NEXT BIG THING

Viet Nam News - - Front Page - Hoaøng Trung Hieáu

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 Peo­ple’s 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.

“We’ve re­claimed more than one hectare of land, mostly planted to vegetables, fruits, maize and cas­sava. We’re 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. “We’re 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. —

Worth pre­serv­ing:

With abun­dant seafood and un­spoilt co­ral reefs, Coàn Coû Is­land is now a Marine Con­ser­va­tion Area. — VNS Pho­tos Hoà Caàu

Sleep­ing beauty:

Coàn Coû Is­land is hop­ing to ex­ploit its great eco­tourism po­ten­tial and at­tract a lot of vis­i­tors.

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