Vietnam allows foreigners access to previously 'forbidden' island

By Vietnam News Agency   August 3, 2016 | 06:25 pm GMT+7
Vietnam allows foreigners access to previously 'forbidden' island
Co To Island. Photo by Vietnam News Agency.

This little gem near the Chinese border is going to see a bump in visitors.

Co To District has decided tourists without Vietnamese nationality will be able to enter the island without the extensive paperwork that was required before.

Co To Island in the northern province of Quang Ninh used to be strictly controlled by authorities due to its proximity to the border.

In the past, foreigners wishing to touch the crystal clear waters of Co To needed permission from local authorities in addition to normal papers like visas and passports.

However, Quang Ninh has recognized Co To as a “tourist attraction”, so visitors with legal papers can now freely access the island, said Hoang Ba Nam, chairman of Co To's District's People's Committee.

The move complies with a government decree that states foreigners should be allowed access to recognized tourist attractions anywhere across the country without a permit.

Data from Vietnam's tourism ministry showed that in 2013, Co To welcomed 56,000 visitors, collecting about VND70 billion ($3.14 million). The figure nearly doubled to 100,000 in 2014 with the revenue jumping to VND150 billion ($6.72 million).

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