$50 million loan to go to improvements in five provinces in GMS corridor.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Vietnamese Government have signed a $50 million loan agreement to upgrade Vietnam’s tourism infrastructure, boost tourist spending, and create more jobs in the industry for poor and ethnic minority communities.
According to Mr. Tomoyuki Kimura, ADB’s Country Director for Vietnam, tourism development projects are an effective way of creating jobs, developing workplace skills, and reducing poverty. “A core goal of this project is to promote inclusive economic growth by creating income-generating opportunities to benefit poor and ethnic minorities, and women in particular,” he said.
Tourism plays an increasingly important role in Vietnam’s economy. In 2013 it welcomed over 7.5 million international tourists, a 10.6 per cent increase against 2012. The sector directly contributed 4.5 per cent to GDP and employed 2.3 million people last year, more than 9 per cent of the country’s workforce.
The project aims to boost tourism competitiveness in Dien Bien, Ha Tinh, Kien Giang, Lao Cai, and Tay Ninh - five provinces situated within the Greater Mekong Sub-region economic corridor. Upgrades to 45 kilometers of rural roads will open access to tourist attractions in under-developed areas with large ethnic minority populations. More than 30,000 people will benefit from better access to markets and social services, while environmental conditions at tourist sites will be improved.
Projects in the five provinces are expected to lift annual tourism revenue to $480 million by 2019, from $190 million in 2012, helping to create 85,000 additional tourism-related jobs, about 60 per cent of which will go to women. The project will also support regional cooperation and integration by helping Vietnam implement regional tourism standards and promote multi-country tour circuits.