Phu Quoc Island, an as yet unspoiled haven

11:29 | 26/02/2019 Culture & Tourism

(VEN) - Phu Quoc Island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang boasts idyllic beaches, romantic sunsets, evergreen forests, and a serene atmosphere. Located 45 kilometers west of the province’s Ha Tien City in the far south of the country, the northern part of the island is relatively untouched due to its status as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)-listed national park but there are plenty of luxurious resorts, funky bars, and quaint cafes along the southern coastline.

phu quoc island an as yet unspoiled haven

Aside from beachside activities, visitors can also explore traditional villages, expansive nature parks and Buddhist pagodas, all of which are easily accessible via motorcycle, taxi, bus or even daytrips by reputable companies. Catering to just about any budget level and preference, Phu Quoc’s dining scene ranges from local markets selling fresh seafood and Vietnamese street food to expat-owned bistros offering authentic western and European fare.

Great potential

According to Duong Van Khon, Director of the Phu Quoc Today Travel, over the past 10 years, Phu Quoc has developed dramatically thanks to its improved transport infrastructure and better accommodation services, electricity and water systems, service quality and tourist offerings.

Phu Quoc has a valuable advantage for tourism development being home to 14 sandy beaches including Bai Sao, Bai Dai, Bai Truong, Bai Vong, Bai Khem and Bai Thom, among others. Nature has been well preserved in Phu Quoc, while the island is renowned for its marine biodiversity with sea grass, coral reefs, pearl oysters, cajuput forests, saltmarsh forests, and rock mountain forests.

Phu Quoc is the largest and only island in Vietnam not to suffer from storms, which allows it to attract visitors all year round. The 600 square kilometer island has a coastline of 150km, which enables it to offer tourist services throughout the island.

Phu Quoc is located on an important sea route and is easily accessible from major tourist markets in the region, such as Cambodia and Thailand.

In particular, the island has unique traditional marine cultural values including fishing festivals and historical and cultural relic sites, fishing village activities, and special products such as fish sauce, pepper, cashews, pearl, honey, and Tomentose rose myrtle wine.

Thanks to those advantages, over the past five to six years, Phu Quoc’s potential has been awakened. A series of luxury hotels and resorts were built; services, restaurants, tourist attractions, entertainment centers on the island have been improved. There are 40 international and domestic flights to Phu Quoc every day, creating favorable conditions for visitors to reach and explore the island.

The number of tourist arrivals to Phu Quoc increased from 913,000 in 2015 to 1.5 million in 2016, 2.7 million in 2017 and almost three million in 2018.

Green growth needed

However, this prosperity comes at a price to the island’s environment and traditional cultural values. For example, some resorts have discouraged the development of the local fishing industry - despite its potential attraction for tourists. Strict management is needed to protect the island’s environment and traditional values.

Phu Quoc Today Travel Director Duong Van Khon said Phu Quoc needs to connect service chains to create new tourist offerings in order to better satisfy visitor demands with the best prices. With its traditional crafts, Phu Quoc can learn from how Thailand and Singapore develop tourism to make its tour prices most reasonable and standardize service quality. In particular, Phu Quoc should standardize and improve the quality of tour guides to ensure they can provide true and interesting information to visitors to the island.

The Kien Giang Province Communist Party Committee issued Resolution 03-NQ/TU dated November 16, 2017 on tourism development to 2020 and a vision to 2030. The resolution says Phu Quoc Island plays a core and important role in the province’s socioeconomic development. Kien Giang is proposing that the government promulgate policies specifically designed to help Phu Quoc tourism develop further.

From now to 2020, Kien Giang Province will focus on building the image of Phu Quoc Island as a safe, friendly and

civilized destination for both domestic and foreign visitors and a high quality eco-tourism and resort center.

Hoa Quynh