His decision was made at a meeting at Government headquarters in Hanoi yesterday with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Da Nang authorities to report on the recommendations from the Da Nang Tourism Association regarding the master plan for development of the Son Tra National Tourism Complex by 2025 with orientations to 2030, as well as heard opinions from relevant ministries and agencies.
The Son Tra Master Plan was approved in November 2016 and officially announced in February 2017. In fact, the plan has yet to of been implemented, Deputy PM Dam affirmed.
Prior to 2013, the Da Nang City People's Committee approved investment plans for 18 projects on Son Tra Peninsula, of which 11 have residential construction sites. Ever since 2013, Da Nang has not provided licences to any additional projects, meaning that all projects on the peninsula were approved and received licences before the planning was even prepared. Therefore, the management of planning and construction over these projects failed under the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Da Nang People's Committee.
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huynh Vinh Ai said that the boundary area planned for tourism development at Son Tra Peninsula is 1,056 hectares. However, the construction area of residential buildings under the master plan is only about 2%.
Prior to the planning, Da Nang had approved 25 projects in Son Tra, of which 18 invested in tourism. Of these, there are 11 in the hospitality sector with a total of 5,049 hotel rooms. Initially, the proposed Master Plan was set to have about 1,600-3,200 rooms. After careful consideration, the Appraisal Board for the plan requested the scale be reduced to 1,600 rooms.
However, shortly after the plan was announced, the Da Nang Tourism Association proposed to keep the status quo with only 300 rooms as current and refrain from building more accommodation on the peninsula.
Son Tra forest being cleared to make room for the construction of hotels. (Credit: NDO)
The Prime Minister has assigned the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Da Nang to organise seminars and conferences to work with the association and invite experts, scientists and conservationists to exchange on relevant issues.
Deputy PM Dam urged the Da Nang People's Committee to take initiatives in reviewing these issues to make an official report to the PM. In this report, it should clearly define whether the city agrees with recommendations of the association regarding the reduced number of rooms in Son Tra or not. If the city is not in agreeance, the reduced number should be set clearly and not as over 1,600 under the approved plan, the deputy PM affirmed.
At the meeting, representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that the master plan was prepared and submitted for approval in accordance with the set order, procedures and competence, as well as in line with the provisions of the Law on Tourism and others.
The ministry has cooperated closely with Da Nang City and 11 other related ministries and agencies for comments. After receiving and explaining opinions from ministries, branches and the Da Nang People's Committee, the ministry appraised and finalised the planning according to the conclusion of the Appraisal Council and submitted it to the PM for approval.
Representatives from the Da Nang People's Committee said that the city needs three months to carry out work related to investors who have been granted investment licences in Son Tra and will try to reduce the number of residences to 1,600 as planned by the Government. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also proposed that it will take some time for scientists, experts and propagandists to reach a consensus on the new plan.
Son Tra Peninsula is home to the endangered red-shanked douc and many other species. (Credit: NDO)
Representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment proposed to conserve Son Tra Peninsula ecosystem by integrating Son Tra Natural Reserve (established under Decision No. 45/QĐ-TTg) and surrounding waters to form an International Biosphere Reserve similar to the model of the Cu Lao Cham Biosphere Reserve in Hoi An City for preserving both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Deputy PM Dam agreed that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism would have three months to hold conferences, seminars and consultations on related scientific aspects.
Emphasising once again that the Son Tra Tourism Plan has not yet been implemented in practice, the deputy PM suggested that this Master Plan would not be implemented in the next three months, so that consultations would be objective and comprehensive; but during these three months, Da Nang also needs to closely monitor and prevent the large deployment of licenced projects, he stressed.
Construction works on the Son Tra Peninsula.(Credit: NDO) - nhandan