. Currently, Quang Tri is attracting the investors by clear and transparent policies, clean land met the requirements of scale and location; moreover, these advantages also included available potentials of geographic location, diversified nature and proud history and long-term culture. If there is a successful investor who can effectively attract tourist, it will cause a “spreading effect”, leading other investors to seek investment opportunities; then services, facilities, infrastructures in tourism… are also upgraded and improved accordingly.
Survey for preparing the Second Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project (Photo by NTMP)
Thirdly, the human factor always has the most important role in tourism, deciding most of the visitors’ experience. Having good products but guides unknowledge, staff lack of friendliness also causing discomfort for visitors.  Hence, in parallel with the process of improving the quality and diversity of tourist types, it is necessary to improve the qualification of tour guides, service staff operating in the tourism activities. Training can be conducted on the spot or linked to major training centers throughout the country. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen the capacity of tourism management staff in the key tourism areas by attracting high qualified human resource and by tranfering technology policies, enriching local officials capacity step by step with taking over management tasks in tourism buisiness.
If three mentioned solutions about the capital - human resource – implementation mothed are conducted effectively, the other ones such as associating tourism development; promoting tourism products, strenghthening management capacity, developing travel company, improving quality of transportation, accommodation, foods – drink, shopping – refreshment... will be gradually improved and raised according to the inevitable development of the market.
In the coming years, the province will strongly focus on nostalgic, spiritual and ecological tourism. Speeding up tourism promotion, actively investing in tourism infrastructure in combination with attracting investors to develop tourism business. Speeding up the associated activities with the Central provinces and localities on the East-West Economic Corridor to develop tourism. Encouraging the investment of the domestic and foreign partners on large-scale tourism project to diversify, improve Quang Tri tourism products’ quality and competitiveness, especially the products related to historical relics, festivals... that strives to make tourism become an important sector in the provincial economic structure.
Quang Tri products (Photo by NTMP)
The choice of new approach methodology in the coastal provinces with the strategy focusing on tourism as a priority sector (such as Quang Binh, Thua Thien Hue) has initially had significant effects. Therefore, Quang Tri absolutely can follow this orientation. So, how will Quang Tri start to wake up potentials? Indeed, there are many issues to be implemented: the efforts of the people, the authorities in Quang Tri; the support of the State, the Government ...; and especially the real actions of investors and enterprises!
Translator: Ngo Thi Minh Phuong

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