Located in the Southern key economic zone, connecting Central Highlands with HCMC and Mekong Delta area, adjacent to National Road 13 connected with Cambodia, Lao and Thailand, Binh Phuoc has many unique landscapes and huge potential for tourism development. However, this potential is still not fully exploited to promote the socio-economic development of the province. It requires many different solutions for Binh Phuoc to take steps to promote tourism toward sustainable development and to make contributions to the common development of the locality.
Steps to awaken potential
According to Deputy Director of Department of Culture-Sport & Tourism of Binh Phuoc province Do Minh Trung, Binh Phuoc has untouched natural landscapes, waterfalls, primitive forests, abundant resource of animals and plants, etc. The province has its unique landscapes like Bu Lach grassland, Bu Gia Map National Garden, Ba Ra Mountain, Mo waterfall, Ta Thiet Military Base (special national monument), Loc Quang fuel dump, Soc Bom Bo revolutionary base, Phu Rieng Do revolutionary base, etc. Binh Phuoc is now exploiting tourism potential of Ba Ra mountain with type of spiritual tourism associated with Ba Ra prison; developing eco-tourism at Dong Nai River, historical and revolutionary sites such as Ta Khiet military base, Loc Quang fuel dump, mass grave (3,000 people), building S’tieng Soc Bom Bo cultural zone – a focal point of Binh Phuoc’s tourism.
In addition, Binh Phuoc has 41 ethnic groups with different languages and cultural characteristics shown through typical festivals like new rice festival, naming ceremony, ceremony of establishing new villages, buffalo-fighting festival, traditional ceremony of worshipping rice goddess, ceremony of praying for rain, etc. Ancient architectural projects, shrines, pagodas, churches, etc. are still preserved in Binh Phuoc. Moreover, the province is where visitors can enjoy unique and delicious dishes such as rice cooked in bamboo tube, fermented rice wine, cashew nut, special dishes made from local fishes.
With available advantages, Binh Phuoc attracts an annual average number of 200, 000 – 300, 000 visitors y-o-y. In 2016, the province attracted approximately 500, 000 visitors. However, the result is still not matched with its available potential, the province has not yet created a focal point in Vietnam’s tourism map. The biggest challenge of Binh Phuoc’s tourism sector lies on its under-developed infrastructure. In addition, the province fails to build its special type of tourism with poor tourism promotion programs. In order to awaken the tourism potential, it requires synchronous implementation of solutions through closely following actual situations to further promote the development of “non-smoke” industry.
Solutions for promoting tourism
Facing such situations, Binh Phuoc needs to quickly work out a plan to develop its infrastructure, especially tourism infrastructure with a focus on implementing approved projects like project of restoring and preserving Ta Thiet military base, Suoi Cam Lake entertainment area, Ba Ra – Thac Mo eco-tourism area, S’tieng Soc Bom Bo cultural conservation area. It is also necessary to develop tourism infrastructure system, to create open and transparent business and investment environment, to encourage and attract investment into tourism sector. However, it requires a big amount of capital to develop tourism infrastructure, therefore, the province needs to strengthen the socialization of investment. Beside, Binh Phuoc also needs to take full advantage of the province’s budget to promote tourism or ODA loans or the Government’s bond, mobilizing public capital sources from enterprises, domestic and foreign organizations, especially capital from private enterprises and prestigious tourism companies to ensure the smooth implementation of key tourism projects in the province. Moreover, the trend of socialization of investment in developing types of tourism such as community tourism, adventure, environmentally friendly tourism, etc. need to be strengthened.
In order to create spectacular growth for tourism sector, Binh Phuoc should strengthen tourism promotion activities with diversified contents and modes, of which gives a priority to development of ecological and cultural tourism, border tourism closely associated with border gates and key tourism areas such as Ta Thiet-Thac Mo, Ba Ra Mountain, S’stieng cultural conservation area, Bu Lach grassland and Central Highlands (Ta Thiet, Ba Ra, Bom Bo, Bu Lach, Suoi Cam). In addition, the province also needs to strengthen propaganda programs to organizations, tourism companies to introduce huge potential of tourism development of Binh Phuoc province, allocating more capital for tourism promotion programs which are suitable with the province’s key tourism development orientations.
Another important factor promoting the development of “non-smoke” industry is that Binh Phuoc should focus on expanding and linking with other provinces and cities in Southeastern and Southwestern areas, Central Highlands to build its unique tourism routes. Additionally, the province also focuses on linking and cooperating with neighboring countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar to build international tours, creating linking chains in tourism development and exploitation. On the other hand, the province needs to raise capability and awareness of its management team on tourism development, to strengthen close cooperation with other localities and bodies at provincial level, to train a high quality and professional human resource for tourism development. This will be one of the key factors to step by step pave the way for spectacular growth of Binh Phuoc’s tourism industry in the coming time.