Responding to Vietnam Tourism Day (July 9): Diversify tourism products
In 2014, Ca Mau received over 917,000 visitors, an increase of 7.83% in terms of quantity than before. In particular, there were over 19,500 international visitors. In late 2015, when the HCM trail is opened up to traffic from Nam Can to Dat Mui, the number of tourists coming to the province is expected to increase drastically. Along with this opportunity, the local tourism has prepared certain foundations in order to improve Ca Mau tourism in the coming years.
Being a southernmost province of the country, Ca Mau is endowed with unique natural resources. In particular, 2 mangrove forest and melaleuca forest ecosystems were recognized as the 2,088th Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site of the world by the UNESCO. With such natural attractions, the province has maximized its internal resources and made Ca Mau become a key tourism development place of Vietnam.
Not mention the objective factors such as limited infrastructure and facilities; Ca Mau tourism has taken practical and effective actions to make “tourism” more planned and sustainable. In recent years, Ca Mau tourism had great progress in diversifying products; developing brand, products and services according to tourism routes; enhancing information propaganda, advertisement and promotion of tourism at related destinations.
Photo: Vu Tran
Previously, Ca Mau did not have many tourist attractions, except Mui Ca Mau Culture-Tourism Park of where there are national coordinate benchmarks- the southernmost point of Vietnam, tourists to Ca Mau usually stopped at Nam Can and canoed down Dat Mui and returned. Nowadays, when coming to this land, tourists have a chance to select different products, typically homestay tourism in Mui Ca Mau National Park, where visitors can try their feeling of a fisherman through work such as spreading nets, catching oysters and cerithidea obtuse, etc under the guidelines of households in Dat Mui commune. Homestay tourism form has contributed to retain tourists longer to understand more about the lives of fishermen in the southernmost point of Vietnam.
Coming to U Minh Ha forest, visitors will be surprised and feel interested to be in forest and experience “Gác kèo ong”, which is an unique occupation in U Minh Ha melaleuca forest and mix with nature of melaleuca forest ecosystems through activities like eel-pot, fishing, etc and enjoy rustic dishes such as salted fish hot pot, wild vegetables.
In addition to products from nature, tourist attractions has been invested and upgraded, for example, Da Bac Island historic relic, Khai Long Beach, etc. Especially, International Eco-Tourism Park has been put into operation in Thanh Phu commune, Cai Nuoc district, becoming a tourist attraction, tranquility situated next to the centre of the city. These premises have demonstrated the product diversification growth strategy of Ca Mau Tourism.
In parallel with the diversification of tourism products, Ca Mau has also focused on brand construction and promotion through local specialties sold to tourists. Ca Mau province has encouraged and supported farmers to build collective brands for products such as Rach Goc dried shrimp, U Minh Boi fish, U Minh Ha forest honey, etc. Particulary, RUM .CM brand was registered and written in the shortlist of “The most favorite Vietnamese products” of Ca Mau province in the “Vietnamese people – Vietnamese Products” program in 2010.
Besides, Ca Mau tourism has also been approved to build its key tourism routes, including Ca Mau – U Minh – Trem River, Ca Mau – U Minh Ha National Park – Da Bac Island and Ca Mau – Cai Nuoc – Nam Can – Dat Mui. Along the routes, visitors can stop and enjoy local specialties such as fruit, dried boi fish, salted cattails, etc. It is expected the stops will enrich tourism products, contributing to improving the role and incomes of local communities and directing towards sustainable tourism development.
In 2010, Ca Mau Tourism Promotion and Information Center was established on the basis of the Management Board of Ca Mau resorts and was responsible for advising the Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to carry out service communication and advertisement; management and effective exploitation of works invested by the State in tourist attractions under its management in the province. In addition, the Center is also a focal point for joint ventures and tourism and travel business cooperation with enterprises inside and outside the province.
After nearly 5 years from establishment, the Center has performed the assigned tasks well. The Center’s publications released for tourism information promotion such as tourism maps, documentary movies, manuals and contents of the electronic portal for Ca Mau tourism (camautourism.vn) with standardized introduction of resorts and tourist areas of the province provide investors and visitors with useful information. In addition, the Center has implemented domestic and international tourism programs and events effectively; participated in the regional and national exhibition fairs as a promotion and advertisement agent for Ca Mau tourism.
These activities have contributed to increasing the number of tourists to Ca Mau annually: from 760,000 tourists, turnover of 192 billion dong (2010) to 917,110 tourists, turnover of 252 billion dong in 2014. The average annual growth rate is more than 5% in quantity and 8% in revenue. The Center has also actively implemented promotional activities as a bridge for enterprises and investors to learn, research and develop Ca Mau tourism. By guidelines and specific support activities, the Center has encouraged local people to participate further in tourism activities, creating new tourism products and increasing income for the community.
On June 19, 2015, the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations in collaboration with the Management Board of Biosphere Reserve, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Department of Science and Technology held a Scientific Conference for promoting Mui Ca Mau World Biosphere Reserve values, in which the value of the tourism sector was emphasized. Accordingly, the conference reached an agreement on the recommendations of the Provincial People’s Committee and Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism on specific solutions to promote and preserve tourism value of Mui Ca Mau World Biosphere Reserve.
The solutions include: Developing ecotourism associated with environmental protection; Enhancing the role of the community in eco-tourism development; Restore traditional craft villages; Supporting homestay tourism forms of local residents and enterprises; Promoting the propagation, advertisement and promotion of tourism; Developing brand and tourism products.
With such specific actions, when Ho Chi Minh Trail to Dat Mui is completed in late 2015, Ca Mau tourism has had foundations to welcome and serve, enhance capacity and extend homestay period of tourists. Thereby, the tourism value is promoted in generating leverage for local economic development and increasing communities’ incomes./.
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