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Son Tra Tourism Construction Plan On Hold

Under a plan drafted in May 2013 and approved in November 2016, Son Tra Mountain on the Son Tra Peninsula was designed to become a national tourism site and luxury eco-tourism resort complex by 2030. But after a meeting between the Da Nang People’s Committee and the city’s tourism association two months ago to review the Son Tra Tourism Area Development Master Plan, the former proposed to restrict or even cancel certain or all projects in the said plan for environmental and security concerns.

Officials of the Da Nang People’s Committee moved to limit construction “to areas on the peninsula below 100 metres above sea level…construction may occur up to 200 metres above sea level” and to totally stop all projects that are located in endangered areas that may likely “influence security and national defence on Son Tra Peninsula.”

In May of this year, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam ordered the city to cease all construction activities on the peninsula for further review and to gather public opinion in order to make the necessary changes to the original tourism development plan and submit a final proposal. The People’s Committee will give their new proposal to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc which if approved will cease the building of the planned tourism complex.

This is a far cry from the earlier plan to turn the peninsula into a big tourism site with 1,600 luxury hotel rooms and capable of accommodating 300,000 tourists. Perhaps this change began in February of this year when the plan was made into public and the city’s Tourism Association vehemently went against it, stating that such construction would greatly threaten the biodiversity of the area as well as its social stability and national defence.

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To note, even before the plan was approved, the city granted licenses to ten investors to develop 18 tourism projects with 5,000 rooms on the peninsula. This was according to the deputy chief of office of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Tien who later on said that such decision was overturned after going over the plan and realizing that the projects were situated on the “sensitive military areas” in the Eastern and Northeastern parts of the peninsula. Moreover, endangered langurs and “valuable herbals” are also located in these areas and therefore should be heavily protected. A construction of such massive proportions will greatly endanger a very delicate environment.

Buildings are only allowed in the West and Southwest side of the peninsula below the elevation of 100 metres where the city’s capital is located and is more suitable for infrastructure and tourism development. At present, there are 300 rooms for tourist accommodations on Son Tra Peninsula. No further rooms should be built as strongly suggested by the tourism association and more than 15,000 petitions from the people who cited the sensitive, if not critical, situation of the place.

Son Tra Peninsula is located away from the city, beautifully nestled on a 4,400 hectares of land with a balanced and peaceful, yet delicate, relationship between a large number of endangered animals, rare plants and pristine sea. It is home to over 1,300 red-shanked langurs, one of the most critically endangered creatures all over the world. It is no surprise then, if not understandable and in fact imperative, that such a protest for such a construction will arise.


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