At a recent workshop on Da Nang’s development, Tran Dinh Thien, former Head of the Vietnam Economics Institute, introduced two concepts – the cities that are worth living in and the cities that are worth visiting.
Da Nang is a wonderful place for people to visit. However, it also needs to be a livable city as well. To do this, Da Nang needs to re-position and renovate itself to catch up with the world and become creative. Da Nang needs to become a national creativity and innovation center.
These are absolutely within the reach of Da Nang. Thien said the city has the ability to overcome constraints to change its look and develop strongly. This can be seen in figures.
Its GRDP has increased by 8 times (comparative price 2010); GRDP per capita by 8.34 times, from $502 to $4,171; the number of businesses (2020) increased by 2.7 times; the number of FDI projects increased from two (2000) to 133 (2019). The number of tourists increased by 55 times ($8.7 million in 2019).
Luong Hoai Nam, a member of the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), also affirmed that Da Nang is the best destination for tourists in Vietnam. Da Nang is a lovely city, and has one of the most beautiful beaches in the region and the world, as well as Ngu Hanh Son Mountains and Ba Na.
The city is also leading the country in tourism ecosystem, which no other city really has. This explained why Da Nang was in the No1 position when TAB built criteria for destination competitiveness in 2021.
With these great advantages, Da Nang has made the correct decision when developing tourism as its key industry. However, Nam commented, if other localities’ tourism can contribute 9 percent to the country’s GDP, Da Nang needs to exploit every opportunity and potential to obtain a higher growth rate, about 15 percent.
The expert noted that Da Nang’s comeback seems to be a bit later than other tourism destinations, such as Nha Trang and Phu Quoc, because Da Nang has been more cautious in tourism reopening. However, the city is still leading the country in the recovery of domestic tourism.
Nam thinks that Vietnam should draw up a plan targeting ultra-wealthy people, and Da Nang should also go this way.
It is necessary to clarify for whom Da Nang is worth visiting. Since Vietnam still doesn’t have a tourism ecosystem for ultra-wealthy, it doesn’t have VIP helicopters and medical helicopters. Meanwhile, the amount of money spent by the ultra-wealthy is much higher than other tourists.
Worth living in
In recent years, Da Nang has been praised by many people as a livable city. However, according to Vo Tri Thanh, Director of the Institute of Branding and Competition Strategy, Da Nang is just a city worth visiting.
But a place worth visiting doesn’t mean it is livable. Da Nang, with sea, mountain and spiritual culture, has a lot of advantages and potential like Singapore or even more than Singapore. However, when asked about the most livable city in Vietnam, people name Hanoi and HCM City before mentioning Da Nang.
He said Da Nang needs to start developing the city into a livable place right now.
Tran Ngoc Chinh, chair of the Vietnam Urban Development Planning Association, commented that in order to turn into a livable city, Da Nang, at first, needs to become a global urban area. If so, the city would have to satisfy many criteria.
Agreeing with Chinh, CBRE Vietnam’s CEO Dang Phuong Hang noticed that livable in Da Nang means just natural conditions, while the infrastructure remains unchanged for many years. The city still cannot create points which can attract upper-class people to live, buy houses, own assets and do business, and attract young people to settle down and work.
Ho Ky Minh, Vice Mayor of Da Nang, said from the time of ‘reopening the sky’ to the end of June, Da Nang received 286 international flights with 35,000 passengers. It is expected that in the last six months of the year, there will be 15 airlines providing flights on international routes from South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia to Da Nang (90 flights a week). This will aid the tourism economy.