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Can Tho poised to become Mekong Delta’s logistics center
Friday,  8/10/2018, 21:00 

Can Tho poised to become Mekong Delta’s logistics center

The Saigon Times Daily

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C, back row) applauds at the signing of agreements between Can Tho City and businesses at the investment promotion conference in Can Tho today - PHOTO: VGP

CAN THO – Can Tho has the potential to become the logistics center of the entire Mekong Delta region, according to the World Bank (WB) in Vietnam.

A WB official, speaking at an investment promotion conference in Can Tho today, August 10, said this requires major investments in developing infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the local services sector is considered a gold mine for investors as the city has enough potential to become a tourism destination of the region.

However, despite this enormous potential, the number of tourists staying in Can Tho overnight is small while the average duration of stay per visitor is one to two days. Moreover, their average spending is some US$22 per day, which is much less than the national average, said a leader of Vietnamese property developer FLC Group.

The Mekong Delta city lacks tourism products and tourism infrastructure, adding that the group is about to set up a tourism services project in the city, covering some 1,600 hectares.

At the conference, which was attended by some 500 delegates, including leaders of the Government, ministries and central agencies; representatives of international organizations; and local and international investors, the WB official suggested the Government build more mechanisms and preferential policies to create momentum for the city to make substantial progress.

Addressing the conference, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc set out a grand vision for the city in the coming years: to be recognized for its rich identity and to be seen as an inspiration for significant development so that it can act as a driving force for the growth of the entire Mekong Delta region, reported the Government news website.

The country has many coastal cities worth living in, he said, adding that with its strong potential, Can Tho should join this ecosystem.

He demanded that the authorities at all levels and businesses, especially those in the tourism sector, transform themselves and work with other sectors to form closed value chains and create an economic spillover effect on the whole region.

Can Tho has good prospects for growth. Its average per capita income is estimated at VND81 million (US$3,485) this year, 1.4 times higher than the national per capita income, while its purchasing power is also among the top in the country. Its middle class is emerging quickly, bringing about changes in the consumption structure of society, according to PM Phuc.

He suggested investors inject their money into developing hotel and tourism services, as well as processing industries to raise the value of their products.

He said Can Tho will grow substantially, thanks to the Trung Luong-My Thuan-Can Tho Expressway and other crucial roads, which help shorten the travel time between HCMC and the city from three hours to one-and-a-half hours.

The Government leader highlighted the key role of Can Tho International Airport, suggesting that an increasing number of direct flights will be launched there to connect Can Tho with other parts of Vietnam and other countries, through national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, budget airline VietJet and the upcoming Bamboo Airways.

The municipal government should create a more favorable business environment, while investors should coordinate with the local authorities to achieve development visions in the next few decades, he said.

“The Government honors competent investors but also resolutely eliminates profiteering investors who exploit management loopholes, evade taxes, adopt transfer pricing and destroy the environment instead of focusing on development,” PM Phuc added.

He cited a master plan for Can Tho City, saying that by 2025, the city will become a center for industry, commerce, services, tourism, education and training, science and technology, healthcare and culture, as well as a gateway to the Lower Mekong Basin and a hub for intraregional and international transport, in addition to holding a strategic advantage in defense and security.

The prime minister urged the local government to make cleared land available to investors, and to hold more dialogues with them to tackle difficulties. He also asked local businesses and residents to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

At the conference, municipal leaders signed cooperation agreements, worth roughly VND85 trillion (US$3.6 billion) with 19 investors. In addition, the local government gave 10 companies in-principle investment approvals and investment certificates, worth some VND8 trillion (US$344 million).

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