Boats on Thung Nai Lake in Hoa Binh province (Photo: 

Infrastructure for Northwestern tourism development is still limited, failing to meet the needs of tourists.

Not only the Northwestern region, but all Vietnam has advantages of waterway tourism, which is very attractive for tourists. However, at present, this kind of tourism in Vietnam is underdeveloped, especially in the Northwestern region, home to the Chay, Gam rivers, Ba Be Lake, Son La hydroelectric lake and Na Hang hydroelectric lake, which are very beautiful.

However, due to economic and difficult transport conditions, investment attraction for waterway tourism development in the Northwestern region hasn’t developed. Even investment in infrastructure to meet the demand for waterway tourism, such as services to provide boats or construction of wharfs, hasn’t been implemented.

Potential for waterway tourism development in the Northwestern region is there. At present, linkage of tourism infrastructure has gradually developed, therefore, a plan for waterway tourism development in the region should be paid more attention.

For example, a tour on the Gam river can be built to connect Ha Giang, Cao Bang and Bac Kan provinces, which is a beautiful tour; or a tour on the Chay River through Lao Cai province is also very beautiful. In addition, rivers in Tuyen Quang province can also be exploited on tours.

In addition, other values of rivers in Tan Trao region should be exploited to extend visitor stay longer times and attract more tourists.

In fact, rivers run through Northwestern province with rugged and craggy terrain, which is suitable for discovery and adventure tourism. Therefore, waterway tourism exploitation there should include diverse tour types such as travelling by ship, rubber raft or bamboo raft. Moreover, small bamboo crafts and drug-out canoes can also be used in some places, such as Cam Son, Thac Ba, Ba Be and Na Hang lakes.

These tourism products can be easily differentiated from those in other places. Even festivals and cultural attractions in the journeys also create differences, because cultural differences among Thai, H’Mong, Dao ethnic groups help attract visitors.

Currently, the most important aspect to plan is to evaluate the potential for waterway network development in the region, then we will have appropriate development orientation. After that, we will decide to invest to build wharfs and infrastructure.

To promote development of waterway tourism, travel by road must also be developed. Destinations, train stations and the road system must be connected conveniently to wharfs. Then, after initially arriving in the region, visitors can quickly continue their experience. Thus, we not only develop waterway tourism, but also diversify types and services.

However, all investments in this region need to carefully and closely follow tourism of the nation, regional planning and tourism development planning of each locality.

All projects invested in the Northwestern region today must assess their environmental impacts before being granted permission, because environment is a factor of top concern for tourists. When calling for investment in tourism, localities should seek investors who have demonstrated high responsibility and awareness in preserving and protecting the natural landscape and environment, as well as cultural historical values./.