The number of tourists to the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai from January-June surged by nearly 30 percent over the same period last year after the Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway opened in 2014.
Hotels and farm produce in popular destinations such as Sa Pa Town, Bac Ha Market, and Lao Cai were quickly booked and sold out due to the rising volume of vacationers, according to Lu Van Khuyen, Head of the culture-information department in Sa Pa District.
Bac Ha Market, for example, saw a year-on-year increase of 20-30 percent in the number of visitors.
Night markets are now open during weekends to meet tourist demand. The Bac Ha District also launched promotion programmes and developed ecological tourism along the Chay River.
Chairman of the Sa Pa District’s People’s Committee Trinh Xuan Truong said the tourism sector had forecast the surge and mapped out plans to cope with the expansion, but they were too small and have yet to meet the increasing demand.
Yet this is a good sign to promote the sale of local farm products, develop manufacturing and increase local incomes, he said.
To take advantage of the expressway linking Ha Noi capital with Lao Cai province, local authorities plan to improve infrastructure and services, expand areas for fruit cultivation and animal livestock, ensure food hygiene and safety and open packaging and souvenir stores.
As an important component of the Kunming-Lao Cai-Ha Noi-Hai Phong road corridor, the Noi Bai-Lao Cai highway is a key part of a cooperation programme between Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China.