NEXT BIG THING
Clean and beautiful, Con Co Island could be the ideal ecotourism destination -- and soon may be, once a plan by district authorities is implemented.
A t night, it looks like a floating city on a sea filled with light. This is how Leâ Ñöùc, a tourist, describes Coàn Coû Island off the central province of Quaûng Trò which he recently visited.
The island has two high places. The highest point has a lighthouse and has been named Haûi Phoøng Hill, after Haûi Phoøng City in the north, from the time of the war against the United States, Ñöùc said.
On the island, there are places named after places in the north, like Haø Noäi battlefield, Nam Haø, Haø Taây and Quaûng Ninh zones, he added.
The island, measuring 2,200sq.m, is located about 30km from the coast and has great potential for tourism development. Primary forests cover about 74 per cent of the island, which has a variety of sandy beaches, coral reefs and igneous rocks formed from volcanic lava.
Leâ Quang Lanh, the island district Peoples Committee chairman, said Coàn Coû remained clean and unspoiled by human activity and featured freshwater and strange plants that were endemic to the island.
The sea around the island is home to numerous tropical water ecosystems, including about 113 coral species that were found to be in excellent condition, Lanh added.
Along with the coral systems are rich flora and fauna and hundreds of kinds of seafood of high value.
With such a large potential and the proper investments, the island will become a tourist destination, a marine tourism centre that attracts local and foreign tourists and contributes significantly to the socioeconomic development of Quaûng Trò Province, he remarked.
Besides diverse ecosystems, the island is now focusing on infrastructure development that will serve its residents, including a dock, a fishing port and logistics fisheries services.
Roads are likewise being built to serve residents and tourists and give the island a spacious appearance, said Ñöùc.
Coàn Coû is home to 50 residents, and visiting fishermen usually take a rest on the island after a long voyage. Lanh said all offices and headquarters on the island were either newly constructed or repaired.
Weve reclaimed more than one hectare of land, mostly planted to vegetables, fruits, maize and cassava. Were rearing 250 cows and goats and have built a new residential area for households, he added.
To date, all households, offices and units on the island have electricity and enough potable water. The youth who volunteered to build the island nearly 10 years ago have now settled down on it to engage in cattle raising, farming and fishing.
Coàn Coû is where our two children were born, so my husband and I have agreed to settle down here for the long term, Nguyeãn Thò Lan, one of the first inhabitants of the island, revealed.
Island district authorities are now implementing a project to turn Coàn Coû into a tourist destination by highlighting its historical and traditional values, high-class resorts, coral reefs and other marine resources.
Formed from rare basalt, with unique natural landscapes and rare black coral reefs, Coàn Coû is famous for beautiful and diverse marine and forest ecosystems, especially a three-storey forest ecosystem (a rare ecosystems of volcanic islands in Vieät Nam), and its intact and diverse coral reefs.
Moreover, it is conveniently positioned near national and international sea transport routes such as Haûi Phoøng-HCM City-Singapore, Haûi Phoøng-Manila, Haûi Phoøng-Ñaø Naüng and Haûi Phoøng-Vladivostok (Russia). It also belongs to a chain of famous historical landmarks, so developing Coàn Coû for tourism is within our reach, said a tourist company representative.
Cao Trí Duõng, director of Vitours Travel Company, said the island was an appealing tourist des- tination. Were planning to bring more tourists to this island in the future as we have successfully done in Lyù Sôn Island of Quaûng Ngaõi and Chaøm Island in Quaûng Nam, he added.
Ñöùc said he had visited all remnants of the war against the US on the island, such as tunnel systems crisscrossing the island for more than 20km, a system of bunkers along the coast, and cannon sites.
From the lighthouse, we can see that the island is like a town surrounded by blue sea and primitive forest. Once, I nearly lost my way in the forest, and was really impressed to see and touch many old trees. Three or four people must join hands to embrace a tree, he added.
With abundant seafood and unspoilt coral reefs, Coàn Coû Island is now a Marine Conservation Area. VNS Photos Hoà Caàu
Coàn Coû Island is hoping to exploit its great ecotourism potential and attract a lot of visitors.