Paper tourism projects set to be wrapped up

October 25, 2010 | 07:00
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The spotlight is to fall on foreign tourism property projects nationwide.
Vietnam’s stunning scenery is not being matched by developers’ honest intentions

Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI) Vo Hong Phuc said many foreign investors, including tourism property ones, came to Vietnam to take advantage of the country’s investment incentives, while waiting to transfer their projects without building, to seek profits.

“These investors are damaging Vietnam’s investment environment. I recommend that more iron hands be imposed on such investors,” Phuc said.

In mid-September, 2010, the MPI asked all the provinces and cities nationwide under central rule to check, assess and report all projects engaged in eco-tourism, entertainment, resorts, casinos and golf courses, based in their localities to the MPI by November 30, 2010.

“Inspection of Vietnam-based tourism property projects is a burning issue now. It is estimated that more than 130 licenced foreign projects of this kind will be inspected in the coming time. Many them are multi-million-dollar projects,” said Nguyen Van Thang, head of the MPI’s Inspection Section No.4.

Thang told VIR that these projects were either delayed or ineffectively operating, while local authorities’ management of these projects remained lax. Consequently, while thousands of households remained jobless due to having land taken for the projects, these projects were badly affecting localities’ business environment. For example, by late September, 2010, Thua Thien-Hue province’s Lang Co town in Phu Loc district was home to 16 tourism property projects, with total registered investment capital of over $1 billion. However, only six have come online.

According to the province’s Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone’s management authority, US-backed Pegasus Fund 2 company’s $4.8 million project to build a resort at Lang Co was licenced in 1996 and was expected to open early this year. However, only a small section of sea dyke of the project has been completed so far.

In another case, Singaporean-backed Cattigana Company in 2008 left a $1 million deposit at the provincial people’s committee on its VND1.63 trillion ($86 million) 100ha Bai Chuoi resort project in Lang Co. But, the project remains on paper.

In early this month, Lam Dong province’s people’s committee asked relevant agencies and departments to inspect all 237 licenced tourism property projects with total registered investment capital of VND62.86 trillion ($3.3 billion) in the province. The inspection came after the committee saw that many of tourism property projects were highly problematic and will end by November 10, 2010.

By Thanh Tung

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