The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Viet Nam November 25 signed a US$50 million loan agreement to upgrade Viet Nam’s tourism infrastructure, boost tourist spending, and create more jobs in the industry for poor and ethnic minority communities.
The amount will be used to boost tourism competitiveness in the northern provinces of Dien Bien, Lao Cai; the central province of Ha Tinh; the southern provinces of Kien Giang, Tay Ninh; and five provinces situated within the Greater Mekong Subregion economic corridors.
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% 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.
Tourism plays an increasingly important role in Viet Nam’s economy. In 2013, Viet Nam received over 7.5 million international tourists, a 10.6% increase from 2012. The sector directly contributed 4.5% to gross domestic product and sustained 2.3 million jobs last year, more than 9% of the country’s total employment.