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Potential for sea and island ecotourism development in Cà Mau


   Cà Mau is a province in the southern pole of the country, three sides bordered with the sea with the coastline of 254 km, accounting for 7.8% of the total coastline of the country. The Cà Mau sea area is about 80,000 km2, one of four key fishery fields of the whole country. Particularly, Cà Mau Cape wetland has been recognized by the Government as an important site for nature conservation, conservation of historical relics and national defense and security protection. On 26/5/2009, Cà Mau Cape National Park was recognized by UNESCO as the world biosphere reserve. On 13/12/2012, it was recognized by RAMSAR Convention as the 2088th Ramsar site in the world and the 5th Ramsar site in Viet Nam. With advantages of natural conditions, Cà Mau can become an area attracting international investments, including ecotourism and community tourism that are important investment orientations. 

Cà Mau Cape symbol 


   1. Sea and island ecotourism potential in Cà Mau

   Mangrove ecotourism

   Cà Mau Cape National Park has an area of 41,862 ha, with typical mangrove forest ecosystem of Việt Nam and the region. Tourists will appreciate marvelous view of Avicennia and Rhizophora forests, etc. and get a sight of many rare and specious fauna species in the area. These are the mangroves with prominent flora plantations of high values of biodiversity, natural landscape and environment. Fauna are diverse with many waterbird species such as storks, spot-billed pelican, painted stork (giang sen), Numenius madagascariensis (rẽ mỏ cong hông nâu), white ibis (quắm trắng)... and reptiles such as flower lizards, pythons landmark, leopard python, viper and reptiles such as water monitor (kỳ đà hoa), Python moiurus Linnaeus (trăn mốc), Python reticulatus (trăn gấm), Viridovipera vogeli (rắn lục miền Nam), Coelognathus radiata (rắn sọc dưa), Crocodylus porosus (cá sấu nước lợ), Cuora amboinensis (rùa hộp lưng đen), Malayemys subtrijuga (rùa ba gờ), etc. There are also mammals with high population such as bangal rat (chuột dúi bengan), Herpestes javanicus (cầy lỏn), Lutrogale perspicillata (rái cá họng trắng), water monkey (khỉ nước), black bat, particularly Macaca fascicularis (khỉ đuôi dài), etc. Underwater is the population of diverse aquatic animals with many fish and prawn species such as mullet (cá đối), goby (cá bống), threadfin (cá nhụ), Litopenaneus vannamei (tôm thẻ), Litopenaneus monodon (tôm sú), Macrobrachium rosenbergii (tôm càng xanh), etc. and many other species.

   In addition, Cà Mau is an attractive destination for tourists to visit the national marker coordinate (Road marker number 0, the endpoint of the country), which is a very special location for Vietnamese. This has the symbol of Cà Mau Cape; tourists can see the Cà Mau Cape from the forest view pavilion, visit the revolutionary forest village model, etc.

   Tourism in Cà Mau islands

   Cà Mau has three islands: Hòn Khoai, Hòn Chuối and Hòn Đá Bạc. These islands have pristine and unique characteristics of the nature. Cà Mau islands are not far away from terrestrial land, have favorable conditions for island ecotourism development. With green primitive forests in the island, rocky slope trails hanging from the golden sandy beach to the rocky cliff leading to the mountain peak, underground water dissolving into small springs, supplying fresh water for tourists, particularly, Hòn Khoai Island is a famous historical relic with the revolution carried out by teacher Phan Ngọc Hiển on 13/12/1940 within the Nam Kỳ Uprising climax in 1940 against the French colony. On the top of Hòn Khoai, there is a lighthouse, a building constructed by the French in 1902 which is still operating and particularly a spot for marine ships to trace for international maritime direction. The light in Hòn Khoai Island guided “no speed” boats to travel against waves to meet weapon resupply ships for the Southern revolution during the war time.

   Also located in Cà Mau islands, Hòn Đá Bạc, with smooth rocks, mysterious seaside underground caves and forest floor covered with trails is being invested to become an ecological tourism island. Natural landscape in Hòn Đá Bạc Island is featured of primitive features with naturally stack-up rocks, interwoven among rocks is the diverse flora system with green old trees. In here, tourists can visit the museum to discover the achievement of CM12 spy plan, a famous victory of the southern end of the country, a national historical relic and see the “National security defense” statue. Particularly, 184 fishery group, Kien Vang… in Hòn Đá Bạc are mangrove conservation and development sites, a harmonious combination between economic development with primitive and regeneration forestry development models, playing important roles in scientific research, nature conservation and ecotourism development. In addition, Cà Mau forest garden has an artificial bird garden and watery birds fly to reside in the city, becoming a recreational site for urban residents to be close to nature with typical landscapes of the province.

   In addition to Cà Mau Cape ecotourism site – Khai Long beach – Ong Trang nature conservation site (Ong Trang dune) is also an attractive site. Ong Trang dune area has a very spectacular natural ecological landscape, is a natural accretion area, with typical mangrove biodiversity. Together with the accretion, mangroves form naturally with very diverse fishery resources. Ong Trang Nature Reserve, a Ramsar site, is very appropriate for scientific study activities and findings on typical coastal mangrove ecosystems.

   2. Aim and solutions for sea and island ecotourism development in Cà Mau in international integration

   On 7/7/2009, Cà Mau Provincial People’s Committee approved the sustainable development program of Cà Mau province period 2009-2015 and vision to 2020. Of which, there’s a section on Cà Mau tourism development planning with the target that Cà Mau becomes a top attractive destination of the region by 2015; turns into an important destination of the country and is referred more in the world and regional tourism map by 2020 with ecotourism, recreational tourism and exploitation of community tourism with provincial specific characteristics. To implement the above target, the province plans basic investment solutions for the development of Cà Mau ecotourism:

   Focusing state budget investments (central and local) towards holistic, targeted and focal approach as a foundation for promoting the development of ecotourism in the province; carrying out the socialization of ecotourism by encouraging and creating favorable conditions for domestic and foreign stakeholders to involve in tourism activities in different forms; having policies and solutions to create funds for ecotourism development, mobilizing all funding to address investment demands, ensuring tourism GDP growth.

   Developing the system of accommodation and tourism service works; enhancing quality of tourism human resources; developing the system of recreational and entertainment facilities; studying to revise tourism sites towards adapting to climate change; restoring cultural – historical – revolutionary relics and developing festivals and traditional craft villages for tourism; establishing and developing agencies responsible for forming, propaganda and development of environmentally friendly tourism image of Cà Mau; community ecotourism development, agriculture tourism, etc.

   To develop sea and island ecotourism development in international integration, in addition to current potentials, in the upcoming time, Cà Mau will invest in developing many areas such as transportation infrastructure, technical infrastructure, tourism service system to create appropriate development conditions with potentials endured by the nature, making Cà Mau become an important ecotourism site in the Mekong Delta region as well as nationwide■

Cao Văn Khiêm
Viet Nam Sea and Island Project Management Board

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