20 lodgings operating illegally inside Vietnam World Heritage site

By Viet Tuan   January 13, 2019 | 08:54 pm PT
20 lodgings operating illegally inside Vietnam World Heritage site
Lodgings illegally operate inside Trang An Complex. Photo by VnExpress
Authorities in Ninh Binh Province have urged tourists not to use illegal lodgings that have sprung up inside the Trang An Landscape Complex.

In a recent announcement, the northern province’s Department of Tourism listed 20 establishments within the core area of the complex that locals have illegally turned into hotels and guest houses.

The Trang An Landscape Complex is a UNESCO world heritage site, two hours drive to the south of Hanoi. It is known for its limestone peaks and valleys, many of which are partly submerged and surrounded by almost vertical cliffs. 

It is home to Hoa Lu, the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. The place is also dotted with temples, pagodas, paddy fields, and small villages.

According to the department's director, Bui Thanh Dong, the general plan for the complex approved by the prime minister in 2016 bans the establishment of lodgings in the core area of the complex.

"Locals have converted their houses or built new ones in 2018.

"We have warned them many times and the Trang An Landscape Complex's management board recorded their violations but these households still continued building."

Only the district and commune authorities have the authority to fine the violators and dismantle the structures, he said.

But Dong warned that since these establishments are illegal, they have not been certified as meeting fire and food safety regulations.

"Therefore, to ensure their safety, tourists should not use the services of these guest houses and hotels."

In 2017 a local tourism company was also found to have illegally built a 2,000-step stairway to the top of a mountain in the complex. 

It was dismantled last year following inspections and intervention by several tourism authorities, and 62 groups and individuals, including local leaders, were punished.

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