Lao Cai promotes investment, tourism
Update: May 10, 2016
More than 500 domestic and foreign experts and businesspeople were brought together at a conference on investment and tourism promotion in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai on May 8.

The event was jointly held by the provincial People’s Committee, the Steering Committee for the Northwestern Region, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

Addressing the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung suggested Lao Cai make use of advantages to develop itself into an economic hub in the northwestern region.

Towards this goal, Lao Cai should create an attractive investment climate and direct investment on infrastructure and key products, he said, noting that the province should push forward administrative reform to pave the way for investors, pay attention to human resources development and enhance cooperation with partners to promote investment.

The Deputy PM also reminded the province to attach importance to ethnic issues, social order, environmental protection, and preservation of local culture while promoting tourism.

Participants contributed their ideas to attract investment and develop tourism in popular locations such as Sa Pa, Bac Ha, and Lao Cai City.

Chairman of BIDV Board of Directors Tran Bac Ha said Lao Cai boasts a lot of strengths to become the region’s economic hub. He highlighted a number of local attractions such as the foggy Sa Pa resort town, the 3,134m high Fansipan peak – dubbed the Roof of Indochina, and numerous must-see ecotourism and community-based tourism destinations.

He, however, pointed to challenges arising when local infrastructure and human resource development fails to catch up with the fast growing flow of visitors. Those problems should be dealt with promptly in order to achieve sustainable development, Ha said.

Vice chairman of Sun Group urged Lao Cai to accelerate administrative procedure reform and transport projects.

At the conference, the province granted investment licenses to six businesses with the total registered investment of nearly 2 trillion VND (90 million USD).

The event also witnessed the signing of tourism agreements between investors and BIDV as well as tourism cooperation deals between Lao Cai and other provinces that have maritime strengths in preparation for the  National Tourism Year 2017 which will be hosted by Lao Cai and other northwestern provinces.

Endowed with high mountains and deep valleys, Lao Cai has rich flora and fauna and cool climate. It is home to 25 ethnic groups with unique customs and traditional festivals.

Tourism has become a significant part in the local economy, contributing 11.5 percent of the provincial gross regional domestic product (GRDP) in the 2010-2015 period.