Binh Thuan: A desire to take off “a dry, difficult, miserable” land into an unforgettable destination

19/10/2023, 15:05

BTO – Since the special events of the two sections of North-South Expressways Phan -Thiet - Dau Giay and Vinh Hao – Phan Thiet came into operation, throngs of tourists flocked to Binh Thuan province.

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Secretary of Binh Thuan Provincial Party committee Duong Van An.

1. Secretary of Binh Thuan Provincial Party committee Duong Van An, and his miracle of drought mitigation to the barren land of Binh Thuan.

Reporter: It can be said that the complete transport infrastructure has so far paved the way for Binh Thuan’s development. Thereafter, how does the province take use of the advantage, Sir?

 It is known that the two sections of Eastern North-South Expressways Vinh Hao – Phan Thiet and Phan Thiet – Dau Giay are the lifeline that has significant meaning and are the driving force to promote the province's socio-economic development.

From then onwards, the effectiveness of the expressway is seen quite clearly day by day. Turning to tourism, it is clearly seen that the shorter commute time from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet City has significantly attracted a large number of tourists to Binh Thuan, contributing to the strong growth of tourism.

Many investors have quickly realized Binh Thuan’s potential as long as the expressway passes through and is adjacent to the southern key economic region, which is the gateway to the sea of the Southern Central Highlands region. When it comes to more favorable traffic conditions, several fields of agricultural product, trade, services, real estate, healthcare, education, culture, etc will be also developed.

To seize that opportunity, Binh Thuan is accelerating the construction progress of industrial zones and clusters already in planning, especially Son My 1 Industrial Park, Tan Duc Industrial Park, and Son My 2 Industrial Park; planning economic zones and high-tech zones in a long-term vision.

In terms of the tourism sector, the province is "shaping" and re-planning its tourism space, calling for capable, reputable, and experienced investors to invest in attractive, and large-scale tourism and entertainment projects.

Binh Thuan also intends to invest in transportation infrastructure connecting with 3 important traffic axes (highway - national highway - coastal road), such as Ham Kiem - Tien Thanh road, Tan Minh - Son My road, DT711 road, etc. At the same time, it is necessary to speed up the progress of solving the province's affairs so that the Ministry of Transport will soon start the Project construction on renovating and upgrading National Highway 28B connecting Binh Thuan with the provinces in the Southern Central Highlands region, promoting the development of the tourism triangle regions of Ho Chi Minh City - Da Lat - Phan Thiet.

Particularly, it is expected that at the end of this year or early next year - at the latest, the province will start construction on the Phan Thiet Airport project (civil aviation category); Next, the locality will put efforts on Son My General Port, facilitating to complete the synchronous transport system of road - sea – air. Then, the province probably touches highly-developed status thanks to "open the sky", and "open to the sea" models in the near future.

Reporter: Binh Thuan’s land has been inherent in the 3 words “dry, difficult, and miserable” for a long time. So, Over the past time, how has the province turned deserted, sunny, and windy lands into rich agricultural areas and strong development of renewable energy?

Binh Thuan is known as the land of the lowest rainfall in the country, a place where "fields are dry, the grass is burning, water is waiting".

To "alleviate the drought", many generations of leaders of Binh Thuan province have taken advantage of the central support source, while being self-reliant, scrimping on the budget, mobilizing more people's strength to build dams, water storage lakes, canals, and irrigation ditches.

To date, the province has built 209 reservoirs, dams, pumping stations, and water supply canals with a total capacity of more than 400 million m3. The total length of the irrigation canal system is more than 1,800 km, a longer distance from Binh Thuan to Mong Cai.

The irrigation canal system is "networked" together, connecting water reservoirs, and creating the flexibility of the entire system. Thanks to that, from a dry province with a very weak ability to supply water for agricultural production, Binh Thuan has now proactively sourced water for production.

Wherever the water flows, the green color can be easily found on rice fields, crops, and especially dragon fruit gardens. The fields and gardens that were once not enough to support farmers, but now help them earn hundreds of millions of dong each year. Many farmers escaped poverty and became well-off.

It can be said that water problem-solving has created changes in the arid land in Binh Thuan, which is considered a miracle.

Binh Thuan also has a lot of sun and wind. The province has turned these natural disadvantages into potential for developing the renewable energy industry, such as solar power and wind power. Currently, the province has 36 wind and solar power plants with a total installed capacity of 1,407 MW in commercial operation.

Besides, many offshore wind power investors started registering to invest in Binh Thuan such as the Thang Long Wind project of Enterprize Energy Group (3,400 MW, total investment capital of 11.9 billion USD); Tuy Phong wind power project of Orsted and T&T Group (4,600 MW, 15 billion USD); AMI AC Binh Thuan wind power project of AMI AC Renewable Company (1,800 MW, 5 billion USD)

The provincial authorities always create the most favorable conditions for investors to access land, lake surface, and sea space to invest in developing renewable energy projects, contributing to turning the energy industry into a main economic sector of the province in the coming time.

Reporter: With efforts to turn difficulties and challenges into potential and advantages, what are the local aspirations for the future, Mr. An?

Previously, Binh Thuan was only known for its difficulties, a "dry, difficult, miserable" place; Weak and inconsistent socio-economic infrastructure; lack of human resources, and so on. However, with its new position and potential, the locality is now known as a province with great potential, room for development, and an attractive destination for investors.

We have the desire to help Binh Thuan develop strongly in marine economy, energy, and tourism, becoming a growth pole of the South Central Coast region.

The desire to make Binh Thuan truly a place worth living, with wealthy and happy people. Also, we aim to make Binh Thuan an attractive and safe destination for tourists so that it will be a "worth-visiting" land forever", as Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh once reminded in the ceremony of 30th Anniversary of the re-establishment of Binh Thuan province.

2. Maintaining the “tripod” for further development

Reporter: Looking back at the previous half term, the country faced many internal and external challenges. In your opinion, what directions should the locality focus on in the rest of the term to materialize the goal in the 13th Party Congress that Vietnam will become a developed and high-income country by 2045?

The first period 2020-2025 term has faced many difficulties and challenges, so the results of implementing the province's socio-economic development goals and targets are lower than the Provincial Party Congress Resolution. For the remaining journey, Binh Thuan must try harder, be more determined, and develop socioeconomics faster to compensate for the decline in the first years of the term.

First of all, the province will promote growth, creating a "tripod" to develop the three economic pillars of industry, tourism, and agriculture harmoniously and sustainably.

For industry, the province maintains the production efficiency of the electricity industry. Currently, the province has 48 factories with an installed capacity of 6,794 MW that have produced commercial electricity, with output in 2022 reaching 24 billion kWh.

We continue to implement power plant projects according to Power Plan VII and Power Plan VIII. Recently, the province approved the investment policy of the Son My LNG Terminal project with a total investment capital of more than 1.3 billion USD.

This is one of the largest LNG gas terminal projects in Vietnam to supply LNG for two gas power plant projects. These are Son My 2 (approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade) and Son My 1 (under investment negotiation), with a total installed capacity of 4,500 MW, forming the largest gas power complex in Vietnam.

According to the Prime Minister's approval of Power Plan VIII, offshore wind power projects will be approved for investment soon.

Besides the energy industry, the province also focuses on developing processing, manufacturing, and supporting industries, continuing to develop planned industrial clusters.

Tourism which is identified as a key economic sector of Binh Thuan, was controlled after the COVID-19 epidemic. Besides, the province has implemented many measures to restore this industry.

The province has proactively hosted the 2023 National Tourism Year with more than 200 diverse and rich activities, creating motivation for the tourism industry to recover soon.

In addition, the province also focuses on orienting tourism businesses to restructure their business models, improve service quality, and exploit outstanding advantages such as beautiful beaches and dunes; and historical and cultural relics; the fresh, sunny, and windy climate to develop different tourism products (such as marine tourism and sports, MICE tourism, resort, health care, cultural tourism...). Because of that, Binh Thuan's tourism industry has recovered quickly and effectively.

Regarding agriculture, there is still a lot of space. The province focuses on sustainable, modern development with high-added value, creating a value chain: of production, processing, and consumption with advantageous products (such as dragon fruit, fish sauce, shrimp, and seafood...) combining tourism and agriculture.

3. "Step aside" if there is no brave person.

Cadre work is considered "the main key" but in the past half term, besides the fact that many officials were disciplined, there is numerous officials who are afraid of making mistakes and pushing responsibility. Is there any solution that can both motivate officials to work and avoid the costly lesson of "losing both State assets and officials"?

Recently, many central and local conferences and forums have discussed the issue of officials being afraid of making mistakes, avoiding, and dumping responsibility. This situation has greatly affected the process of performing tasks of state agencies, delaying work, and causing frustration. This is also an obstacle to the socio-economic development of the country in general and the locality in particular.

The Provincial Party Standing Committee has organized many activities to share, encourage, and remind officials and party members to further improve their sense of responsibility in performing tasks and work. We encourage each officer and civil servant to try harder, one by one, little by little, to overcome difficulties. We also tell them that, no matter what we do, if we prioritize collective interests and people's interests, it will be hard to make mistakes.

Even if there are some errors during the consulting process, the consulting staff having pure motives and purposes, with no negative interests, also be approved fairly by authorities.

The Party and citizens have placed a heavy responsibility on our shoulders, we must carry it. If we don't have enough confidence and bravery, "step aside and let someone else do it". In addition, we also replaced several leaders and managers who could not fulfill their duties.

In 2022, after the epidemic was basically controlled, Binh Thuan province focused on economic recovery and development, with intra-provincial product (GRDP) increasing by 7.75% compared to 2021.
Socio-economic fields grew steadily, especially the three pillars of industry - tourism - agriculture. In particular, the province's tourism recovered very impressively, the total visitor number of visitors to Binh Thuan reached more than 5.7 million, and revenue increased more than 3.2 times in 2021.
Entering 2023, although the general situation is still difficult, Binh Thuan maintains its growth momentum. The province's GRDP increased by 7.76% (ranked 11/63 localities).
The province's tourism industry is growing strongly, welcoming nearly 4.5 million visitors (an increase of 86.36% over the same period in 2022); Revenue reached more than 11,300 billion VND (an increase of 2.52 times compared to the same period in 2022), ranking in the "top" of localities with the highest number of tourists and tourism industry revenue in Vietnam.

TRANSLATED BY MY THIEN & UYEN LINH

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