Vietnam to keep Paradise Cave off global beauty contest over safety concerns

By VnExpress   April 18, 2017 | 10:29 am GMT+7

The proposal to use the cave as venue for a beauty contest has been rejected following concerns among locals and conservationists.

A global beauty contest should be held outside the Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave in central Vietnam due to safety reasons, according to the Quang Binh provincial authority, which recommended a local coastal resort instead.

The Paradise Cave in the UNESCO-recognized Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park and SunSpa Resort have initially been put forward by the province's tourism department as candidates to host Miss Grand International 2017's National Costume Contest. 

"Due to the steep terrain, flood intensity is high and it can trigger flash floods," the state owned Nhan Dan daily cited a Quang Binh tourism department report to the culture ministry as saying.

The report said the cave will also limit the number of allowed guests and hinder logistics and security work.

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Paradise Cave had been expected to make a global beauty contest a unique experience. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao

Miss Grand International is a global female beauty contest and one of the five Gland Slam Beauty Pageants. Held once a year since 2013, the contest has picked Vietnam for 2017 after Las Vegas hosted it last year. 

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Despite public concerns, the report claimed the event would not damage the cave's environment. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.

Quang Binh has been chosen for the national costume contest, the southern province of Kien Giang will host the swimsuit competition and the final show will take place in Ho Chi Minh City. All the events are scheduled for October 4-25.

Meanwhile the Paradise Cave is often struck by flooding in September and October, the Quang Binh tourism department said, suggesting SunSpa Resort as an alternative venue. The organizing committee will later finalize the venue.

Earlier Le Thanh Tinh, head of the Phong Nha Ke Bang national park, has expressed concern that any large gathering of people could increase carbon dioxide concentrations, which will in turn reduce stalactites' shine.

Paradise was named by a British Cave Research Association team, which explored it following a discovery by a local man in 2005.

The team called it the most beautiful cave in the world for its stalactite structures. They also said it is the longest dry cave in Asia, stretching 31.4 kilometers (19 miles).

Opened to tourists in 2011, Paradise is one of 300 different caves and grottos at the world famous Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

The park won UNESCO recognition in 2003 for having unique limestone structures and the oldest karst formation in Asia, dating back to some 400 million years ago. Only some of the caves in the park are accessible to the public, including Paradise.