With twenty one small islands, the unspoiled Nam Du archipelago in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has emerged as an inviting tourist attraction for those who look for pristine tropical beaches surrounded by pure atmosphere, glittering sea and smooth white sand.
Situated some 80 kilometres from Rach Gia town on the mainland, Nam Du Archipelago, which was created by two volcanic formations, can only be reached by boat – two hours by speed boat and five by ferry.
Billed as “Ha Long Bay in the south”, the islands drew nearly 20,000 tourists in the first three months of this year, said Tran Van Du, vice chairman of Nam Du commune People’s Committee.
He said that the island welcomes an average of 500-700 people every day.
Together with untouched landscapes, local fresh seafood and floating fish farms they all bring new experiences to the holiday-makers, Du highlighted.
Meanwhile, Tran Van Tam – a tourist guide from Ho Chi Minh City , said that most of the visitors to the islands have been on cloud nine with swimming, sunbathing and boat trips around the island to contemplate gorgeous sceneries and dive on coral reefs.
The tourism upswing has contributed to realising the island’s socio-economic strategies. The locality’s key economic sectory is still from the sea, last year it earned 264 billion VND (11.8 million USD) from aquaculture and floating fish farms. Local livelihoods have increased in recent years while the islands achieved 12 out of 19 criteria set for new style rural area.
However, Nam Du archipelago needs to map out a strategic plan and make comprehensive investment to develop its tourism, as the locality is facing numerous challenges such as insufficient guesthouses, lenient management at beaches, power restrictions, fresh water shortages and inadequate health care clinics.
According to vice chairman Du, the commune is asking local service suppliers to zone off safe swimming areas while checking boats and life buoys when transporting tourists to visit the islands.
In its socio-economic development strategy to 2020, Nam Du will build sustainable and environmentally-friendly tourism as well as focus on protecting and enlarging forest areas to create an immaculate landscape and maintain fresh underground water resources.
It is crucial for the locality to build roads around the islands as well as make investments in ports, re-zoning coastal settlement areas, and to build sea embankments and reservoirs to store water during the dry season.
“The commune is mobilising well-off residents to construct a guesthouse system and build new boats to serve the travellers”, Du said.
He added that local tourism will be on an upswing when the islands are connected to the national grid and the construction of reservoirs and water stations are completed.