Tourism rides new investment wave
As the foreign investment flow into Vietnam is increasing, the tourism industry has attracted a greater share of attention.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the year 2007 saw 47 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects pouring 1.86 billion USD in the non-smoke industry, almost tripling the figure of 2006 and equal to the total amount of 7-8 previous years.

The ministry‚€™s Planning and Finance Department Head Ho Viet Ha said foreign investors are particularly interested in building entertainment parks, hotels, resorts and golf courses on a large scale and with high-quality services.

The most noteworthy is a 1 billion USD project of Singapore ‚€™s Banyan Tree group, which is completing procedures for building an ecological resort in the Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue .

As scheduled, construction of the resort will begin in March and be completed in early 2014, containing 10 five-star hotels with close to 3,000 rooms, a golf course, an international conference centre and 470 villas for sale.

Thailand ‚€™s Six Senses group is preparing for a project to build three Ana Mandara resorts in Nha Trang and Da Lat.

TJ Grundl Hong, Six Senses Project Manager, said Vietnam has over 3,200km of coastline and many localities have beautiful beaches but sea-borne tourism is under-developed. He revealed his group‚€™s plan to build six resorts in Vietnam by 2010.

Central Da Nang city, with its socio-economic and geographic advantages, attracted a series of tourism projects in 2007 with a combined capital of hundreds of millions of USD.

According to Lam Quang Minh, director of the city‚€™s Investment Promotion Centre, four projects will be carried out in 2008.The largest of these, the 325 million USD Capital Square project by Vinacapital Commercial Centre Ltd. will be launched in this year‚€™s first quarter to build a hotel, apartments for rent, deluxe villas and an entertainment park.

The acceleration of foreign investment in the non-smoke industry, according to Ha, was the result of the door-opening process in accordance with Vietnam ‚€™s WTO commitments, with many tourism services now open wide to various economic sectors.

But the most important thing, Ha said, is ‚€œthe attractiveness of Vietnam ‚€™s investment environment thanks to political stability and many incentives for investors.‚€Ě

At a recent workshop on investment in Vietnam , Vinichai Chaemchaeng, Vice Director of the Thai Ministry of Commerce‚€™s Department of Trade Nagotiations said Vietnam ‚€™s exemption of taxes in line with its integration process has made its investment environment more attractive and opene.