Moc Chau welcomed around 350,000 visitors in 2011, a 30% increase over the previous year, bringing the district's total revenue to VND 150 billion, 35% more than the same period last year. The district has attracted interest from both visitors and travel agents through its many cultural events, as well as community and agricultural tourism. Local visitors to the area come mainly from Hanoi and the northern provinces, while most of the foreign tourists are European. Moc Chau is a main tourist site in the north which has received support from central research centres to complete a general zoning plan for tourism.
Despite significant progress, tourism in Moc Chau still has some shortcomings. The major issue is that the tourism products are monotonous and not very competitive. This is due to the lack of a sound general zoning plan detailing steps and measures to tap the potential of the locality’s natural environment and its other advantages, which requires the professional knowledge and experience of State management units and enterprises, as well as public awareness. Moc Chau district and its tourism sector's current infrastructure do not meet the demands of modern tourism, primarily because of a shortage of financial resources and ineffective investment attraction. In addition to the lack of funding and professional staff, promoting tourism has not been fostered and, as a result, travel agents and visitors, especially foreigners, do not know about the area.
To reach the full potential of Moc Chau, making it a national tourist site and a highlight of the northwest contributing to economic and tourism development in Son La province, the local hospitality sector has priotised creating highly competitive products based on the area's strengths, which include cultural, ecological and adventure tourism.
Moc Chau possesses a unique and diversified culture of varied ethnic groups, which is attractive to tourists. Son La also has impressive mountains and geological landscapes with diverse ecosystems characterised by cool weather and the Da River, which create favourable conditions for ecological tours. To live up the area's potential, local authorities have conducted surveys to collect statistics and classify tourism resources to establish a general zoning plan for the district and detailed plans for tourism routes and destinations. They have also mobilised sectors at all levels, as well as enterprises and communities, to participate in the planning process, from its conception to its implementation.
Moc Chau has also devised a strategy for attracting investment, focusing on Chieng Di village, Van Ho commune, Ban Ang pine forest, the Dai Yem waterfall, and the Ban On cave system, as well as farms, tea field hills, dairy and tea processing enterprises and ethnic minority villages.
The key to effectively implementing this strategy for managing investment and natural resources for sustainable tourism and development is human resources. In the future, the local hospitality sector will focus on improving the quality of human resources training and enhancing their qualifications, such as foreign language and computing skills, as well as the cultural and social knowledge of those working in the field.
It is also necessary to focus on advertising tourism by creating recogniseable trademarks to promote Moc Chau to both domestic and foreign visitors. This requires capital investment as well as reforms in ways to attract holidaymakers and travel agents.
In 2012 and beyond, Moc Chau – Son La expects to welcome more visitors and draw the interest of investors and travel businesses to improve infrastructure and create attractive tourism products that will encourage visitors to journey to the northwestern region.
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