Kong overkill: Official says Vietnam must rise above Hollywood movie

By VnExpress   March 17, 2017 | 12:11 am PT
Kong overkill: Official says Vietnam must rise above Hollywood movie
The entrance into Tu Lan Cave, a filming location for "Kong: Skull Island" in Quang Binh Province. Photo by VnExpress
‘Don’t make Kong the icon of Quang Binh,’ Vietnam’s cave kingdom has been told.

Quang Binh Province, one of the main locations for “Kong: Skull Island”, has been so actively promoting itself as a tourism destination after the Hollywood hit that a top official has told it to tone down the obsession.

“Don’t turn Phong Nha – Ke Bang into Skull Island. And don’t make Kong the icon of Quang Binh,” said Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan, referring to the famous Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park which is home to the world’s largest cave Son Doong and some of the most beautiful caves on Earth.

Tuan said at a conference held on Thursday in Hanoi about promoting Quang Binh that the province has been using a lot of images from the latest Kong retake to promote itself as a tourism destination.

He said, as quoted by Lao Dong, that Quang Binh has many other things to boast about, like its heroic war history. The province was the home of late General Vo Nguyen Giap before it became known as Vietnam's cave kingdom.

He said any promotion should paint a “comprehensive image” of Quang Binh. “It should not be all about Kong.”

Quang Binh started planning tours to some of the set locations after filming was completed in February last year. “Tu Lan: Experience Home of Kong”, will be launched soon, taking tourists to the beautiful Phong Nha, Tu Lan and To Mo caves.

Last January, the province also released a video promoting itself as an exciting destination, reminding viewers that it was the set for the blockbuster and featuring the testimony of the director himself.

The latest Kong retake was also filmed at UNESCO world heritages Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province and Trang An-Tam Coc, a complex of mountains and rivers in Ninh Binh Province.

The $185-million movie has smashed opening day box office records in Vietnam, with more than 162,000 moviegoers buying tickets for the March 10 premiere. Ticket sales on the first day reached VND18.2 billion ($799,000), CGV Cinemas Vietnam said.

Travel companies said bookings to Ninh Binh, Quang Binh and Quang Ninh have increased around 20 percent in the past two weeks.

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