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Yet another cable car planned in Vietnam, this time through biodiverse national park

By Vo Thanh   August 15, 2017 | 07:00 pm GMT+7
Yet another cable car planned in Vietnam, this time through biodiverse national park
Bach Ma National Park in central Vietnam, where a cable car has been planned to serve a resort complex. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh

A local official claims the system will not harm the environment in a country where construction of cable cars remains controversial.

Officials in the central province of Thua Thien Hue are awaiting permission from the construction ministry to build a resort complex that would include a cable car running through a national park.

The province approved the VND1.5 trillion ($66 million) project in 2014, and a partly foreign-run investor has already been selected for the project.

It is expected to cover 300 hectares (741 acres) inside Bach Ma National Park.

The plans for the cable car include one stop at the top of a waterfall, and Hoang Viet Trung, the deputy director of the province's investment department, said the system “will not interfere with the natural forest”.

Bach Ma National Park was established in 1991 and covers more than 37,000 hectares. It's a one-hour drive to the southeast of Hue, the provincial capital and tourism center.

The park’s biodiversity is considered one of the richest in Vietnam and the region.

Cable cars have become a controversial subject in Vietnam, and many people argue that the country is sacrificing nature for tourism.

In January, thousands of people signed an online petition opposing the construction of a cable car system into the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, in the central province of Quang Binh. As the pressure intensified, local authorities were forced to deny rumors of the plan.

Back in October 2014, the province also received widespread opposition when it announced plans to allow a company to build a $212-million gondola lift into Son Doong, prompting the government to ask the province to scrap the project.

The government has also guaranteed that no construction will take place in the entire Phong Nha-Ke Bang cave system until at least 2030.

The future of the caves after that is unknown, but many other Vietnamese tourist sites, including the world-famous Ha Long Bay and the country’s highest peak Fansipan, are already criss-crossed by cables cars.