Sa Pa tourism enjoys a boom

14:28 | 19/03/2015 Society

(VEN) - The number of tourists visiting the northwestern province of Lao Cai is expected to increase by 1.6-1.7 times to reach 1.8 million this year, of which about 70 percent would come to Sa Pa Town. These forecasts seem to be a reality as tourism development of “the misty town” is witnessing positive changes with a large number of undergoing projects helping to awaken local untapped tourism potential.

Sa Pa tourism enjoys a boom

Significant rise in number of visitors

In 2014, the northwest town attracted 820,000 tourists, earning VND656 billion in revenue. According to Vice Chairman of the Lao Cai Province People’s Committee Le Quoc Hung, Sa Pa District has bright prospects for its tourism development as the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway has been put into use since September 2014, which have halved the travel time between Hanoi and Sa Pa in only about five hours.

Statistics from Lao Cai Province showed that the number of visitors coming to Sa Pa in the last months of 2014 increased sharply. In the last quarter of 2014, Sa Pa welcomed about 200,000 domestic and foreign tourists with the number of foreign tourists increasing 24 percent year-on-year. During recent solar New Year and lunar New Year holidays, the number of travelers coming there also increased sharply by two, three times higher than previous years to 41,000 and 30,000 respectively.

According to the Sa Pa District People’s Committee, this lunar New Year has witnessed the highest growth of tourists coming to the district. All 170 hotels and guest houses from popular to three-star levels with nearly 5,000 rooms were fully occupied. Big hotels with good view such as Chau Long, Hoang Gia, Muong Thanh, Victoria and Green Bamboo were booked well before Tet despite their high prices.

Actively grabbing opportunities

Chairman of Sa Pa District People’s Committee Trinh Xuan Truong said, to develop Sa Pa into a national tourism town to fully exploit the local tourism advantages and potential, there are 11 investment projects under implementation with total funding of VND11 trillion. These include the Fansipan-Sapa cable car and the five-star Indochina and Amazing hotels; entertainment and dining areas; golf courses and spiritual tourism areas to serve tourists.

The cable car system is expected to be completed in the summer and will officially come into operation on National Day (September 2). The number of tourists visiting Lao Cai is expected to reach 1.8 million, of those 70 percent will come to Sa Pa, bringing an estimated revenue in 2015 to around VND4.5 trillion.

The growth in tourism development should address local unemployment issues and help raise incomes of the ethnic minorities in Sa Pa District. According to the Sa Pa District People’s Committee, some 1,850 people work in the tourism sector while three to five-star hotels  which are currently under construction and about to come into operation could generate more than 1,000 jobs.

The atmosphere in Sa Pa is cool in the summer. During the winter, it is usually covered by clouds and the weather is cold with temperature sometimes falling below zero. For a long time, this place has been attracting an increasingly number of tourists thanks to its natural landscapes and beautiful overlapping mountainous with a height of 1,600 meters above sea level. Together with exploiting the natural advantages, during holidays or lunar New Year, the district usually organizes many traditional art performances; folk games and other cultural activities to attract tourists. In addition, the local functional agencies also worked hard to ensure traffic safety, stability of goods prices in the market and food safety and hygiene during festivals and Tet holidays. 

By Quynh Nga & Lan Ngoc