The government agreed on October 31 to a tourism route being opened to Con Co Island off the coast of central Quang Tri province, after a proposal from its People’s Committee.

It also asked the province to work closely with the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and related agencies to prepare the investment and construction plans.

Con Co Island boasts a diverse ecosystem, where visitors can swim, look at coral, visit primeval forests and the lighthouse, and enjoy local food. They can also visit a building with historical artifacts and documents from the last 55 years.

The island is 30 km from Cua Tung Port in Vinh Linh district and has a forest coverage of 73 per cent. It was established as an island district in 2004 and its population is about 400 people. Despite receiving investment to build a power station, a shortage of electricity and water are its two biggest disadvantages.

It will form a tourism triangle in Quang Tri: Cua Tung Port - Cua Viet Port - Con Co Island. Though it has much potential to develop tourism, it attracts few tourists.

The island’s natural conditions make it suitable for resorts and ecotourism destinations. Its beaches are wide and clean with a water temperature that never falls below 21C. There are 113 species of hard coral, 56 species of seaweed, 46 species of benthic zone, 87 types of coral reef fish, 164 species of phytoplankton, and many other rare species of dolphins and turtles.

It is also a historical place, as from 1965 to 1973 it was a transit point for transporting over 2,500 tonnes of goods to the battlefield in the south of Vietnam.

To encourage tourism investment, provincial leaders have set in place favorable conditions to help investors access priorities in the province’s investment policies, regarding land, investment liberalization, taxes, immigration, and human resources.

Quang Tri faces many difficulties in infrastructure to serve living standards and promote tourism. Roads, airport and ports are evaluated as not being able to meet demand in tourism, especially international visitors. Water and electricity only meet short-term demand and in the long term require significant investment.

Con Co has retained its wild beauty, but to develop tourism provincial leaders need to adopt particular strategies to ensure sustainable development.