|Binh Thuan, attractive tourist destination|
|10:34' 05/02/2006 (GMT+7)|
VietNamNet - With its ideal natural conditions for tourism, including high-quality seawater, beaches and favourable weather, the central coastal province of Binh Thuan is an attractive destination to domestic and foreign tourists.
Binh Thuan has more than 192 km of coast, forests, plains, sea area and islands. It also has a time-honoured diverse culture. The province is home to people of more than 30 ethnic groups, including King, Cham, Hoa, Ra Glai, K' Ho and Tay.
The province boasts some of Vietnam's most colourful beautiful sand hills of Mui Ne, most colourful Co Thach rock beach, highest 100-m Khe Ga stone lighthouse, built more than a hundred years ago, largest lying statue of Buddha at 49 m long, and one of the most beautiful waterfalls, 32 m high, which was built 70 years ago in Phan Thiet. The province also has the largest temple dedicated to whales in the country, which preserves more than 100 set of whales' bone in Phan Thiet, and is well-known for delicious Thanh Long (blue dragon) fruit and its high reserve of quality clams.
Especially, many earthen towers (relics of the ancient architectural projects of the Cham ethnic group) are protected in Binh Thuan province. They include Posanu - a complex of 1,200-year-old towers dedicating deity Shiva, the unique Cham project made of brick. The Cham sculptures, including statues of deities, kings, queens and dancers, reflect the Cham people's high skill in sculpture and engraving. Valuable relics of the ancient Sa Huynh and Cham culture include costumes, musical instruments, dances and songs, are still well-preserved in the province.
Nguyen Van Thu, Vice Chairman of the Binh Thuan People's Committee, said with its great tourist potential, the province considers tourism an important economic sector and is giving preferential development investment.
The province has worked out a tourism development plan through 2010, focusing on the 1,530-ha Mui Ne project, 300-ha Tuy Phong project, 500-ha Ham Tan project, 750-ha Tien Thanh-Ham Thuan Nam project and 420-ha Bac Binh project.
In addition to new investment tourism projects, the province has also invested in the upgrading of existing tourist and relic sites, especially Phan Thiet city - a city of historic and cultural relics, and ancient architectural projects.
In recent years, Binh Thuan has continually improved the quality of hotels, entertainment and tourist services, focused on personnel training for tourism and attracting investment in this sector. The province has licensed 365 domestic and foreign investment projects in tourism with a combined registered capital of VND 8,500 billion, of which 74 projects have become operational. The province's tourist turnover has increased 31% a year.
The province now has more than 100 hotels and guest houses, with 255 four-star rooms. The number of visitors to Binh Thuan has increased by 30% annually, with foreign visitors increasing 35% a year.
Last year, Binh Thuan welcomed 1.7 million visitors, including 150,000 foreigners, grossing 450 billion VND.
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