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Don’t let Cat Ba follow Ha Long Bay’s development path: expert

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Blessed by nature, Vietnam has many special landscapes and rich biodiversity. UNESCO has recognized eight natural and cultural heritage sites and nine biosphere reserves.

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Blessed by nature, Vietnam has many beautiful landscapes

 

US News & World Report, in its Best Countries 2018 report, ranks Vietnam 26th in terms of heritage, much higher than the overall 44th position. 

However, the great potential still cannot be fully exploited as each traveler spends $950 during their stay in Vietnam, or half of the figure in Thailand or Singapore. 

Ha Long has changed a lot since 1994, when it was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Houses and trees are covered with a thick layer of dust. The beautiful coastline has filled up with tons of artificial soil and sand. Tuan Chau is no longer an island because it is now linked with the mainland by a path. The area of Ha Long, including Tuan Chau, has increased by 9,000 square kilometers because of sea-encroaching works.

Analysts have warned about negative comments by western travelers. The number of Chinese travelers is on the rise, but their spending in Ha Long is just equal to 60 percent of western travelers.

With 365 islands, Cat Ba Archipelago can be reached only by sea. It is recognized by UNESCO as one of the world’s nine biosphere reserves in Vietnam with a high biodiversity level. There are endemic fauna and flora species which can only be found in Cat Ba, including langurs.

Cat Ba langurs are put under strict protection at Cat Ba National Park.

Mai Sy Luan from the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Program said in 2012, to relocate two isolated langurs on a small island to the conservation center on Cat Ba, 10 officers had to keep watch over the langur hole for 10 days. It took the program 10 years to obtain a license for relocation.

An analyst said while Ha Long is compared to a crowned beauty queen, Cat Ba is a girl from the countryside who doesn’t use cosmetics. Vietnam should not let Cat Ba follow the way of Ha Long, the analyst said.

More than half of foreign travelers complained on TripAdvisor about overexploitation at Ha Long Bay. 

Pham Trung Luong, a tourism expert, said developing ecotourism and adventure tourism while targeting mid- and high-end travelers is the best way to develop the economy and preserve nature.

 

Source: Thien Nhien - VietNamNet

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