Phu Quoc attractive to investors despite insufficient infrastructure
Phu Quoc Island off mainland Kien Giang Province is becoming a hot destination for hospitality investment in spite of its poor infrastructure.
Nearly 400 local and international enterprises are looking to invest in a range of projects on the island including hotels, resorts and tourism sites. Some investors have received approval for their projects, while others are still in the research and development phase.
At a seminar entitled "Phu Quoc Pearl Island: a hot destination for cooperation and investment" held last week by the Kien Giang Department of Tourism and Youth Counseling Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Van Ha Phong, the province's vice chairman, said the number of potential projects surpasses the total area available for construction, which totals 5,000-6,000 hectares.
Many international investors have recently visited the island and expressed their desire to invest in projects comparable to international tourism sites worth billions of dollars. According to Phong, an investor proposed a project worth US$30bil that authorities are currently examining.
The Government wants to make Phu Quoc Vietnam an international deluxe tourism destination by 2020. The Government is examining the possibility of making the island a special tourism region in order to establish an international casino complex.
While most experts at the seminar agreed that Phu Quoc had undeniable advantages, they were also concerned about the island's lack of infrastructure.
Fourteen projects spanning 620 hectares and capitalized at VND2.4bil have been granted investment licenses on the island. If all of the projects are carried out simultaneously, water and power shortages are likely.
Investors also worry that simultaneously occurring projects will negatively impact general zoning and strain local capacity. Additionally, the island's roads are not up to par and the international airport is minuscule compared to the number of travelers expected to arrive.
Economic experts Tran Du Lich and Tran Dinh Thien said Phu Quoc would need a clear plan for development from the start. "Singapore and Hawaii should serve as exemplary models for the island," said Thien.
Phong agrees that the island has weak infrastructure, poor administration and low management capacity. He is requesting cooperation and support from enterprises in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam and the rest of the country to solve the problems at hand.
The issues with roads, power, water, construction and the airport are being addressed by the island and will be up to standard by 2011. In the near future, Phu Quoc Airport will have the capacity to receive international flights.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest and most populous island, spans more than 561 square kilometers including 150 kilometers of coastline and has 85,000 inhabitants.
The island is 500 kilometers southeast of Thailand, 700 kilometers east of Malaysia and 1,000 kilometers from Singapore.
These destinations can be reached from the island via an hour-and-a-half flight. Phu Quoc is also near the southwest gateway to Cambodia's Kep city and Sihanouk Port.