Tourism facilities continue to be expanded. Up to now, the province has 328 accommodation establishments, including 20 rated 2-star or higher. Many international tourism companies are doing business in the province. The “Returning to the origin” programme rotationally hosted by Lao Cai, Yen Bai and Phu Tho provinces since 2005, has created a good impression on tourists visiting the three provinces. International cooperation has also been enhanced after the province signed agreements with Yunnan province (China), Aquitanne region (France), international organisations and nongovernmental organisations. These results reflect the development of Lao Cai tourism industry after nearly 20 years.
In 2010, the province expects to serve 820,000 holidaymakers and obtain VND700 billion of revenues, thus ensuring 2,500 permanent jobs. By 2015, the province will serve 1.5 million visitors. To realise this goal, Lao Cai will diversify Vietnam tour products and services in line with sustainable development objectives. Besides, tourism development is attached to national security and defence and social order, especially as Lao Cai shares the national border with Yunnan province, China.
According to the tourism development plan for 2010 - 2020, Lao Cai will preserve the cultural identity of ethnic groups, protect the ecological environment to tap cultural, ecological and community tourism, and quickly create new attractions. It will set up international routes to attract holidaymakers from Southwest China, connecting with Vietnamese beaches like Da Nang, Nha Trang and Vung Tau to diversify Vietnam tour products. It will use all available investment capital sources to build central attractions like Sapa, Bac Ha and Lao Cai, develop human resources, build modern infrastructure, protect the landscapes and environment, and preserve cultural and ethnic identities to make Lao Cai a commercial - tourism centre in northwest Vietnam.
To realise these goals, Lao Cai needs to enact specific solutions. Accordingly, it will outline a master plan for tourism development funded by France’s Aquitane province, continue detailed planning for the expansion of Sapa and Bac Ha tourist sites; protect and develop forests, natural landscapes, historical and cultural vestiges to develop cultural, ecological and community tourism; and improve the quality of human resources working in the hospitality industry, including State authorities, companies and tour guides.
On the other hand, the province will introduce its attractions and potential on mass media, particularly the “Returning to the origin” programme hosted by Lao Cai, Yen Bai and Phu Tho provinces, and expand regional cooperative links to create local Vietnam tours. In addition, it will attract domestic and foreign investors to develop Vietnam tourism products to fully tap local potential.