Tapping Hydropower Reservoirs to Develop Tourism Economy


The two giant hydroelectric reservoirs of Hoa Binh and Son La, plus dozens of other large-capacity reservoirs, have enabled Son La province to develop aquaculture, tourism, transportation, commerce and other services to open up new development orientations, boost socio-economic development, stabilise livelihoods of surrounding people and diversify local tourism offerings.

Visitors can ride a boat in valleys of limestone mountains in a tranquil primitive setting along the Da River running through eight districts, 46 communes and 329 villages where nearly 110,000 people are residing. Hoa Binh and Son La hydropower reservoirs, which cover an area of nearly 21,000 ha, have great potential for developing fishery, forestry, transportation, tourism and commerce. By tapping and using water surfaces, these localities have provided livelihoods for people. In addition to commercial fishing, many effective aquaculture models have increased incomes and created jobs for them. Besides, trading has markedly developed, driven by lakeside markets and in surrounding villages. Commercial development also has good impacts on tourism and service development.

However, the current development of fishery, trade, transport and tourism in Hoa Binh and Son La hydropower reservoirs is incommensurate with their potential due to lack of investment, small scale of aquaculture and the non-guarantee of environmental protection, diversity and ecological balance. Tourism development is also spontaneous and fragmented.

The province will carry out investment projects to unlock potential in Son La province-based hydroelectric reservoirs in the 2016-2020 period to boost tourism and service development, estimate advantages and disadvantages to shape development orientations for potential and advantageous branches and fields in the coming period, and materialise investment attraction policies to accelerate socio-economic development.

The development objective of the scheme is to make the economy of regions of Hoa Binh, Son La and Nam Chien I reservoirs into well-developed areas with synchronous infrastructure systems in relation with other economic areas in the province, effectively tap local reservoir potential and strengths, while promoting and preserving existing values, combining economic development together with cultural and social development, obtaining sustainable poverty reduction, creating jobs and improving incomes and livelihoods for local people. By 2020, fish cages in hydropower reservoirs will reach over 5,000 cages, including 2,800 sturgeon cages, to earn annual revenue of the total value of VND550 billion and will have 30-50 fishery cooperatives. Da River tourism is expected to serve about 180,000 visitors a year, revenue and earn VND290 billion of revenue. It will have inland ports and wharves, including eight cargo and passenger ports, seven special vessels, 60 cargo terminals, and 118 river crossing wharves.

Son La reservoir tourism area will be developed into a national tourism site in the coming time with major tourism activities including sightseeing, community tourism, ecological tourism, cave exploration, medical treatment with hot-spring water, historical and spiritual tourism, sports tourism, adventure tourism, and feature mountainous and water surface entertainments. Trade and service development will support market investment and construction in surrounding areas.

The scheme to utilise the potential of hydropower reservoirs in Son La province in the 2016-2020 period is based on the principle of tapping reservoir potential in combination with environmental protection and sustainable development; ensuring economic development requirements to social and environmental protection issues; ensuring economic development and social issue resolution and environmental protection; utilising land, water and forest resources; changing production methods; applying advanced science and technology to production; integrating forms, models and economic sectors; creating favourable environment to attract investment capital for socio-economic development in surrounding areas; raising livelihoods for local people; and particularly, gradually concretising action programmes on tourism development adopted by the Provincial Party Congress.

Thanh Nga



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