LÀO CAI - More than one million tourists have visited Lao Cai Province this year, an increase of 21 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.
The figures were announced by Lao Cai's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism (DCST).
The rise in visitors was seen despite the increasing complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The provincial tourism sector has fulfilled 22 per cent of its yearly plan.
Total tourism revenue is estimated at more than VNĐ3,400 billion (US$148 million) equal to 21 per cent of the yearly plan and up 3 per cent over the same period last year, the department said.
Ha Văn Thắng, director of the provincial DCST, said despite effects from COVID-19, key tourist spots in the province still attracted visitors such as Sa Pa, Lao Cai City, Bắc Ha, and Bat Xat.
The number of visitors who arrived and stayed in Sa Pa reached 552,000 while about 520,000 tourists visited Lao Cai City.
Bắc Ha and Bat Xat tourist sites served 92,000 and 21,000 visitors, respectively.
The official revealed most of the tourists are domestic, not abroad due to impacts of the pandemic which has resulted in the closure of borders.
He said from now until the end of the year, the tourism and culture sector will continue to upgrade and renew existing products as well as research and develop new ones.
At the same time, the province will build spiritual tours connecting Bảo Ha and Thượng temples with others spiritual architectural complexes on top of the Fansipan Mountain and develop a programme promoting brocade culture and flowers in the province in 2021.
It will also focus on providing tourism products associated with adventurous sports such as boat racing and waterfall crossing, continue to innovate ways of organising tourism promotion events with the application and exploitation of digital, high technology, internet, and social networking platforms.
Currently, visitors can find information about Lao Cai on some fanpages, and websites, such as the sapa-tourism.com, dulichtaybac.vn and dulichlaocai.vn.
The sector is mobilising all forces to be ready for a surge when the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled, according to the DCST.
Five million target
The northern province of Lao Cai, home to the popular holiday town of Sa Pa, has set a target of welcoming 5 million visitors this year bringing in more than VNĐ16 trillion (US$696.17 million) in tourism revenue.
To realise the target, it will bolster digital transformation in the sector and restructure the market and tourism products in keeping with conserving the local cultural identity.
The province is exerting efforts to attract more domestic holidaymakers.
Sa Pa has long been among the country’s leading destinations. Of note, young people accounted for more than 70 per cent of tourist arrivals to the town in 2020, according to Le Anh Đại, vice chairman of Lao Cai Tourism Association.
The province also aims to devise 130 new tourism products to meet demands of tourists and encourage them to return in the future.
It has been one of the pioneering localities in digital transformation in tourism. Local authorities teamed up with Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) to roll out a customised smart eco-tourism, which is accessible at laocaitourism.vn and on a mobile app.
The portal has had more than 1 million visits since its launch.
In April, Lao Cai issued a plan to stimulate tourism demand themed "Flavour of Lao Cai" in 2021 to revitalise the tourism industry and prepare conditions to welcome visitors after the pandemic is controlled.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19, the number of visitors to the province was estimated at about 2.3 million in 2020, a decrease of 55 per cent compared to 2019.
The figure continued to decrease by 54 per cent during the Tết (Lunar New Year) compared to the same period last year, according to a report published on the laocaitourism.vn, the DCST's website.
The report revealed preliminary statistics showing about 15-20 per cent of accommodation establishments had to close, the remaining only have guests on weekends and holidays, with an average capacity is 20-30 per cent.
More than 3,000 workers in the tourism sector lost their jobs. International travel businesses completely had to halt their services for foreign guests.
The 2021 plan "Flavours of Lao Cai" was set up with a series of activities aiming to boost tourism, create a spillover effect, stimulate demand and attract a large number of tourists to the province.
Programmes and events have been launched including free entrance to tourist attractions such as Mount Ham Rồng, Bạc (Silver) Waterfall, Sín Chải, Tả Phìn Village, Mường Hoa Valley, and Fansipan Mountain climbing. — VNS
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