Through the development of tourism and services, the UNESCO world heritage - Phong Nha Ke Bang has significant impact on the economy, society of Quang Binh province, contributes directly and indirectly to create the employment and increase the income and revenue in the region. The number of tourists to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park increases considerably in recent times. This is a clear evidence for the significant contribution of the national park to the tourism development of the province. From about 115.000 visitors in 2001 to 961.425 arrivals in 2011 showed that the influence of the tourism value of the national park is more and more increasing and attractive tourists.
Although the scale of the economy is not great, the shift is still slow; the Phong Nha Ke Bang economy has the positive restructuring. The proportion of service is always high and has s significant growth, of which the tourism services have developed both in the width and the depth. Through the annual statistics, the size of economy in Quang Binh (GDP) in 2001 was VND 2452.7 billion, in 2005 reached VND 4 541.2 billion and in 2010 was VND 12 439.35 billion. The proportion of GDP in economic industries shifts towards increasing the proportion of industry, service and decreasing the density of the agriculture.
The provincial economic growth during period 2001-2005 was 8.85% and 2006-2010 was 10.58%. The economic growth rate of GDP in the period 2001-2005 of service sector increased by 8.84% and 2006-2010 was 11.65%. In the service sector, the tourism accounts for the high proportion and the impact of Phong Nha Ke Bang on the tourism development is significant. The tourism continues to grow and has become a key economic sector in economy in Phong Nha Ke Bang region. The tourism infrastructure is upgraded, many tourism projects is being deployed and invested, the quality of tourism service is raised and the number of visitors increases 10-12% on average.
Along with the economic structure, the labor structure in industries and sectors has the positive shifts, increasing the labor proportion in service sector, decreasing the proportion in the agriculture, forestry, and fishery. Generally, the shift to the tourism is fatter than other industries and other sectors, on the one hand due to the demands of production and consumption in the economy, on the other hand because of the high income from tourism activities. This is the basic stimulus in the labor movement between sectors within each economic industry. Most people in Phong Nha Ke Bang region shifts from agricultural activities to services, tourism. This fits with the trend of labor movement in the demand of the economy oriented tourism development.
Although the income from tourism (hotels and restaurants) is lower than the income from the service sector in general, it is still higher than the income from agriculture –forestry. In addition, the average GDP per capita in this sector increases significantly from 2001 until now. This not only contributes to the GDP of the economy but also has important meaning in creating the jobs and raising income for people in the province in general and in Phong Nha Ke Bang region in particular.
After recognizing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July, 2002, Phong Nha Ke Bang region has attracted domestic and international investors coming to look for opportunities to exploit the tourism potential of this heritage site. Currently, there are two ODA projects deployed in Phong Nha Ke Bang including:
- Conservation and sustainable management of the natural resources in Phong Nha Ke Bang with the total invested capital of 15.77 million Euros, of which the loan capital is 4.63 million Euros, the non-refundable assistance is 8 million Euros and the reciprocal capital of Vietnam government is 3.14 million Euros.
- The sustainable tourism development in the Mekong sub-region with the invested capital of $ 2.95 million, of which the loan capital from ADB is $ 2.4 million, the reciprocal capital of Vietnam government is $ 550,000.
Besides, the number of projects of domestic investors in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is quite large. According to the statistics from 2007 to 2012, the whole province had 145 investment projects with the total registered capital of VND 8 726 269 million, of which there are 19 tourism projects with the total registered capital of VND 1 448 587 million. Among them, there are 11 projects granted investment licenses in Phong Nha Ke Bang region with the total registered capital of VND 421,549 million, including 2 large tourism projects with the invested capital of VND 259 billion. There is the Thien Duong cave tourist area of Truong Thinh Corporation with the registered capital of VND 128 billion. Currently, Zeta Plan and Investment Company is expected to invest the world-class recreational area at Phong Nha Ke Bang National park with the invested capital of $ 4 billion.
Thus, the impact of the world heritage has attracted more and more investment projects in the region. After the investment projects completed and put into the operation will contribute to the provincial GDP, increase the revenue and create more jobs, increase the income and stabilize the people’s lives in the area. Through Phong Nha Ke Bang, more and more people know about Quang Binh, thanks to this, many investors will be interested in the socio-economic situation and find the investment opportunities in Quang Binh. This is the indirect effect of Phong Nha Ke Bang to promote the economic development of the province.
The huge tourism potential of the world heritage - Phong Nha Ke Bang has been confirmed. The number of visitors increases every year from 115,000 arrivals in 2001 to 329,000 arrivals in 2004 and 921,425 visitors in 2011. The number of international visitors is increasing significantly, from 11.800 visitors in 2007 to 25,958 visitors in 2011.
In 2013, Phong Nha Ke Bang welcomed 1.2 million visitors, increasing 15% over 2012, of which the international visitors increased by 23% over the same period. In 2014, the target of provincial tourism will welcome 1.4 – 1.5 million arrivals, an increase of 15%-20% compared to 2013. At the beginning of the second quarter in 2014, the number of visitors to Phong Nha Ke Bang reaches nearly 120.000 arrivals, increasing 100% over the same period, including about 40.000 international visitors, an increase of 120% over the same period in 2013. With the important contribution of tourism in Phong Nha Ke Bang, the tourism target in 2014 of the province will not be hard to achieve.