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Massive foreign tourism project breaks ground in Ba Ria-Vung Tau   2008-05-27 - ThanhNienNews

A Canadian property company broke ground in Ba Ria-Vung Tau last weekend for one of Vietnam’s largest tourism projects that will include the country’s first Las Vegas-style casino, a golf course and a complex of hotels.

Local residents watch a groundbreaking ceremony for the Canadian-invested US$4.2 billion Ho Tram Strip project in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province last Saturday  



Asian Coast Development Ltd. (ACDL), the developer, said the US$4.2 billion complex, located 80 km southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, is scheduled to be completed in 10 years.

Phases one and two would see completion of the casino, a 1,100-room five-star hotel, a 1,300-room four-star hotel and a championship golf course designed by Australian golfing great Greg Norman in 2011.

The 169-hectare beachfront Ho Tram Strip is being designed by Steelman Partners, one of Las Vegas’ major architectural firms.

When phase three is completed in 2018, the complex will also include five hotels and an international conference center.

ACDL chairman Mike Aymong said at the ceremony that Vietnam’s “perfect nature” and its people’s eagerness to learn meant the country would remain one of the world’s favorite holiday destinations.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said, “I believe the Ho Tram project will prove to be a huge success, and will open up various ongoing opportunities for economic, commercial and investment co-operation between Vietnam and Canada.”

ACDL won the right to develop the project in the face of competition from Singaporean, Malaysian and Macao rivals.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau, a rising FDI star

Director of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Planning and Investment, Le Kim Huong, said recently her province had grabbed back second position in the national foreign direct investment (FDI) stakes in the first quarter and was striving to go for the top.

Investment had poured into sectors like tourism, seafood processing and port services, she said.

In the year to March, FDI was worth $2.12 billion.

It has since risen to $6.3 billion.

Huong expected a further 18 projects worth $4 billion, mainly from France, the US and Thailand, to be licensed in the second half.

Tourism potential

ACDL’s director of communications, Gavin Davidson, said his company saw great potential in Vietnamese tourism despite the current economic problems like rising inflation.

“We still recognize Vietnam is outperforming many [other] countries,” he said.

The government was interested in promoting tourism through multi-billion projects like the Ho Tram Strip to boost the country’s tourist infrastructure to world standards.

The New York Times identified Vietnam as one of 53 top tourist destinations in 2008, with golf cited as a main attraction for international visitors.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the country has moved up to fourth from sixth place in the ranking of the world’s fastest-growing destinations.

Last year, Vietnam attracted 4.2 million international tourists, a 16 percent year-on-year increase.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said the figure for the first four months this year was almost 1.7 million, up 16 percent from the same period last year.

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