Son Tra tourism development could be curtailed

A construction site on Son Tra Mountain. (Photo: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA) – Tourism construction on Son Tra
Peninsula could come to a dramatic halt, after the Da Nang People’s Committee
met on August 28 with the city’s tourism association to discuss the Son Tra
Tourism Area Development Master Plan.

At the meeting, officials proposed cancelling all projects that
are located in “sensitive” areas and likely influence security and national
defence on Son Tra Peninsula. The city also proposed restricting construction
to areas on the peninsula below 100m above sea level; under the status quo,
construction may occur up to 200m above sea level.

The outcome of the meeting represents a serious turn away from
earlier plans for major tourism construction on the peninsula.

Under a plan outlined in May 2013 and approved in November 2016, Son
Tra Mountain on the Son Tra Peninsula was set to become a national tourism site
and luxury eco-tourism resort complex by 2030, able to accommodate 300,000
tourists with 1,600 luxury hotel rooms.

As soon as the plan was publicised in February this year, the
city’s Tourism Association strongly opposed it, saying that hotels and
buildings on the peninsula would threaten its biodiversity as well as social
stability and national defence there.

Three months ago, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam asked the city
to halt all constructions on the peninsula for further review and to allow time
to collect public opinions in order to submit a final proposal for changes to
the tourism development plan.

After the August 28 meeting, the People’s Committee is sending
their proposals to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. If he accepts the new
restrictions, the massive eco-tourism resort complex will not be built.

At the meeting, deputy chief of office of the municipal People’s
Committee Nguyen Thanh Tien said that before the plan was approved, the city
granted licences to ten investors to develop 18 tourism projects providing
about 5,000 rooms on the peninsula.

Tien said that after reviewing, the city decided to cancel projects
located on the eastern and northeastern parts of the peninsula – considered
“sensitive military areas”.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, vice chairman of the municipal People’s
Committee, said that buildings were only allowed below the elevation of 100m of
the peninsula. Most of them are to the west and southwest of the city so that
they would better connect with the city’s centre as it expands in the future.

Tuan also said that the city did not plan to develop a tourism
area in the eastern and northeastern parts of the peninsula because they are
the home of endangered langurs and valuable herbals.

Head of the city’s tourism association Huynh Tan Vinh said that
the association wanted no tourist accommodations to be built on Son Tra

“Over 15,000 people have signed a petition on preserving the
peninsula,” he said. Earlier, the association sent the Prime Minister its
recommendation that no further tourist accommodations should be built beyond
the 300 rooms currently on the peninsula.

The 4,400-ha Son Tra Peninsula, about 10km away from the north
east of Da Nang city’s centre, is regarded as a harmonious ecosystem between
the forest and sea in Vietnam.

According to the latest report from the centre for biodiversity
research and conservation (GreenViet), more than 237 herds of red-shanked douc
langurs, comprising over 1,300 individuals, are living in the Son Tra Nature Reserve
on the peninsula.-VNA

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