On November 25, in Hanoi, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and State Bank of Vietnam signed a loan agreement worth US $50 million to improve the infrastructure of Mekong River Delta tourism, promote tourism spending, and create jobs in tourism industry for the poor and the ethnic minorities. Tourism plays an increasingly important role in Vietnam economy. In 2013, Vietnam welcomed over 7.5 million international tourists, an increase of 10.6% compared with that in 2012. The tourism sector directly contributes 4.5% to the gross domestic product and creates 2.3 million jobs in the last year, accounting for more than 9% of total employment in the country.
At the signing ceremony, Mr. Tomoyuki Kimura, National Director in Vietnam, representing the ADB said, the Mekong Delta tourism development projects are effective means to create jobs, develop employment skills and reduce poverty. The core objective of this project is to promote equitable economic growth through the creation of income generating opportunities to bring benefits to the poor, ethnic minorities, and especially women. The goal of the project is to contribute to the development of infrastructure for tourism, protection of natural and cultural heritages of Vietnam to support Vietnam tourism industry in five provinces of Dien Bien, Lao Cai, Ha Tinh, Tay Ninh, and Kien Giang, to promote and attract international tourists, to develop society economy, and to reduce poverty. These provinces are located in the economic corridor of expanded Mekong Sub-region.
The project will upgrade 45 km of rural roads for accessing to new tourist attractions Mekong River Delta underdeveloped areas with a large number of ethnic minorities. More than 30,000 people will get benefit from easier accessing to markets and social services, and the environmental conditions at the tourist attractions will be improved. Projects in five provinces are expected to increase annual revenues by tourism to US $ 480 million in 2019 compared with US $ 190 million in 2012, creating 85,000 new jobs related to Vietnam tourism development, among which 60% are women. The project will also help to promote cooperation and regional integration by supporting Vietnam in the implementation of regional tourism standards and promoting transnational tourism programs. The project has a total capital investment of US $55.08. Particularly, ADB lent US $50 million with the lending duration of 25 year, including 5-year grace period, interest rate of 2% per year during this time. Reciprocal capital in the country is about equivalent to 5.08 million dollars from the central state and local budget. The project is conducted in 5 year from 2014 to 2019.
The project consists of four period:
Period 1: investing in upgrading and improve infrastructure and main routes to tourist centers, some cultural exchange center, and tourist information.
Period 2: improve sanitation conditions in tourist areas near the border.
Period 3: improve the administrative ability to boost and manage the comprehensive tourism development.
Period 4: compliment project effectively and manageable.