|A view of Con Co Island in Quang Tri province
Con Co used to welcome a few hundreds of tourist annually. After the first official tour to the island district departuring from Cua Viet was opened, the tourist arrival increased significantly from nearly 2,000 in 2017 to over 4,000 last year.
In the first seven months of this year, the island received 7,000 visitors.
To boost tourism, local authorities launched a 80-seat high-speed boat tour earlier this month, reducing travel time from the mainland to Con Co from 2 hours to nearly 1 hour. The district expects to have 3 – 4 high-quality tour packages and 2 – 3 express boats by 2020 to better serve visitors.
Infrastructure on the island has been much improved. The island was connected to the national grid in 2017, replacing the electricity supply from diesel-fueled generators that was unstable and only provided in a certain period of time during the day.
Authorities have also developed several local specialties to meet tourist demands, such as fish sauce and jiaogulan tea.
Covering an area of 2.3sq.km in the south of the Gulf of Tonkin, Con Co Island is blessed with diverse tropical marine ecosystems. Thanks to its large forests, beautiful beaches and pristine coral reefs, the island has huge potential for tourism development.
Primeval forests cover about 74 percent of the island, which has a variety of sandy beaches, coral reefs and igneous rocks formed from volcanic lava.
When the night falls, visitors could stroll along coastal roads to enjoy the fresh air and peaceful atmosphere. Popular activities on the island include swimming, scuba-diving, canoeing, fishing and marine sports.
Located 17 nautical miles (about 30km) from the coast, Con Co island, which crosses the 17th parallel, is dubbed an “outpost watch” because of its critical location for national defence. It is also known as a pivotal battlefield during the war against the US, and much evidence remains there of Vietnam’s ultimate victory. Authorities believe that this also makes the island a great place to develop for tourists with a taste for history.
Quang Tri has adopted incentives to encourage investors to develop tours to as well as hospitality and amusement facilities on the island, according to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Chien.