Lost culture means Sapa’s demise: PM Phuc warns

Wednesday, 2017-12-06 17:14:45
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The meeting between PM Phuc and Lao Cai leaders
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NDO - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has warned of the failure of Sapa if local culture is lost to urbanisation as the authorities are seeking to upgrade the popular destination in north-western Vietnam into a provincial town.

Phuc told the leadership of Lao Cai province, which has jurisdiction over Sapa, that during the upgrading process, forests and local culture must be maintained as the charm attracting visitors to a mountainous area.

He emphasised that the development of Sapa is not only houses and roads, but the culture of local ethnic groups is also very important.

A few days ago, the Prime Minister signed a decision recognising Sapa as a national tourism site. Earlier in May, the PM also agreed in principle to build Sapa into an international tourism destination.

According to Lao Cai provincial leaders, as the number of tourists to Sapa is expected to rise from an estimated 2.5 million in 2017 to 4 million by 2020 and 8 million by 2030, the greatest challenge to the town’s growth is transport infrastructure.

A highway connecting Lao Cai province’s eponymous capital city to Sapa is facing fund shortage while details on a standard-gauge rail line have not been worked out.

Lack of capital is also the reason behind the delay in the construction of an airport in Lao Cai.

Sapa is known as a mountainous resort town where tourists can leave behind the frantic pace of city life to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, pristine nature, stunning terraced fields and exotic culture of ethnic minority groups.

But mass tourism in recent years has threatened Sapa’s tranquillity and environment as hotels, guest houses and home-stay lodges mushroom across the town in a disorganised manner.