Formosa catastrophe takes toll on tourism in Vietnam province

By Anh Minh   July 15, 2016 | 04:42 pm PT
Formosa catastrophe takes toll on tourism in Vietnam province
Quang Binh's tourism industry has been hit hard by the massive fish deaths caused by Formosa. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.
Quang Binh is home to Son Doong, the world’s largest cave.

The tourism industry of Quang Binh has been squeezed by the toxic disaster caused by the Vietnam unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group in Ha Tinh Province, a senior local official has said.

The number of tourists to the central province has recorded a 20-percent year-on-year decrease, plummeting to 1.3 million, Tran Tien Dung, Quang Binh's vice mayor, said Friday.

“Construction on several new hotel and restaurant projects in the province has been temporarily shelved," Dung said. "[Investors] are waiting for the situation to improve to resume their works.”

Many travel companies and hotels in Quang Binh have to reduce staff to cut costs due to fewer tourists. Various measures by the provincial government and local companies have failed to reverse the decline in tourist arrivals, Dung said.

He asked the central government to deal with the Formosa incident to help recover the maritime economic operations and travel industry in the central region.

In early April, large quantities of fish washed up dead near the Vung Ang Economic Zone in Ha Tinh Province. The disaster stretched 200 kilometers (124 miles) along the central Vietnamese coast, as far south as Thua Thien-Hue, resulting in the death of more than 70 tons of sea fish and 35 tons of farm-raised fish. Especially hard hit were Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Thua Thien Hue provinces where thousands of fishermen lost customers or were forced to sell at a loss.

In late June, Formosa Ha Tinh Steel admitted its $10.6 billion steel plant had been responsible for the massive fish deaths, pledging $500 million in damages.

The central government has assigned the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to develop a blueprint that earmarks tourism as a key economic industry of the country.

Quang Binh has several beautiful beaches and a variety of tourist staples including Son Doong, which was named  the world's largest cave by the British Cave Research Association in 2009 and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2003.

Related news:

Son Doong: the world's largest cave has photographer in awe

Formosa responsible for mass fish deaths: Vietnamese government

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