The Phu Quoc Island Construction Master Plan to 2030, revised in March 2017, is undoubtedly an ambitious one with a central focus on the development and upgrade of Phu Quoc’s infrastructure. Though it is ambitious, the plan shouldn’t be too unsurprising given the island’s major role in Vietnam’s tourism industry.
The plan identifies three large urban areas—Phu Quoc’s main town of Duong Dong, as well as An Thoi and Cua Can. It seeks the support of both domestic and international investors for Phu Quoc to realise projects in world class leisure and entertainment, transportation, telecommunications, additional power supply and water, and sewage treatment. Progress has since been made in many of these areas.
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Major Investments in Phu Quoc So Far
Examples of major investments that have already been completed include Phu Quoc International Airport, which opened in 2012 and expanded again in late 2018, and the Vinmec Phu Quoc International Hospital, which opened in 2015. Also making recent headlines was the opening of Phu Quoc’s Corona Casino, the first casino in the country in which Vietnamese nationals can gamble.
Yet another impressive addition to Phu Quoc’s infrastructure has been the world’s longest oversea cable car ride (8 km), connecting An Thoi town and Hon Thom Island, funded by the Sun Group. In addition to being a fabulous tourist attraction with amazing views of Phu Quoc and beyond, the cable car also cuts the travel time between the two locations in half.
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Health and Air Travel: Two Examples of Phu Quoc’s Success
The 150-bed Vinmec Phu Quoc International Hospital in Ganh Dau, adjacent to Vinpearl Safari and Vinpearl Land Amusement Park,has brought modern medical facilities to Phu Quoc that are on par with those available in the US, UK, Germany, Japan and Singapore. Impressively modern Vinmec Phu Quoc International Hospital boasts a mix of experienced foreign and Vietnamese doctors able to speak Russian, French and English.
Along with state of the art diagnostic equipment, this Vinmec hospital is a real boost to both residents and tourists in Phu Quoc needing high quality medical treatment. Vinmec Phu Quoc was actually the second Vinmec hospital to open in Vietnam, following on from Vinmec Times City International Hospital, which opened in Hanoi in 2012.
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In addition to general practice, Vinmec Phu Quoc International Hospital offers a comprehensive list of specialist services including accident and emergency, resuscitation, gastroenterology, gynecology and obstetrics. The Imaging and Radiology Department is fully equipped with state of the art equipment and, importantly for families, there is a high quality pediatric department. Emergency care for Phu Quoc residents and visitors is available 24/7 and there is also a pharmacy on site.
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Improvements have also been made to the public health facilities on the island. The Phu Quoc General Hospital in Duong Dong now incorporates the town’s medical clinic and has over 20 departments. The physical buildings and facilities are in need of refurbishment, but the staff are dedicated and experienced. Phu Quoc General Hospital is open to foreigners and local residents.
Travel by air is certainly the most common way to arrive on Vietnam’s ‘Pearl Island’ and the current capacity at Phu Quoc International Airport is approaching four million passengers per year. There are also plans in place for a second terminal and runway to take the annual number of air passengers visiting Phu Quoc up to a possible 10 million by 2030.
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Airlines currently operating flights to and from Phu Quoc include Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, Bamboo Airways, and Jetstar Pacific. The busiest route is between Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc, but there are also multiple flights daily between Phu Quoc and Hanoi. In 2016, TUI Airways commenced a twice weekly flight service for the European winter season (December to March), bringing tourists to Phu Quoc from Sweden and the UK, amongst other countries.
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In November 2018, Air Asia Airlines commenced flights between Kuala Lumpur and Phu Quoc, and other major international destinations with direct flights to Phu Quoc include Seoul, Bangkok and Guangzhou.
Increased Investment Planned to Complete Key Phu Quoc Infrastructure Projects
Rapid development typically brings disruption and a plethora of challenges. Though there are many more projects in the pipeline and plenty of obstacles to overcome, there is no doubting the government’s determination to push ahead. In January 2019, representatives from Phu Quoc’s administration management board stated their intention to pursue investment capital to speed up the completion of key infrastructure projects, improve planning and tackle land disputes, compensation, site clearance and resettlement issues.
In the same month, Vietnam News reported that 46 projects had been completed, 41 projects underway with a total investment value of VND101.43 billion, and that, to date, there are 31 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with a total registered capital of $293 million. Money is indeed flowing to Vietnam’s major island destination, although the issues of sustainability and corporate social responsibility in Phu Quoc should not be put aside.
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In 2017, local government figures stated that Phu Quoc welcomed around 2 million visitors to the island, with the number of foreign tourists increasing by more than 70 percent. With the current and future plans to further upgrade the island’s infrastructure and world class leisure facilities, a continued rise seems certain in the number of visitors to Phu Quoc, where Vietnam’s tourism industry is booming.