The Prime Minister has approved the general master plan for the development for the Sapa National Tourism Area in northern Lao Cai province to 2030, with a goal of developing unique and high-quality tourism products and attracting 5.2 million visitors.
The tourism area covers all of Sapa district, including a 1,500 ha core area. The plan calls for the development of Sapa and four tourism divisions: Ban Khoang - Ta Giang Phin (Ban Khoang and Ta Giang Phinh communes), Ta Phin (Ta Phin commune), Ta Van - Seo My Ty (Ta Van commune), and Thanh Kim (Thanh Kim commune), with a connection to Bat Xat district.
Sapa’s major tourism products are sightseeing and ecotourism as well as resorts.
The plan will focus on developing unique tourism products for enjoying natural landscapes and the cultural identities of local people.
Tourism programs include Sapa - the land of hiking tourism and Sapa - the land of experiences and exploring traditional culture, and conquering Mount Fansipan, “The Roof of Indochina”, Ky Quan San and Nhiu Cu San Peaks, and Ta Xua Cloud Paradise.
Other tourism products include spiritual tourism to pagodas and temples in the Mount Fansipan cable car recreation complex, spiritual relic sites, monuments, traditional cultural festivals, sightseeing and shopping, sale of agricultural goods in border areas, environmental education, and adventure sports.
Sapa will develop an ecosystem connected to environmental education at the Hoang Lien National Garden in Sapa district, the Bat Xat Natural Conservation Area in Bat Xat district, community tourism sites in ethnic minority villages such as Cat Cat, Lao Chai, Den, Nam Cang and Sai in Sapa district, Lung Po II, Xeo, Sang Ma Sao and Den Sang in Bat Xat district, and sightseeing places such as Muong Hoa Valley, Bac Waterfall, Love Waterfall, and Ta Phin Cave in Sapa district and Thien Sinh Bridge, Lung Po Flagpole, and Muong Vi Cave in Bat Xat district.
By 2020 Sapa’s tourism area is to meet the relevant criteria and be recognized as a national tourism area.
Prior to 2030 the area will become a national and international-level resort and cultural tourism center with modern infrastructure and diverse, unique, and high-quality products that are competitive against other countries in the region.
Sapa plans to welcome 2 million arrivals by 2020 and 5.2 million by 2030.
Investment in Sapa’s tourism continues to grow. The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has approved a project connecting the Noi Bai - Lao Cai Expressway and Sapa town, with capital of VND2.5 trillion ($112.5 million).
The project will build a four-lane provincial road passing through Sapa and Bat Xat districts and Lao Cai city and upgrade existing National Highway No. 4D.
The project kicked off in February and is estimated to be completed by early 2019.
MoT also decided to invest in Lao Cai Airport sooner than previously planned. With capital of VND5.8 trillion ($261 million), construction will begin at the end of this year be completed by late 2018.
The airport will have a capacity of 560,000 passengers annually, which will triple over the subsequent decade.