VietNamNet Bridge – Most of huge tourism projects on Phu Quoc Island have yet to be kicked off and the island will still be short of hotel rooms in the next couple of years, which helps explain why international airlines still keep the island at arm’s length.
Work can be started on only some projects until 2015 and it will take at least over two years to put some components of such projects into use, said Le Minh Hoang, director of Kien Giang Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Hoang said tourism and hotel projects account for two-thirds of a total of some 170 projects approved on the island. However, only 23 small and medium projects of fewer than 160 rooms have been implemented after many years.
There are many reasons for the slow progress of tourism projects, including economic difficulties and unfinished infrastructure. Key roads on the island off Kien Giang Province have not been completed while the submarine power cable has only been started.
With such reasons, the province has granted an extension for investors of slow-moving projects, allowing them until later this year to decide whether to keep working on or halting projects.
According to Hoang, small and medium projects which are being implemented from now until 2015 will provide only 500-700 rooms and Phu Quoc will still lack rooms.
“The province’s tourism growth is 12% per year and that of Phu Quoc is 17-20%. The number of tourists visiting the island rose by up to 34.5% to 474,000 in the year’s eight-month period,” Hoang said.
Phu Quoc currently has 2,900 rooms, with around 2,400 of them meeting standards for tourists.
The shortage of hotel rooms not only affects the island’s tourism growth but also prevent foreign airlines from flying there.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) is still inviting foreign air carriers to launch flights to Phu Quoc Island but many of them are still concerned over tourism infrastructures there.
Ho Quoc Cuong, head of the Air Transport Department, told the Daily that CAAV had invited some foreign enterprises to open flights to some tourist destinations such as Nha Trang, Dalat, Can Tho and Phu Quoc.
Although Phu Quoc International Airport has been upgraded to handle large aircrafts, the airlines are concerned that the shortage of hotels and travel services will fail to lure visitors to the island.
CAAV has yet to receive any applications from foreign air carriers for flying to Phu Quoc, Cuong said.
Inaugurated in December, 2012, Phu Quoc International Airport is able to serve big aircrafts such as Boeing 777-300, Boeing 747-400 and A380-800 crafts. The airport is expected to welcome over 2.6 million passengers each year by 2020 and seven million passengers each year by 2030.