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The central coastal province of Quang Binh – home to the world’s largest cave Son Doong – is gearing up for a tourism boom.
Colossal caves, most of them protected in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, have given Quang Binh Province, one of the poorest regions in the country, a new opportunity to improve people’s livelihoods through its rapidly growing tourism industry.
The local government plans to introduce at least seven new tourism products and services this year including a tour following in the footsteps of the film crew of the latest installment in the King Kong franchise: Kong: Skull Island, said Nguyen Van Ky, deputy head of Quang Binh Province’s Tourism Department.
“We are working with tourism operators to launch these new tours as soon as possible,” Ky told the Saigon Times.
Quang Binh is also planning on holding tourism festivals next month.
Low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines has signed an agreement with local authorities to open new flights as Quang Binh looks to cash in on tourism.
Under the agreement, Jetstar will add to its schedule a domestic flight connecting Quang Binh with the northern port city of Hai Phong and an outbound flight between the province and Thailand’s northern city of Chiang Mai.
“We hope these efforts to promote our international reputation, develop new products and launch new flights will help local tourism to recover this year,” Ky said, referring to an environmental disaster caused by Taiwanese steel factory Formosa that ravaged some 200 kilometers of the country's central coast last year.
Ky added that the sea is now safe and the harmful chemicals discharged by Formosa have been diluted.
The government said in a report that the disaster had harmed the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people in the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien – Hue.
Tourism took a hit in Quang Binh last year, with the number of visitors slumping by 35 percent to about 2 million.
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