Located 80 kilometres from the mainland, the island district comprises Co To Lon (large Co To island), Co To Be (small Co To island) and 15 smaller islands. From Cai Rong port in Van Don district, another island district of Quang Ninh province, travellers can take high-speed boat trips that take an hour and a half to cover the distance.
Co To’s attractions include turquoise sea and tranquil beaches along with tropical primeval forest eco-system that is almost in its primary conditions.
Untouched and large beaches in the island are attractive with white sands and wavy water. Hong Van, Van Chay, small Co To or beaches along Thanh Lan island are among the best beaches of Co To.
The island is also famous for abundant fresh and diverse seafood, along with many historical and cultural sites.
Recently, the district approved a master plan for socio-economic development of Co To towards 2020, aiming to make the island district a national-level eco-tourism and resort area together with the high-end sea and island eco-tourism area of Van Don, and making Co To a key destination of the Cat Ba-Ha Long-Van Don-Co To-Mong Cai-Tra Co tour with diverse tourism products, including sports and entertainment centres.
A plan for tourism development to 2020 with a vision to 2030 has also been approved, along with an action programme to make tourism a spearhead sector of the district.
As part of efforts to lay foundation for sea and island tourism growth, Co To has focused on developing infrastructure system, while encouraging tourism expansion. The 17,000 cubic metre reservoir Truong Xuan as well as lakes in Thanh Lan and Tran islands have been built. Meanwhile, transportation system and boat fleets have been upgraded to give visitors easier access to the island.
Co To currently has a fleet of 26 high-speed boats with up to 100 trips per day, shortening the time to reach the island to 70-90 minutes instead of 3-4 hours in the past.
Co To has been connected to the national power grid since 2013. Roads inside the island have been upgraded, with a 5.6km road going through the island and connecting Co To town and Dong Tien commune as well as Co To trade centre and fisheries logistics centre.
Community-based tourism has been encouraged, while human resources for tourism have received adequate attention.
The connecting of tourism routes and products has also helped lure more visitors to the island. Some outstanding products of the district include “One-day fishermen,” “One-day soldiers,” and “Journey to homeland islands”.
Statistics showed that the number of tourists has surged over the years. If in 2013, the district welcomed some 56,000 visitors, the figure doubled in the following years. In 2017, the island served 320,000 tourists. In the first four months of this year, the figure hit nearly 15,200.
In the future, the district will launch a pedestrian street and a water park covering thousands of square metres. Meanwhile, the locality will continue boosting community-based tourism, making Co To a national-level eco-tour and resort centre in 2020.-