Quang Hanh hot mineral source offers special health benefits: director

By Phat Dat   September 10, 2020 | 05:00 am PT
The hot mineral source at Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh Resort in Quang Ninh Province offers distinctive health benefits, says its director.
Wataru Shintaku, Japanese director of Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh Resort.

Wataru Shintaku, Japanese director of Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh Resort.

Healthcare tourism is getting more popular as health becomes a top public concern, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh Resort made its debut in May to catch the trend, says Wataru Shintaku, Japanese director of the resort.

Shintaku also told VnExpress about the reason he chose to come to Vietnam and how he evaluates the quality of hot mineral sources as well as the opportunity to develop healthcare tourism in the country.

Why did you come to Vietnam though you have many years of experience in the management and operation of onsens in Japan?

Japan has more than 25,000 hot springs (onsen). Originally considered a kind of bath good for health only, onsens have been developed to become the most popular tourist attractions in Japan.

In Japanese history, the popularity of onsens was clearly reflected through cultural development. Onsens satisfy the demand for fun and relaxation with friends, colleagues, families and couples. They are not just a quiet place to help people escape the hustle and bustle of life, but also a bridge to enhance relationships. In Japan, hot springs and the therapeutic effects of onsens are believed to offer a miraculous treatment with divine power thanks to the mineral content of geothermal water.

My life for the past 16 years has been attached to onsens across Japan. I have managed 11 onsens, set up five new onsens and monitored the transfer and merger of four others. These include Shofuku no Yu onsen, covering an area of 4,300 square meters, a large scale mineral bath in Japan that attracts more than 700,000 tourists per year.

During that time, I took charge of many jobs including training staff and managers of onsens to ensure operations in compliance with specified standards. Therefore, when I had the opportunity to work with Sun Group on consulting, training and managing Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh, I was excited to introduce Japanese culture in general and Japanese bath culture in particular to Vietnam. I hope Vietnamese will grow to love onsens and consider them a part of their spiritual life just as Japanese do.

Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh Resort.

Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh Resort.

How do you evaluate the quality of hot mineral sources as well as the opportunity to develop healthcare tourism in Vietnam?

There are large-scale onsens in Japan. However, due to limited construction funds, it is extremely difficult to build a large mineral spring resort. Furthermore, outdoor baths in Japan have their own limitations depending on topography. It is different in Vietnam.

Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh is actually a really large mineral spring area favored by nature for its extremely beautiful and majestic surrounding landscape. In my evaluation, there are three factors that make Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh a special and unique phenomenon, which is probably very rare in the world.

Firstly, mineral sources in Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh have very high value with many health benefits. Analysis results of Quang Hanh mineral water samples sent to Tokyo for evaluation showed this hot spring is rich in healthy minerals. Particularly, the content of Na+ and Cl- accounts for more than 20 grams per liter. It also contains metasilicic acid, boric acid and a significantly large proportion of bromine of up to 40 gram per liter. This makes Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh one of three mineral water mines with the highest content of hot mineralized bromine in the world.

Hot mineralized bromine has many uses such as helping eliminate toxins, relieving pain and restoring musculoskeletal functions, promoting blood circulation, boosting immunity, supporting the treatment of skin diseases, rejuvenating the skin, especially helping refresh and reduce stress. It is good for the elderly and those with workplace stress. Mineral water here also has a neutral pH, suited to people of all ages, including those with the most sensitive skin.

Secondly, regarding topography, Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh is located in a charming and unique mountainous area surrounded by mountains and forests. Viewed from above, Yoko Onsen is like a small, peaceful and quiet Japanese village. While resting and experiencing Yoko Onsen, visitors can feel completely relaxed in a quiet, isolated and romantic natural space.

And the third difference is that Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh is built and operated in compliance with the standards of a luxury Japanese onsen resort. These baths are equipped with the first filtration system by continuous flow in Vietnam, helping to remove impurities that are harmful to the skin and ensure good water quality even when there are many customers at the same time.

After its opening, Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh Resort received extremely positive feedback from visitors with a full number of customers booking services during the day, especially at the weekends. I think these are compelling reasons for the uniqueness of this onsen, which is expected to become popular among Vietnamese.

Can Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh help stimulate tourism demand in Quang Ninh Province, especially when the off-peak season is beginning in northern Vietnam?

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused enormous damage to the tourism industry. However, challenges also open up opportunities. I believe after the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be changes in tourist consumption, eating, shopping habits as well as travel habits. Popular tourism types will include healthcare and holiday tourism in relatively isolated spots.

As reported by the Global Wellness Institute, the healthcare tourism market has grown by 6 percent per annum while the figure for the whole tourism industry is 3 percent per annum. Healthcare tourism is expected to continue expanding at an even faster rate, about 7.5 percent per annum with a value of $919 billion in 2020.

We are making every effort to make Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh a potential in that trend, helping Quang Ninh catch up with the trend among other potentials bestowed by nature like Quang Hanh mineral hot spring.

We are trying our best to complete the second phase of the project, which is next to the current luxury onsen resort and will continue to invest and add more service items like a public hot spring area, therapeutic hospitals that give priority to traditional natural therapies and a high-end hotel managed by a leading global hotel management group to serve the high-end customer segment.

In future, once complete, a wide variety of items at Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh will bring visitors the most diverse and comprehensive experience, satisfying each individual demand. The project will step by step make Quang Ninh a leading resort and healthcare destination in the region as well as in the world, contributing to the elimination of seasonal tourism weaknesses that have hindered local development for many years.

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