New life for Mekong floating market

The Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang is developing eco-tourism products based on its rivers, fruit orchards, and rural sights and life, according to its Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
New life for Mekong floating market
They include Nga Bay floating market in Nga Bay town, an ecological tourism zone in Vi Thuy District and agriculture tourism in Vi Thanh city.
Do Chieu Qui, the department’s director, said the province was undertaking a 35 billion VND (1.5 million USD) project to revive Nga Bay floating market for tourism purposes.
The market would be turned into one of the province’s key river tourism products, he said.
Since the floating market was established in 1915 it was located at the meeting point of seven canals and rivers in Nga Bay town and become one of the delta’s busiest markets.
But a decade ago local authorities moved it to a new site three kilometres away to improve traffic safety at the confluence, and the market’s activities began to dwindle because of the inconvenient location.
The project to revive it is expected to be completed in 2019.
At the 145ha ecological tourism zone, several tasks have been completed, including the dredging of a 14km canal and creation of a 13ha fruit orchard, 5ha bird garden and 11ha area for breeding wild animals and freshwater aquatic species.
The zone is expected to be ready by the end of 2018, according to the department.
The department is also working with relevant agencies and district authorities to conserve and develop historic and cultural relics, including the Temple of Uncle Ho, Can Tho Party Committee base and Relics of Chuong Dien Victory.
The province has also set up community tourism sites at the Cau Duc pineapple farming area in Vi Thanh and Long Tri sweet mandarin area in Long My District and developed agricultural tourism in Vi Thanh.
Hau Giang has zoned off a 130ha eco-tourism area at the Mua Xuan Agricultural Centre in Phung Hiep District.
It also plans to develop eco-tourism at the 2,800ha Lung Ngoc Hoang Nature Wetland Reserve in Phung Hiep.
Hau Giang, located in the delta’s central part, hopes to attract 160,000 tourists a year, including 18,000 foreigners, by 2020, according to its tourism development plan.
Speaking at a meeting on August 12, the province’s Party Committee Secretary, Tran Cong Chanh, told local authorities to continue surveying sites so that appropriate tourism development plans can be made and human resources developed.
The investment to develop eco-tourism sites should be linked with the national programme to build new rural areas, he said.
The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism should monitor and provide advice during the process of creating eco-tourism products at the Mua Xuan Agricultural Centre, he said.
After two years of implementing the province Party Committee’s Resolution No. 9 on developing tourism, Hau Giang has also organised many tourism training courses for households in eco-tourism areas.
On August 3, for instance, 40 farmers in Vi Thuy District were provided training in tourism.
The trainees also visited a community tourism model in the district.
Le Quoc Chien, who has participated in a tourism training course, offers tourism services in his 1ha fruit orchard in Vi Thanh.
He grows many kinds of fruits like durian, mangosteen, jack fruit, red flesh dragon fruit, mango and guava and also has ponds for tourists to fish.
Le Minh Tam of Nga Bay town’s Nga Bay Ward developed his 5ha Burmese grape orchard into a tourism site in 2014.
It receives about 100 tourists a day, and 300-400 during the peak Burmese grape harvest season.
Tam has tied up with travel companies in HCM City and Vinh Long and Kien Giang provinces to bring tourists to his orchard, which has fruits between April and September.
“I plan to replace old Burmese grape plants with other trees like king orange and rambutan to ensure my orchard has fruits year round.”

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