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Tony Milton MRICS

BSc (Hons) Est Man
MRICS
APREA (CREIF)

Tourism - Delta
Monday, 16 March 2009

 MEKONG DELTA

 

PHU QUOC ISLAND       

                                                 

Phu Quoc is in a group of 22 islands. It is called Pearl Island as it is rich in nature with pristine forests and stretches of beautiful sandy beaches with crystal clear seas. It is also well known for its delicious fish sauce and spicy pepper and has long inspired visions of a tourist utopia and even talk as a future regional economic hub, like Singapore, which it approximates in size and is Vietnam’s largest island. 

 

Phu Quoc lies at the extreme edge of the Gulf of Thailand and is 45 kilometers from Ha Tien and 15 kilometers south of the Cambodian coast. Covering 573 square kilometers and extending for 50 kilometers in length, Phu Quoc is part of an archipelago of 22 islands of varying size. Off the coast are a hundred islands including some densely inhabited such as Hon Tre and Kien Hai, and most with nice beaches to lie on or swim out from, forests to wander through and native animals to observe.

 

Phu Quoc is widely considered an attractive travel destination with white sand beaches and tropical weather. It is also strategically located near HCM City, which already receives 55% of international travelers to the country. The island is also close to the Gulf of Thailand and can facilitate cruise ships in the surrounding waters.

 

The island is the best that Vietnam has to offer, but the lack of infrastructure is a weak point and a reason that investors are not falling over each other to invest. Until adequate public utilities like electricity, water, drainage and roads are provided and there are enough potential staff to be trained, investors will always be wary and slow to invest. Authorities shouldn't expect investors to provide such basic utilities; they must be there before the investors' dollars. Investors will augment the basic utilities in their project. When investors are satisfied that basic infrastructure and the airport are under development, attention will turn to how long it is before they recover their investment and make the desired profit.

 

Compared to Vietnam, countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have better infrastructure, good weather and natural beauty. However they've already attracted investors, many tourists have already visited them and a new destination is sought. Vietnam stands out as an opportunity in Asia.

 

Although the government have said infrastructure construction on Phu Quoc Island would require USD$100 million and some USD$300 million between 2005 and 2010 very little has so far been spent and investors are still waiting for action to be taken before they pour their money in. According to a Ministry of Planning & Investment spokesperson, the island is considered one of the best destinations for tourism development in the next 5 to 10 years and as such will attract more investors willing to pump money into lucrative projects.

 

According to the Prime Miniuster’s Decision 1197lQD-TTg issued in November 2006, the island population will increase from its current 70,000 residents to 120,000 people. It will receive a projected number of 500,000 to 600,000 tourists per year. To pay for facilities to serve such a large number of tourists in the next 5 years, Kien Giang Province will upgrade Phu Quoc's infrastructure network for accommodation, service and recreational facilities. The master plan encourages the development of recreational and sport areas. Plans call for 4 golf courses, horse-racing tracks, kite-flying areas and water sport courses. As for transport, 4 seaports will be built and the existing Phu Quoc airport will be upgraded to accommodate 300,000 passengers a year. By 2011, a new international airport will be built in the south of the island to serve 2.5 million passengers a year with day and nighttime flights.

 

The island consists of Duong Dong and An Thoi towns and 7 communes: Cua Can, Ganh Dau, Bai Thom, Ham Ninh, Cua Duong, Duong To and Hom Thom.

 

Utilities : Electricity

 

In late 2006, Kien Giang Province submitted a plan to the PM to develop a thermo-electric plant in Kien Luong District to ensure sufficient power for the province and especially Phu Quoc Island in the long term. The province have proposed that the Government allow Australia's Ensham Resources to build the thermoelectric plant on Hon Chong Island in Kien Luong District. The thermal power plant, with a designed capacity of 1,000 MW and worth USD$1 billion, should be completed in 2010 under the Build-Operate-Transfer or Build-Operate-Own forms. Provincial authorities also proposed that the central Government enlist this power project in the national strategy for the grid’s development and gas consumption in the 2006-10 period, paving the way for Ensham to develop the project effectively. The developer would then be able to increase capacity at the power plant to 2,000 MW after 2010. According to EVN’s power development strategy for 2006-2015 the total current capacity of power sources 12,270 MW (2006), but will quickly increase to 15,497 MW in 2011, and 27,261-27,811 MW in 2015. Given the rapid growth of the economy, national authorities have shown concerns that the country will face a severe power shortage in a few years' time.

 

In early 2003, the People's Committee and Electricity 2 Company began work on a USD8 million 12 MW diesel-electricity plant covering 7.8 hectares. Another plant, powered by wind, will be built with a loan from the World Bank. In the short term to 2010, Phu Quoc will continue using power from diesel-fired plants. In the long run, however, Phu Quoc will need power supply from the mainland. Two options are being weighed, one aiming to build an underground cable line 45 km long to transmit electricity from Ha Tien at an estimated cost of USD135 million; the other being to get electricity via the line from Vietnam to Cambodia.

 

Utilities : Water

 

By early 2001, more than 21,000 local residents of Phu Quoc and Kien Hai islands had access to clean water after Kien Giang province invested nearly USD$690,000 build 8 purified water stations, each with a capacity of 50 to 200 cubic meters per day.

 

In mid-2004 Kien Giang Water Supply & Drainage Company started work on a USD$3.6 million water plant with a capacity of 5,000-10,000 cu. m per day, which can provide clean water for Duong Dong district town and its neighbouring regions.

 

Utilities : Telecommunications

 

In early 2007 the province approved a USD$56 million project to develop information and communication technology applications, largely as part of plans to develop international tourism.

 

In 2002 Viet Nam Television and Kien Giang Radio announced they were going to erect a 10 kW TV and radio broadcasting tower on top of Hon Me mount, 184m above sea level.

 

Socio-Economic

 

In 2002, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Kien Giang Province reached a record level of USD$503 million, up 13.25% on 2001.The province was aiming for an annual per capita GDP income of USD$550 and an annual growth rate of 10 - 11% in its 2001-2005 social and economic development plan. Significantly, the province's economic growth rate was almost twice the national economy's 7.1%. The annual per capita GDP in the province is now about UDS$390 – over 20% higher than in 2001.

 

 

In late 2005 Phu Quoc Tourism Investment & Development Corporation inaugurated a 3 floor USD$225,000 tourism and English language school on the island.

 

Transportation : Roads

 

The development masterplan for the island incorporates a 260 km road network although at the moment only a few roads traverse the island. But they are enough for excellent motorbike tours : 1 day for the smaller 50 kilometer northern round; another 1 more for the 75 kilometer southern circuit. Because none of the roads, except for the section running through Duong Dong and past the resorts that have sprung up south of the town, are paved, riding for 60 kilometers takes significantly longer than the usual estimated hour on a national road. On the northern round, the speedometer often shows 10 kilometers per hour, or at least it feels like that when the road runs across rattly wooden bridges or becomes a 1 meter wide path with deep, muddy holes and smooth, gray rocks. All in all, it is easy to spend at least 2 days on the road, if not more, when going to waterfalls and the stream in the center or the beaches in the south.  

 

In early 2005 the Ministry of Transport asked the PM to approve 4 projects worth USD$39 million : to upgrade the 12.6 km Duong Dong - Cua Can road; to upgrade the 17.9 km Suoi Cai - Ganh Dau road, to upgrade the 33 km Bai Thom - Ganh Dau road; and An Thoi port. Construction of a 125 km road surrounding the island, a 24 km road between Duong Dong and An Thoi, and a road along Bai Vong to Bai Sao will also be carried out.

In late 2002 Phu Quoc authorities spent USD$1.6 million on asphalting roads to Duong Dong town as part of an USD$11 million plan to build and upgrade the road system, and as one of the early steps in an ambitious scheme to develop the island into an Open Economic Zone. Authorities had already invested more than USD$10 million upgrading other infrastructure amenities such as ports, water supply systems and electricity and telecommunications facilities.

 

Transportation : Sea

 

The development master plan for the island incorporates 2 seaports.

 

In mid-2004 the Hai An High-speed Boat Shareholding Co has put a UDS$2.5 million air-conditioned double-decker boat from Indonesia into service between the island and Rach Gia on the mainland. It takes 2.5 hours to the island and 2 hours from the island. The 40 meter Duong Dong Express can carry 250 passengers and travel at 33 knots. The fares are about USD$10 for a standard seat; USD$12 for one in the "VIP" class; and USD$7 for children under 1.4 meters tall.

 

In mid-2003, the Vietrosko JV between Viet Nam and Russia began operating a new hydrofoil service service between Hon Chong Port and the island's An Thai Port. The Russian made hydrofoil, capable of carrying 134 passengers, makes the journey in only 1 hour, reducing travel time by about 5 times.

 

In early 2003 the Kien Giang High-Speed Boat Ltd started operating the MS Superdong Boat on a 3 hour Rach Gia service. The ship, built in Malaysia in 2002, is 39m long and 4.12 m wide and can carry up to 163 passengers. Powered by a 1,600 HP engine, the MS Superdong is capable of sailing at 23 knots in rough seas. Also in early 2003, the Ministry of Transport rubber stamped a project to develop An Thoi port into one of the biggest ports in the Mekong Delta. The USD$7.4 million project included 2 main sectors boosting a wharf 100 metres long and 15 metres wide.

 

Previously it took about 9 hours to sail from Ha Tien to Phu Quoc on small shuttle boats and transport passengers to and from the main ferries at low tide.

 

Transportation : Air

 

A new 600-800 hectare international airport with 3,000 meter runway, a terminal and other technical facilities to accommodate 20 aircraft with day and night landings and takeoffs and 2.5 million passengers per year is expected to operate in Duong To Commune in the south of Phu Quoc in 2011. Stage one of the project between now and 2010 will require USD$157-188 million so it will be able to handle more than 1 million passengers a year, but there are still no signs that construction on it will begin soon. The current airport in Dong Duong town has a capacity of 300,000 passengers per year. Rach Gia airport on the mainland will also be upgraded so that it will be able to receive 200,000 passengers a year by 2015.

 

The Ministry of Transport estimates 1.23 million people will demand air services to the island by 2010. To meet such a demand an airport with capacity for large aircrafts, such as the A320, A321, B767 planes will be required.

 

Flights to Phu Quoc have increased from 3–5 per week to 2-6 daily over the past few years from Ho Chi Minh City which take an hour and cost about UDS$35 each way. There are also flights to and from Rach Gia. The new USD$2.5 million 2,452 sqm airport terminal opened in 2004 but still small and can only accommodate 200 passengers per flight and short distance 80 seater planes, such as ATR 72’s and Fokker  70’s on it extended 2,100 meter runway.

 

Land & Planning

 

In November 2004 the local government approved the Phu Quoc development master plan until 2010 with a vision toward 2020 but it was not until 2006 that the Deputy Prime Minister approved the tourism master plan. It aims at developing tourism sustainably in the island and details regulations on overall development, including construction, transportation and Land Use plans. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism – VNAT, the de facto Ministry of Tourism - is responsible for development of the roadmap for the island. The island plans to build 4 golf courses covering a total area of 920 hectares in Cua Can, Ganh Dau, An Thoi and Bai Vong areas along with many other entertainment facilities including water sports facilities at Ham Ninh and Bai Truong. Earlier, in late 2002, the MPI proposed that Phu Quoc be turned into a duty free Special Administrative & Economic Zone, with international trade exempt from customs procedures. Some policies on Phu Quoc investment : -

 

1. Land : -

 

-        The annual land rent must be kept stable for 5 years and must be 50% of the State Government's rate and at least 25% of the provincial government's regulated rate.

 

-        Projects outside the encouraged investment fields are given a land rent exemption and reduction for 11 years while projects in the encouraged fields are offered a 15 year reduction and exemption.

 

-        Exemption from auctioning the right to use leased land.

 

-        Economic organizations, overseas Vietnamese, foreign residents in Vietnam, foreign-invested enterprises, and foreign organizations and individuals are allowed to invest in building houses for sale or lease, and can release or transfer the rights to use land with completed infrastructure on the island according to the corresponding regulation of the law on land. Overseas Vietnamese are allowed to buy houses connected with the land-use rights on Phu Quoc Island. Foreign residents in Vietnam and foreign investors are allowed to buy houses and lease land for a long term.

 

2. Taxes : -

 

-        The island has offered preferential treatment for investors, including all the incentives given to those who invest in regions suffering from economic development difficulties. Investors a 10% corporate income tax rate during the term of their projects (normally 28% elsewhere). High-income earners enjoy a 50% reduction in income tax.

 

-        Investors are exempted from the import tax on goods imported once as fixed assets in the time of developing the project. BOT projects are exempted from the import tax on fuel and imported materials that have not been produced in the country. These must serve the project construction and operation.

 

3. Credit : -

 

-        Projects on Phu Quoc Island which use State loans according to current regulations are provided with loans as a priority.

 

4. Visas : -

 

Tourists entering Vietnam through a border gate en-route to Phu Quoc will benefit from the new exemption policy. While those heading to Phu Quoc by sea or air will be required to clear entry procedures at immigration offices at the seaports or international airports respectively. Phu Quoc currently has no international checkpoints, but the government has asked Kien Giang provincial People's Committee to upgrade Phu Quoc airport and An Thoi port into international border gates to facilitate entry. Viet Kieu and overseas tourists with at least 45 days remaining on their passport will no longer be required to obtain a visa if they spend less than 15 days on the island, and crews of foreign ships with passports valid for entry can reside on the island for the period when their ships are anchored to transform it into the new Bali or Phuket,

 

“So what - to fly to the island from within Vietnam one still needs a visa to enter the country! Does the visa-free access, together with the recent decision on tax incentives, mean a special Economic Zone will be established? Can we expect a Vietnamese version of the tax-free British Virgin Islands? The recent, unprecedented prime ministerial decision to allow permanent foreign resident and ocerseas Vietnamese to purchase houses in Phu Quoc is an excellent move. The statute gives the thumbs-up to overseas Vietnamese and foreign-invested enterprises and individuals to build houses for lease / sale or to sublease and transfer land use rights of land areas with infrastructure. It also allows permanent foreign residents to take longterm lease of land and overseas Vietnamese to purchase houses .with attached land use rights. However, it does not detail how long foreign residents can hold a land lease and purchase houses.” - Karl John, TCK Group represented in Vietnam for Contacts International Consultants.

 

The island will build large resort complexes, golf courses, entertainment facilities. About 4,800 hectares of land have been set aside for building tourism and entertainment facilities. The regulations on construction density and height limits in the zone for tourism facilities is between 5% and 15% while the height limit is between 6-15 meters.

 

The land for the golf courses has already been set aside on the island : 150 hectares in Cua Can commune; 150 hectares in Ganh Dau; 220 hectares in An Thoi; 400 hectares on Vong beach. The construction master plan also envisages a horse racing track on 100 hectares of land in An Thoi and Duong To, while water sport facilities have also been proposed for Ham Ninh and Long Beach.

 

In total, more than 3,800 hectares of land on the island have been earmarked for the construction of 13 large tourist complexes and a number of other smaller resorts. Long Beach is expected to become the tourist and commercial centre of the island, with its proposed high-rise properties housing various financial, banking, commercial, post, entertainment and hotel facilities. A number of new residential and commercial areas will be built by 2020 providing accommodation for up to 230,000 people. All new tourist facilities will be at least 50 metres from the sea. Construction is also required to have a limited impact on the surrounding landscape, with the island's north limited to low-rise developments and the south permitted to build high-rise properties. The province will only license tourism and hotel projects which have an investment capital of at least USD$1 million per hectare and cover more than 1 hectare with at least 40 rooms with quality services. Only a few buildings of 20-30 stories will be allowed in certain areas such as Duong Dong Town.

 

Within 2 months of being announced in early 2006 it attracted more than 40 investment projects including 12 projects which were being developed. In addition, more than 100 local and foreign investors registered to invest in tourism and entertainment on the island. Many others have registered to invest in infrastructure operations such as ports, roads, water supply and waste treatment.

 

Rents

In early 2005 the province announced a list of prices for beachfront land on Phu Quoc Island effective 1st January with a top rate is USD$45 per square meter ie USD$450,000 per hectare. They also requested the PM remove the initial fee for land rental and reduce the yearly cost to 30% of then current rates to boost the economy.

 

In late 2004 a metre of roadside land in Khu Duong, Phu Quoc's pepper growing hub, was selling for UDS$2,000-$4,000. In 1999 the same land cost only a few hundred dollars. As a result, new houses on small plot for about USD$320,000-380,000 are being built all over the island and 80% of the land in nearby Ham Ninh fishing village had been sold.

 

Decision 76 effective 18th August 2003 set a range of USD$2 to USD$100 per square meter for urban land, and USD$1 to USD$37 per square meter for suburban land by the sea.

Foreign investors have been using Vietnamese partners as “fronts” to buy land and an estimated 30% of land transactions involve silent foreign buyers. Locals say land prices have escalated by over 8-10 times in recently years.

 

Nature

 

Phu Quoc covers 59,305 hectares and 36,759 hectares or 63% is covered by forests. Phu Quoc forests comprise 29,135 hectares in Phu Quoc National Park and 6,455 hectares of protective forests.

 

The Nam An Thoi - Phu Quoc area with 10,000 hectares of water surface and 2,000 hectares of beach has been proposed as a potential tourist destination many times. In the middle of 2005 the Ministry of Fisheries made an agreement with the Kien Giang authority allowing them to set up a marine ecology preservation garden to combine marine preservation with recreational activities for tourists. The project will have a services function to help take tourists to areas where they can dive and observe coral. This project is very important because marine preservation and tourism go hand in hand. To celebrate World Environment Day on 5th June 2007, the province with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment established the Phu Quoc Sea Reserve – the country’s 3rd National Sea Reserve after Nha Trang and Cu Lao Cham in central Vietnam. Hai Phong City's Bach Long Vy and Quang Tri Province's Con Co will be also recognised as sea reserves soon.

 

 

In early in 2002 the nature reserve became a National Park covering 31,000 hectares and embracing a 6,100 hectare buffer zone. The area is home to 529 flora species, of which 11 are listed in Viet Nam's Red Book of rare species, and about 150 fauna species of which 23 are listed. An estimated investment of USD$5 million was planned, with USD$1.5 million attributed to species protection and rehabilitation and another USD$1.5 million used for staff training, new equipment and fire prevention. Protecting fauna and flora and setting up administrative facilities cost about USD$750,000.

 

In mid-2007, a rare species of slipper orchid was found in the Phu Quoc National Park during a trek taken by Wildlife at Risk (WAR) consultants as part of ongoing collaborative research programmes between WAR and the national park. The Phu Quoc specimen was found growing among leaf mould on a wet rocky slope 310m above sea level and is classified as endangered in the IUCN Red List and listed in the Appendix 1 of CITES (The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species).

 

In late 2002 a group of about 10 rare green sea turtles was discovered by local fishermen near Tho Chau Island. The green sea turtle, Chelonia Mydas, is an endangered species which is only found in 9 places in the world, one of which is Ba Ria-Vung Tau province’s Con Dao Island. A large number of sea cows and dugongs have also been found by local fishermen off Phu Quoc Island. The dugong is also listed as an endangered species which feed on large sea grass off Phu Quoc's east coast.

 

In 2004 Kien Giang was planning to submit a proposal to UNESCO to recognize Phu Quoc and a great number of islets in Kien Luong, Dong Ho and Ha Tien districts as a world biosphere reserve since the island still includes large tropical rainforests and mangrove forests, both of which contain several rare plant and animal species. The same year the director of Phu Quoc Protected Forest's Managing Board was due to submit a project to the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry and local authorities to develop some 12,000 hectares of forest area (of the total 33,000 hectares of forests) for tourism and also for agriculture. The land requested for the project had little or no forest cover.

 

EXISTING RESORTS

 

 

1995            25 hotel rooms

2002            185 rooms             7 hotels & resorts

2003            220 rooms             8 hotels & resorts

2005            1,275 rooms           26 hotels & resorts

2006            1,275 rooms           68 hotels & resorts           2,103 tourists per day

2010            3,500 rooms

2020            18,000 rooms

 

 

In 2001 the provincial tourism industry produced revenues of USD$3 million; in 2003 revenues of USD$3.9 million; in 2005 revenues of $7.7 million - an increase of 16.53% over 2004; and about USD$9.4-$11.3 milion in 2006.

 

In 2002 more than 50% of the visitors arrived on the Malaysian cruise ship Super Star Aries, which has now ceased visiting the island.

 

1.    Saigon Phu Quoc Beach Resort, 1 Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong

 

The 6 partners in the Saigon-Phu Quoc Shareholding Company are Saigontourist, Vietnam Insurance Corp., the Asia Commercial Bank, Oricombank, and the State tourism and lottery companies of Kien Giang, the province in which Phu Quoc Island lies. The property opened in April 2001 claiming to be "Vietnam's Premiere 3 star Island Resort.” In early 2003, to meet 4 star standards (which it achieved in early 2005), the resort spent USD$1.3 million to expand from 2.4 to 3.5 hectares, built 45 more rooms, increasing the number of rooms to 85-90, including 4 luxury suites. In addition, various facilities were developed like a beach side bar, a tennis court, a mini golf course, a nursery, rooms for the handicapped, accommodation for women, a 150 seat international convention hall with 3 small meeting rooms, and a recreation center. The USD$1.3-1.6 million expansion raised the resort's funding to USD$2.8 million. It also announced that they were trying to acquire 64 hectares of land to expand the premises. Saigon Phu Quoc Resort has Western, Asian and Japanese restaurants and runs 3 tourist boats for fishing, observing the coral and scuba diving. A USD$1 million 400-800sqm prize electronic game ‘Casino Club Vegas’ opened in late-2004 with 100 slot machines and 10 roulette machines imported from Korea on the 1st floor and a discotheque, bar, restaurant and karaoke parlor on the 2nd floor.

                                                      

2.    Long Beach Resort

 

In late 2004 this USD$500,000 hotel opened on in Duong Dong at the top end of Long beach. The property comprises 33 rooms of 2 star standard and a 150 seat restaurant. As at 2005, the rates “at normal times” were about  USD$17 for a standard room, USD$20 for a "Superior" room and USD$23 for a "Deluxe" with an ocean view. The hotel is merely the 1st Phase of a USD7 million "cultural village" resort.

 

3.    Veranda Grand Mercure Resort & Spa

 

Originally planned in early 2005 as the Ba Keo resort, it opened in July 2006 as an Accor branded hotel - the luxurious Grand Mercure boutique beach resort and spa. The USD$4.2 million La Veranda is Accor's first Grand Mercure resort in South East Asia and has been developed by a joint venture between the French outfit VF-CGZ Ltd and the local Nam Hai Co Ltd, which we understand is closely associated with Indochina Capital. The resort covers 11,300 square meters in the town of Duong Dong with over half reserved for greenery and is comprised of 43 rooms of 35 square meters to 69 square meters each, 2 meeting rooms, a swimming pool, water park and a kid's club. All rooms in the resort are designed according to French architecture. The resort operator is eyeing well-to-do guests from France, Japan, the US, England, and Australia. Accor's Grand Mercure rates somewhere between the 5 star Sofitel brand and the 4 star Novotel brand and is one of the fastest growing top-end brands in Asia-Pacific. The group have announced plans to open a second Grand Mercure resort in Hoi An imminently and are looking for opportunities in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang. As at mid-2006, there were 2l Grand Mercures operating in Asia Pacific with another 7 under development and set to open before the end of 2007. The regional manager of Accor said, "Phu Quoc itself is an attraction since it is the last unspoiled tropical island in this region. A major appeal is the national park northward as well as the white sand beaches southward. Phu Quoc has such a different variety of natural and protected scenery all on the same island."

 

4.    Beach Club – Long Beach

 

Approximately 10 basic beach-front bungalows, without air-conditioning nor swimming pool, set on 1,200sq.m of land, 200m beach and 200m from Thousand Star Resort.

 

5.    Bo Resort - Ong Lan Beach

 

Situated at Ong Lan Beach the resort is owned by a Vietnamese woman and her French husband who “have the goal of making Phu Quoc's natural beauty and local culture the foundation of their resort.” It features wooden bungalows that were bought from locals. Their company's name is Non La and the resort opened to the public in 2003 covering 2 hectares. The couple own a total of 15 houses running from the hillside to the beach. The houses offer plain but comfortable living for tourists. There are neither TVs nor fridges and even the telephone is at the receptionist's desk. Around the houses there are a great many trees and flowers, attracting many butterflies. They have invested about USD$200,000 in the resort but it still does not break even. Twenty locals work for Bo Resort.

 

6.    Sasco Blue Lagoon Resort, 64 Tan Hung Dao, Duong Dong Town

 

In mid-2002 the Southern Airport Services Company (Sasco) paid about USD$6 million to local authorities for the Land Use Rights to 6 hectares. The 3 star standard resort is close to Saigon Phu Quoc.

 

7.    Huong Bien Guest House, Duong Dong

 

Typically basic 1 star standard town budget hotel.

 

8.    Hon Re Nho Island Resort

 

In 2001 work has began on developing the offshore Hon Re Nho Island into a tourism area with total investment capital of USD$460,000. The 16 hectare islet is about 11 km from Hon Chuong seaport.

 

9.    Bai Vong Resort

 

In 2001 Kien Giang Province’s Trade & Tourism Department paid USD$2.5 million to develop the 1st Phase of the Bai Vong tourism area, including for a 6 km road, a wharf for high speed shipping vessels and a guesthouse.

 

FUTURE RESORTS

 

By 2020 Phu Quoc island will be developed into a high-class, modern tourist and commercial centre of regional and international significance with 18,000 hotel rooms, of which 70% will be 3-5 star standards. The island aims to attract 400,000 tourists in 2010 (with 3,500 hotel rooms) and 2-3 million in 2020, with foreigners accounting for 30-40% of the total volume. Tourism is expected to bring annual revenue of USD$45 million in 2010 and USD$771 million in 2020.

 

 

The recent USD$1+ billion investment agreements with three foreign companies account for a sizable proportion of the land zoned for tourist development on the island. It has also meant that several smaller and / or long delayed resorts have had to be cancelled in order to provide the land required eg specific bays. However, many other resorts are and will be developed, especially around Ba Ko-Cua Lap, Bai Xep-Ong Lang, Bai Vong and Ham Ninh.

 

 

Local authorities consider that all tourist projects should be of a decent scale and have an investment capital of at least US$1 million for every 1 hectare of allocated land.

 

-    Around 200 investors have expressed an interest in spending more than USD$6 billion developing tourism projects on the island. So far there have been about 50 approved projects covering a total area of 2,000 hectares.

 

-    In the first half of 2006, the Peoples Committee approved 12 investment projects on an area of more than 160 hectares with a combined capital of USD$42 million.

 

-         By 2004, some 50 tourist projects had been licenced although 60 more investors, 10% of whom were foreigners, were waiting for approval from provincial authorities. The initial 7No. projects were capitalized at USD$14.5 million. By mid-2007 the number had increased companies committed to invest amounted to some 200 with a total investment capital of USD$3.75 billion (mainly in tourism), covering an estimated 8,160 hectares.

 

1.    Allez Boo Resort

 

In early 2003 the HCMC based enterprise Bien Cat, the owner of bamboo themed, budget priced Allez Boo Saigon Restaurant, announced plans to develop 2 seaside resorts in Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc, each with 50 rooms set amongst 4 hectares and requiring an estimated USD$3 million in investment. Neither has yet opened.

 

2.    Saigon - Phu Quoc 2 Eco-Tourism Resort Development, Bai Sao - Sac Beach

 

In late 2004 SaigonTourist submitted a pre-feasibility study to the PM on the high-end USD$85 million Phu Quoc Eco-tourism Complex on Sac beach by Bai Sao, spread over 209 hectares in Cua Duong and An Thoi Communes. This will include a 300 room hotel resort, a 36 hole golf course and a casino built over the next 5 years. The USD$1.13 million 1st Phase of 5.6 hectares is expected to comprise of 150 bungalows, a conference centre, a 36 hole golf course, a resort and an eco-preservation and a water sports centre, with a view to commencing operations by 2010 and creating 3,000 jobs. Other attractions include a wild animal protection area and even an area for performances by Phu Quoc dogs. The project however, is now believed to have been acquired by Rockingham – see below.

 

3.    SaigonTourist Mot Island Resort

 

In 2007 SaigonTourist announced plans to develop an eco-tourism resort on the 10 hectare Mot Island and a scuba diving centre in the An Thoi islands.

 

4.    SJC Resort

 

Saigon Jewelry Company have long had plans to develop a USD$3.1 million resort .

 

5.    Victoria Phu Quoc

 

The French group Victoria Hotels and Resorts has obtained approval to expand its boutique hotel chain in Vietnam with a 20 hectare USD$12-25 (now) 40 million resort in the Mui Ong Quoi area of Cua Can commune with one kilometer of beach. The Victoria was therefore the first foreign invested developer to have a licence for a project. It was initially refused by the Ministry of Defense because part of the proposed area was located on land controlled by the army. However, after some consideration, the MoD has gave the green light for the project. Located on the west of the island about 10 km north of Duong Dong Town the resort will have more than 1 km of beach, a main building and several auxiliary complexes for a high-end tourist destination. The investor will lease the land for 70 years and has been provided with incentives such as land tax exemption during the construction phase and for 11 years after the resort is put into operation. Victoria will develop a modern resort with 50 villas and 30 bungalows. The Victoria Phu Quoc would he connected with 3 other Victoria hotels in the southern region - Chau Doc, Can Tho and Phan Thiet - to cater for package tours. The French group is also seeking opportunities to expand its resort in Hoi An, as well as planning the Chu Lai beach resort at an estimated cost of USD$20 million in central province of Quang Nam. Victoria is owned by Paris-based Electricite et Eaux de Madagascar (EEM), which has oil exploration and drilling operations in South America, real estate in the US, exploitation and export of wood in Myanmar and gold mining in Africa. The EEM chairman has said the group would focus on developing its Victoria hotel chain, timber and paper exploitation, and apartment buildings in Vietnam. "The economic stability and very good position of Vietnam being at the cross-roads of Asia - allows for upscale tourism with long stay capacity." Construction was scheduled to start in late 2004!

 

6.    Rockingham

 

In early 2007 the Los Angeles based Rockingham Asset Management received in principle approval from Kien Giang authorities to build a 923 hectare USD$1.2 billion tourism complex encompassing Ham Ninh and An Thoi communes. The construction plans include a high-class resort, villas, a motor race track, a tourism school, restaurants, hotels, a seaport, a motor racing track, a 36 hole golf course and other tourist and cultural centres. Rockingham's USD$1 billion proposal was the first of its size to be approved by the Kien Giang People's Committee. The primary problem, according to committee officials, is that projects in the USD$1-3 billion price range tend to require a lot real-estate. Kien Giang authorities say it would have been a much easier to support the proposal if the land requirements had been scaled down. An area of 200 hectares would have been more reasonable, he says. Overall though, the Rockingham project suits the Government's plan to turn 561 sq,km of Phu Quoc into a prime tourism zone, according to provincial authorities. Construction facilities would make up 20% of the total project area and the investor has pledged to complete construction on the whole project by 2015. The project would have around 2,000 luxury rooms for guests and many villas for rent. Earlier, the investor had asked the province for first about 1,930 hectares then 1,400 hectares to develop, which makes up around one-third of the total area planned for tourism development on Phu Quoc fixed at 3,800 hectares. However, the land available in the planned zone would have been inadequate to meet the investor's demand The province has decided to relocate 28 small investors to other places to prepare the 923 hectares for the US investor. Earlier, the province had approved detailed zoning plans on 275 hectares in Ham Ninh for smaller investors, many of them seeking to develop golf courses, tourist ports, resorts, and a wharf for fishing. The PM has approved plans to develop tourism projects over almost 4,800 hectares in total in the next 10 years, adding that there were limits to development. "Therefore we have to consider very carefully the project's feasibility because the area which Rockingham proposed is too large." Rockingham Asset Management LLC operates many large-scale property and tourism projects worldwide. The US group had established a company in Vietnam named Rockingham Vietnam Real Estate Development Company to carry out the project. It is perhaps worth pointing out however, that we have no success whatsoever in tracking down WHO Rockingham exactly is / are via Google or Yahoo, etc searches. They don’t seem to existing – at least digitally!

 

7.    Life Resort Phu Quoc

 

The Dutch owned Life Resorts Group are among hundreds of investors exploring business opportunities on Phu Quoc : “Much is spoken and written of the great potential of Phu Quoc. However, expectations may already be overdone even though plans are still not visible. The potential would take much time to show results. In principle I am positive, however, at the same time I am nervous about mistakes made in other beach regions in Vietnam, as was done in Phan Thiet. We have identified a perfect location at Bai Sau Beach. We have set up a consortium of strong and experienced companies that are able to make this location a unique showcase for tourism development. Incentives of the government are encouraging and show a professional approach. Phu Quoc will need a lot of experienced tourism companies to avoid a middle-standard development. As we expect Phu Quoc to remain a risky location for approximately the next 6 years due to lack of infrastructure, these incentives will be important to potential investors. The most important incentive that authorities should include is transparency, not only on conditions but also for the future planning. That includes clear guidelines on how to obtain land and how they select investors. Sometimes we get the feeling that it is a poker game to get land. The higher the promise on investment, the better the chance to win. The major difficulty is that it appears there are too many ministries and different authorities involved in the planning without knowing who is finally in charge and who guides the development in a professional way. Even though a master plan for Phu Quoc has been formulated, information is still traded as hidden goods. The question remains - how do you get the final approval to secure the land for your project?”

 

8.    Aquaba Resort & Villas

 

In early 2006 Suoi Nuoc Resort Ltd announced plans to build a USD$9.5 million luxury residential style resort along the beach of Mui Ne in Phan Thiet, just 200 kilometers north of HCMC with 2No. 7 floor blocks with 60 apartments, 33 town houses and 6 villas, all fully furnished; a swimming pool; tennis court; spa; restaurant; bar; children's area and other facilities. The resort's name comes from "aqua," or water, and "ba," which means 3 in Vietnamese. The grounds have many streams and pools. People can buy property in Aquaba under a long-term lease and choose to rent out their property or join a rental pool that manages it for them. A resort manager runs Aquaba. Vietnamese can get a 10 year loan for 70% of the property costs through a local bank. The apartments initially sold from USD$50,000 to more than USD$200,000. A 3 room town house sold for some USD$200,000 and a 4 room villa from USD$500,000-USD$525,000. Suoi Nuoc will also build another resort around Mui Ne and a 3rd on Phu Quoc Island. Each will cover 5 hectares.

 

9.    Solar Moon Spa Resort

 

In early 2006 work started on the 1 hectare 3 star USD$1.8 million 60 room resort by Nhi Hiep Construction Company who are spending USD$1.8 million on a 60 room hotel in addition to recreational and nursery sections among other auxiliary works. The resort covers 10,000 square meters and was expected to start operations in early 2007. The company has plans to develop the resort into a 4 star facility with 80-85 more rooms on 16,000 new square meters with more facilities. The developer has contracted the money transfer company Eden JS Co to outsource the management of the project to Global Holidays.

 

10.                       Qudos Phu Quoc

 

In mid-2006 Qudos, a JV between Vietnam's Phuong Nam Company and Singapore's TCMC Development Asia Pte developed the USD$9 million 14 floor 51 unit Avalon apartments at 53 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District l in down-town HCMC which were sold at an average price of USDS$2,256 per square meter (USD$235.000-248,000), which is among the highest in the city. Civic Asia Property Service has been appointed as the building manager. Qudos next projects in Vietnam include a series of international 5 star resorts in Hoi An in Quang Nam Province, Lang Co in Thua Thien Hue Province, and on Phu Quoc. Qudos and the Alila Hotels and Resorts Group have negotiated an exclusive arrangement for management of the resorts, which will be marketed and operated under the Alila Villas brand.

 

11.                       AutoMind Capital Resort & Port

 

In late 2006 the Canadian Automid Capital Group Inc obtained in-principle permission to develop a USD$120 million tourism village, port, apartment complex and ecological reserve in An Thoi with the Dong Duong JS Company. The project was expected to be built over more than 80 hectares in the south of the island although there were difficulties in land clearance and compensation because there were many private constructions and houses in the proposed area of the project.

 

12.                       Asian Pearl - Trustee Suisse Bai Sao – Bai Khem Resort

 

In early 2007 the Kien Giang People's Committee approved in-principle the Swiss based Trustee Suisse group’s 250 hectare USD$2.6 billion JV proposal with the Vietnam Construction and Import Export Corporation (Vinaconex) to build the Asia Pearl urban complex which will comprise a golf course, 5 star hotels, shopping centers, a yacht area, a sea sports area, luxury villas, a financial centre, an entertainment complex, a cinema complex, an international standard hospital and resorts in Rach Tram in the northern area of the island. The investor also wants to build a casino as well as money remittance and insurance facilities in the complex. The project site encompasses 150 hectares of Bai Sao and 100 hectares in Bai Khem and the investor plans to develop over two-thirds of the planned. The whole project should be completed by 2020. Vinaconex has also recently set up a USD$2 billion JV with the South Korean Posco E&C to implement a new urban area property project in Ha Tay province's An Khanh district, close to Ha Noi. It is also calling for foreign investment in the Cai Gia-Cat Ba tourism complex on Cat Ba Island near Hai Long with an expected capital of USD$600. Trustee Suisse is a global leader in legal and tax matters, particularly in estate planning, tax optimization and the protection of assets.

 

13.                       IMO

 

Believed to be largely controlled by Group Bourbon, the French conglomerate owner of the cash rich BIG C supermarket chain, and a variety of other Vietnamese based French companies, the developer is rumoured to be investing in several huge projects in central HCMC and some tourist resort projects in Chu Lai and in the north of Phu Quoc.

 

14.                       Delta Construction JV

 

The local government have approved a JV between Delta General Construction Inc, Condo Development LLC of the US, Westminster Tower Medical Centre and TTC Co Ltd to invest in an ecological tourism project with a 5 star resort and hotel.

 

15.                       La Perla Living

 

The Dutch Group, La Perla Living, with a strong international reputation, is actively seeking sites for high-end villa developments.

 

16.                       Danao

 

Danao International Holding (recently partially acquired by Indochina Capital) are planning to add their local expertise with golf courses and hotels in Dalat and Phan Thiet to Phu Quoc.

 

17.                       TIC Resort

 

Khanh Hoa Trading and Investment Company (TIC), which is well known as investors in Nha Trang with Ana Mandara and Evason Hideaway, is interested to join in the combined development of Bai Sau Bay. Such combined approaches are still new in Vietnam but used already successfully in Thailand and Bali, and ensure best results for the government as they are companies with experience in Vietnam and at the same time they guarantee high international standards and introduce new tourism trends.

 

18.                       Texas Investment Zone Resort

In 2007 the Texas based Limited Investments Zone signed a Memorandum Of Understanding to establish a USD$2 billion dollar entertainment resort project.

 

19.                       Hon Thom / Pineapple Islet

 

Hon Thom (Pineapple Islet): Everyone owns two houses because of its geography, Hon Thom residents can live in the islet's southern region for 8 months only. From the 3rd to 7th lunar months, they must move to the north region to avoid strong winds.

 

20.                       Tranh Stream Resort

 

In 2003 Tin Nghia Co announced plans for a resort around Tranh Stream.

 

21.                       Vung Bao Resort – Cua Can

 

In 2003 HCMC’s Lan Anh Club announced plans for a 300 hectare resort and entertainment complex in Cua Can. In mid-2008 Lan Anh Garment Trade Company was licenced for a project to build a 249 hectare resort comprising tourism, entertainment and trade services called the Vung Bau ecotourism complex in Cua Can commune that is reserved for 5 star hotels, villas, resorts and other facilities to serve 4,000 tourists per day.

 

 

22.                       Sasco Resort

 

The Southern Airport Services Company (Sasco), an affiliate of Vietnam Aviation Corporation are involved with a @150 hectare golf resort project in Cua Can.

 

23.                       BB Dai Minh Resort

 

The HCMC based company BB Dai Minh is planning to develop a 6 star resort in Phu Quoc Island.

 

24.                       Sasco Resort

 

 

The Hong Kong-based Starbay Holdings Limited will likely be licensed soon to build a large scale resort worth US$1.6 billion Phu Quoc Island. The 500 hectare Dai Beach Eco Tourism Resort, would include 8 deluxe beach-front hotels, luxury villas, and two 18-hole golf courses. Other auxiliary facilities include condos, water lagoons, schools, hospitals, and a wharf for 250 yachts to dock at a time, among others. Starbay will, in the first stage of five years, spend US$300 million developing two five-star hotels, an 18-hole golf course, over 160 villas, 20,000 square meters of restaurant and entertainment facilities, and other works. Construction of the whole project in three stages will be completed within 15 years. Phu Quoc Island has a coastline of some 150 kilometers. It takes about an hour or so to fly from the 561-squarekilometer island to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

 

25.                       Novotel Phu Quoc

 

In early 2008 Accor announced plans to open a Novotel by 2010.

 

26.                       Phu Quoc Forest Leasing Project

 

In early 2005 Kien Giang’s Phu Quoc Forest Leasing Project announced that some 2,340 hectare of forests had been leased for tourism projects. The land is part of 8,170 hectares of forest that have been leased out by the provincial authority since December 2007. Officials hope the project will develop the tourism industry, preserve the fauna and flora systems, minimise forest destruction, and boost forestation. Some 21 companies have signed contracts with the project's management board for 50 year leases. The HCM City based Thanh Xuan JSC has leased the most forest land, 374.4 hectares; the Kien Giang based Dao Xanh Ltd leased nearly 210 hectares; and the Ha Noi based IPA Investment JSC 200 hectares.

 

27.                       Sunset Santao Resort

 

In mid-2008 the province agreed to the 27.4 hectare resort in Duong To Commune comprising tourism and trade sections.

 

28.                       North Bai Truong Beach Resort

 

In mid-2008 the province agreed to a 20 hectare resort to the north of Bai Truong beach comprising garden villas and entertainments areas.

 

29.                       North Bai Truong Beach Resort

 

In mid-2008, the Dai Cat Hoang Long Trade Tourism Service Joint Stock Company received approval to build the Bai Duong-Hon Mot resort comprising high class tourism services such as a golf course and sea tourism facilities on 170 hectares in Bai Thom Commune of the island.

29.                       Hai Tac Islandst

 

 

In early 2008, Kien Giang province approved a proposal by a local investor to develop tourism on 2 of Hai Tac islands as part of the Mekong Delta province's plan to make Hai Tac the second key tourist attraction after Phu Quoc. T&T Trade and Production Co will develop sea and ecological tourism facilities on over 42 hectares of Hon Tre Vinh and Hon Duoc islands in Tien Hai Commune of Ha Tien town through a 50 year lease. From Hai Tac islands, around 5 kilometers off Ha Tien's coast and 45 kilometers from Phu Quoc island, visitors can take a 10 minute highspeed boat ride to get to Cambodia's Kep. In the middle of 2007 the provincial government decided to lease Hai Tac islands to tourism developers because the islands are strategically located in the triangle of Ha Tien-Phu Quoc-Kep. There are around 600,000 tourists who travel to Hai Tac islands each year but most of them are Vietnamese while the rest are from Cambodia and Thailand. The 4 investors will spend about USD$50 million developing tourism facilities on the islands. Kien Giang's tourism authority is pinning high hopes on sea travel in Thailand Bay. The province's tourism department, in collaboration with the tourism authorities of Thailand and Cambodia, are hoping to expand sea travel to Malaysia and Singapore in the near future.

 

 

  • Han Viet Golf Resort - In early 2008, the Han Viet Investment Company announced a JV to develop a 36 hole golf course with a 5 star hotel and villas in Hiep An Hamlet in Duc Trong District. The project will be developed in 3 phases with initial capital of USD$17 million.

 

  • Loc Thang Lake - The Loc Thang Lake project will provide a 348 hectare golf course plus 280 of the lake's surface area.

 

  • Bay Tang Waterfall Resort - In mid-2008, the province decided to transfer the Bay Tang Waterfall to the HCMC based Canh Vien Golf Company to develop tourism facilities. The company is also allocated 300 hectares of land around the fall to build a complex of sport, tourism, medical treatment, and hotel facilities.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 04 April 2009 )
 
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