Ca Mau is the southernmost coastal province of Vietnam. Boasting a special location with three sides bordering the sea, Ca Mau is the sole location in Vietnam’s mainland which enables people to watch sunrise from the east and sunset in the west.
In addition, for Vietnamese, Ca Mau is a sacred land that they wish to set foot to at least once in life.
Therefore, the province’s tourism brand is built based on its geographical location along with cultural activities of people living by rivers in the southwestern region.
Overcoming many challenges, Ca Mau’s tourism has made recent strides and left an impression on every tourist.
The changing of the province’s tourism will be delivered in stories sharing the same theme of creating a breakthrough for the southernmost province’s tourism.
Being among four major localities in terms of economy in the Mekong Delta region including Can Tho city, An Giang, Kien Giang and Ca Mau provinces, Ca Mau has become a famous tourist destination for those at home and abroad.
Potential and achievements
Favoured by Mother Nature, the province boasts lush forest, sea, mangrove and freshwater swamp forests. Hence, it has rich aquatic resources, which creates favourable conditions to develop eco-tourism, community based-tourism, culinary tourism, and cultural tourism.
Famous tourist destinations of Ca Mau include a monument dedicated to late President Ho Chi Minh, Ca Mau Culture-Tourism Park, Khai Long and Hon Da Bactourism sites, and Them River and Dam ThiTuong ecotourism sites, natural bird parks, community based-tourism spot at Ca Mau Natural Reserve and the districts of U Minh and Tran Van Thoi, among others.
In 2009, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recognised Hon Da Bac as a national historical relic.
The Nghinh Ong (whale worshipping festival) is held on Doc River from the 14th to the 16th day of the second lunar month annually in Song Doc township of Tran Van Thoi district. It is a long-standing festival of fishermen in Ca Mau to pray for favourable weather, peace, national security, and safe voyages with bumper catch.
Ca Mau is also one of Vietnam’s largest areas for aquatic resources, with potential for marine economy, aquaculture and tourism development. The province is home to over 100,000 ha of cajuput and mangrove forests which were recognised by UNESCO as a world’s biosphere reserve.
Local authorities have launched trips to forests at the Ca Mau National Park going through Rach Mui channel, and an oyster farm in Rach Vam channel, among others.
At present, cross-forest tours are a new tourism product that can be found in Ca Mau only.
Furthermore, the province has successfully built collective trademarks for Rach Goc dried shrimp of Ngoc Hien district, dried fish of U Minh district, Cai Doi Vam dried potato of Phu Tan district, and Nam Can crab, to name a few, contributing to local culinary tourism.
Struggling to make a different
Notably, along with An Giang, Ca Mau is one of the two Mekong Delta provinces included in a master plan to develop the Ca Mau National Tourism Site among the country’s 46 tourism sites, which was approved by the Prime Minister.
However, it poses a major challenge to diversify tourism products to lure visitors to travel here more than once, and at the same time, to avoid overlaps with products of other localities in the region.
For An Giang, it would be spiritual tourism, while Can Tho city is famous for waterway tourism. Bac Lieu is known for economic development works like wind farms and high-technology shrimp farms.
And for Ca Mau, the province’s typical tourism products should be tours of sacred destinations associated with its location as the southernmost area, community-based tourism and cross-forest tours.
Vice Chairman of the Ca Mau People’s Committee Tran Hong Quan affirmed that the province’s tourism brand is being devised aligning with its geographical location as the southernmost province and activities immersed with local culture.
Along with bolstering investment in ecotourism and community based-tourism, the province also eyes the development of sea and island tourism, cultural and spiritual tourism, resort tourism and shopping activity.
Statistics of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism showed that in the first 10 months of 2019, Ca Mau welcomed over 1.3 million tourists, a year-on-year rise of 15 percent. Of the figure, foreign tourist arrivals increased 4 percent while the number of domestic visitors surged over 15 percent compared to the same period last year./.