Central provinces to tap maritime tourism potential
Update: Mar 13, 2017
The central province of Quang Nam plans to upgrade part of its Ky Ha Port for cruise services to nearby islands, Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Dinh Hai has said.

Hai said Ky Ha Port, which has been used as a major cargo port, will reserve a 20m pier for boat services linking the provincial islands of Cham, Tam Hai with Quang Ngai province’s Ly Son Island and Han River Port in Da Nang city.

“We will also build a reception area and accommodations at the port and upgrade the cargo quay into a tourism service pier. The Ky Ha Port, which allows cargo ships with a capacity of 20,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage), can be used for cruise and speed boats over the summer holidays,” Hai said.

He said the province will co-operate with neighbouring Quang Ngai and Da Nang and travel agencies in boosting tour boat services.

The province hosted 4.4 million tourists, 2.3 million of them foreigners, in 2016. It wants to increase the number to 5 million tourists in 2017 and 8 million in 2020.

The province also plans to upgrade Chu Lai Airport to handle 2.3 million passengers and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo by 2025, as well as launching sea routes from Ky Ha Port to Hong Kong and Singapore.

Meanwhile, the island district of Ly Son has put into operation the first speed boat service between the island and Sa Ky Port on the mainland.

Vice chairwoman of the district’s People’s Committee, Pham Thi Huong, said the 85-seat speed boat, owned by a private company, will help cut traveling time from the coastal area of Quang Ngai province to the island from one hour to 25 minutes.

She said the Chin Nghia company invested 10 billion VND (442,000 USD) in the project. A second boat is expected to go into operation next month.

Currently five cargo and seven passenger ships serve 1,500 commuters and islanders traveling from Quang Ngai to Ly Son Island each day. 

Ly Son Island, 30kms off the coast, is home to about 21,000 residents. Most make their living fishing and farming garlic and spring onions.

The island is also a favourite destination during holidays, with 100,000 tourists visiting annually. 

The district’s vice chairwoman said Muong Thanh Group also invested 40 billion VND (1.8 million USD) to build a 260-seat cruise ship. 

In 2015, the district also launched a new sea route connecting the island to An Binh Islet, about 5km away. 

According to island authorities, 18 hotels, guest houses and home-stays provide accommodation for 1,000 tourists at present. 

The Agriculture and Rural Development Bank of Viet Nam (Agribank) also built the first Automated Teller Machine (ATM) on the Island, while Tien Sa Taxi put into operation the first public taxi service in 2015.