The long-delayed $500-million Saigon Safari Park in the city’s Cu Chi district may be revived thanks to finding a new investor.
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has licensed Vinpearl Joint Stock Company (Vinpearl) to study plans to develop an ecotourism facility, according to newswire Tuoitre.vn.
Vinpearl will have to submit detailed plans to the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee before July. Accordingly, an important part of the plans is increasing the area of the amusement park and the zoo through decreasing the area of golf courses and hotels.
The city committee asked the Ho Chi Minh Department of Planning and Investment and relevant agencies to provide Vinpearl favourable conditions so that the project can be implemented on schedule.
Licensed in June 2004, the 485-hectare Saigon Safari Park project was invested by Saigon Zoo Company and designed by Singaporean Bernard Harrison & Friends. However, the project has yet to be implemented due to slow site clearance.
In 2012, Bernard Harrison & Friends withdrew from the project because of the long delay. Another sticking point was that the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee claimed that the designer’s fee was nearly twice that allowed by the Ministry of Construction. Also, land clearance and compensation was progressing at a snail’s pace. The project was recently re-invested by Saigon Zoo, Saigon Tourism Corporation, and Ben Thanh Limited. The new consortium planned to invest an initial sum of VND300 billion ($13.6 million) to finalise some essential aspects of the project’s first phase.
Once finished, Saigon Safari Park is expected to become Vietnam’s largest ecotourism facility. The park will focus on wildlife conservation and the breeding of rare plants and animals. It will consist of an open zoo, a night safari, a butterfly garden, a botanical collection, a natural museum, a flora and fauna research centre, and a picnic site, as well as other supporting facilities.
The park will be home to more than 300 animal species with 10,000 animals and 3,000 kinds of plants.