The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$45 million loan to help Vietnam transform secondary towns into more economically inclusive, competitive tourism destinations, according to a report published by TTG Asia.
Known by the catchy moniker of the Second Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project, the ambitious new initiative is expected to boost tourist arrivals in the coming years, through a building programme that includes transport links and urban infrastructure in the country’s Hoa Binh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces.
The plan will also develop urban green spaces and public beaches in these provinces, where the project is expected to benefit about 168,000 residents and bring more than eight million visitors annually. Specifically, the project will upgrade about 31km of urban-rural roads and 13 passenger piers to provide visitors and residents with more convenient access to cultural and historic sites in all participating provinces.
“Tourism is growing rapidly in Vietnam, but most growth and corresponding socioeconomic benefits are concentrated in a few gateway destinations,” says ADB project administration unit head for Vietnam, Steven Schipani. “To promote more inclusive and sustainable growth, it’s important for Vietnam to increase public and private investment in secondary towns,” he continued.
The project is also factoring climate change into its construction efforts. To help Nghe An’s Cua Lo town attract more and higher-spending visitors year-round and adapt to environmental factors, the project will rehabilitate a 5.5km seawall and beachfront drainage, improve public recreation areas and expand market space for local vendors. Quang Tri’s Cua Viet and Cua Tung beaches are set to receive similar investments.
Using training, certification programmes, and policy incentives, the project will also help ensure that tourism management in project areas meets standards set by ASEAN.
The integrated project design incorporates lessons from more than 15 years of ADB support to foster inclusive and sustainable tourism in Vietnam. This includes the ongoing 2014-2019 GMS Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project and successfully completed GMS Sustainable Tourism Development Project and GMS Mekong Tourism Development Project.