Plan to transform Son Tra into tourist zone to remain intact: Vietnam's tourism admin

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said on Thursday that it will not amend a controversial plan to turn nearly one-fourth of the city’s Son Tra Peninsula into a tourist zone.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said on Thursday that it will not amend a controversial plan to turn nearly one-fourth of the city’s Son Tra Peninsula into a tourist zone.

The statement was made at a closed meeting between VNAT and the Da Nang Tourism Association to address the latter’s suggestion to amend the controversial planning of a Son Tra National Tourist Zone.

According to the VNAT drafted plan approved by the Vietnamese Prime Minister in February, 1,056 hectares of Son Tra’s total 4,439 hectares will eventually be developed into a national tourist zone capable of accommodating 1,600 hotel rooms by 2030.

Over 30 reporters from local news agencies who gathered at the venue for Thursday’s meeting were barred from entering the room despite the continuous demands of Huynh Tan Vinh, president of Da Nang Tourism Association, for the press to be let in.

Plan to transform Son Tra into tourist zone to remain intact: Vietnam's tourism admin

Google Maps' satellite photos reveal the extent of destruction caused by a now-suspended tourism project on Son Tra Peninsula in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang (Photo: Tuoi tre News)

In a press brief after the meeting, Vinh revealed that Ha Van Sieu, deputy director of VNAT who chaired the meeting, has no intentions of amending the Son Tra National Tourist Zone plan and that the current framework was drafted and approved “in accordance with established procedures.”

Sieu, on the other hand, opted to leave the venue without taking questions from the press.

The minutes of the meeting was left unsigned by the representatives from the Da Nang Tourism Association, Vinh said, reiterating that the two parties were unable to reach a mutual agreement.

He added that the association’s request for scientists, experts, and representatives from relevant associations to attend the meeting was also rejected by VNAT.

Representatives from VNAT also refused to attend a seminar hosted by the association on the conservation and sustainable development of the Son Tra Peninsula, Vinh said.

The seminar’s organizers on Wednesday sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the administration of Da Nang proposing a comprehensive review of all projects slated to affect the Son Tra Peninsula in order to determine the amount of special-purpose forest that might be harmed.

Son Tra Peninsula, dubbed ‘God’s Eye of Indochina’ by locals, is known for its untouched beauty and natural forest.

It shields the city from typhoons, sustains eco-tourism growth, and serves as a key element of the nation’s defense./.

( VNF/Tuoitre News )

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