Green, smart and different tourism

(TITC) – After being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, demand stimulation and tourism development cooperation activities of Sa Pa town (Lao Cai province) are now vibrant again. The “smokeless industry” is increasingly flourishing, becoming a key economic sector, deeply impacting many other economic sectors of Sa Pa town. With the goal of sustainable tourism development, Sa Pa is focusing on building a green, smart and different tourism industry.

Strong recovery

In recent years, Sa Pa Tourism industry has had strong developments, clearly shown by the steady increase in the number of tourists over time. According to statistics, in 2022, the number of visitors to Sa Pa town was estimated to reach more than 2.5 million arrivals, reaching 101% of the assigned plan, an increase of more than 1.9 million compared to 2021. Of which, accumulated international visitors reached more than 82 thousand visitor arrivals, domestic visitors more than 2.4 million trips. Total tourist receipts was estimated at VND 7,441 billion, reaching 104% of the assigned plan, an increase of VND 5,509 billion compared to 2021.

In 2023, by 15th June 2023, the number of visitors to the area was estimated to reach more than 1.5 million arrivals, an increase of more than 950 thousand over the same period in 2022, reaching more than 45% of the year plan, reaching more than 27% of the plan for the period 2021 – 2025. Of which, accumulated international visitors reached more than 111 thousand arrivals, domestic visitors more than 1.4 million trips. Total tourist receipts by 15th June 2023 was estimated to reach more than VND 5,400 billion, an increase of VND 3,702 billion compared to the same period in 2022.

Sa Pa terraced fields are in the Top 7 most spectacular terraced fields in the world (Photo:

Ms. Hoang Thi Vuong – Head of Culture and Information Department of Sa Pa town said: The strength of Sa Pa tourism up to this point is landscape tourism and cultural tourism. Currently, Sa Pa has 1,286 tourism and service businesses in the area. In particular, accommodation services have 766 establishments (355 homestay establishments), with over 8,000 rooms, over 14,000 beds, ensuring a capacity of 20,000 to nearly 40,000 guests/night. Among them, there are 2 5-star hotels; 6 4-star hotels; 11 are 3-star hotels, the rest are 2-star hotels or less and standard motels. Sa Pa has 283 food and beverage service establishments with 18,507 seats. The total number of workers in the tourism sector is 4,654 workers.

According to Director of Lao Cai Department of Tourism Ha Van Thang, Lao Cai in general and Sa Pa in particular always show creativity in promoting outstanding resources for tourism. These resources include natural resources and human resources. Lao Cai identifies tourism as a key economic sector and a breakthrough economic sector. Therefore, in recent years, Sa Pa’s tourism development infrastructure has been invested quite well. Traffic congestion and accidents are minimised; People’s awareness in protecting natural landscapes has become better; Investor responsibility for preserving natural landscapes is enhanced; Cultural relics are invested in and renovated; Many sightseeing and “check in” stations were built; encroachment on terraced fields is also reduced. The number of tourists coming to Lao Cai and Sa Pa is constantly increasing, showing a significant recovery after the Covid -19 pandemic.

​Besides strengthening international cooperation in tourism development, Sa Pa is also very interested in developing new and unique tourism products, such as: Staying in house trees, abseiling, conquering peaks, kayaking, market tours, cultural art shows, love and rose festival, Bac Ha horse racing festival, the “horse hooves on the clouds” festival in Sa Pa… Every year, localities organise over 40 festivals imbued with national cultural identity, creating a good impression on domestic and foreign tourists.

Developing sustainable and differentiated tourism

​With the results achieved in 2022 and the first 6 months of 2023, in the coming time, Sa Pa town is determined to continue promoting solutions to restore and develop tourism, especially developing the tourism potential of each region. Strengthen promotion, propaganda of Sa Pa tourism. Striving for 2023, the town attracts 3.5 million tourist arrivals, achieving total tourist receipts of over VND 12,000 billion; By 2025, attracting 5.8 million visitor arrivals, achieving total tourist receipts of VND 27,800 billion. At the same time, the overall renovation and embellishment of the urban area will be carried out to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Sa Pa tourism in September 2023.

To achieve the set goals, in the last 6 months of 2023, Sa Pa organised many tourism promotion activities such as: International scientific conference “Sa Pa journey from resting station to national tourist area”; promulgated the Plan to organise the International Yoga Festival combining the tourism product “Healing”. At the same time, a literary and art creation camp was organised to celebrate 120 years of tourism in Sa Pa; developed an investment plan and upgraded Ngu Chi Son mountain climbing route; developed a dossier to request recognition as a provincial monument for Ngu Chi Son peak; prepared documents to request recognition of tourism titles meeting ASEAN standards…

Mr. Ha Van Thang – Director of Lao Cai Department of Tourism discussed with the Sa Pa Red Dao ethnic performance troupe (Photo:

Ms. Hoang Thi Vuong, Head of the Culture and Information Department of Sa Pa town said: In the coming time, Sa Pa will focus on investing and perfecting essential infrastructure for tourism. Especially the car park; public restroom; telecommunications infrastructure, electricity, water, and financial services to serve tourists; Improve and upgrade environmental sanitation services. Invest in a road system connecting Sa Pa tourist area with localities in the province; Open a new path to the top of Co Tien mountain. Invest in technical facilities and support services to serve tourism development meeting ASEAN standards. Accelerate the completion of major projects: Muong Hoa Cultural Park; Sa Pa Cultural Park; Cable car station tourist and entertainment complex; Bien May Bat Xat (Bat Xat Sea of Clouds) eco-tourism project…

“Starting from this period, Sa Pa town will say “no” to small-scale tourism establishments. With new investment projects, the town will focus on welcoming establishments of 4 stars or higher, with a scale of 400 visitors/night, targeting customers with high paying ability. Moreover, this helps create Sa Pa as a destination of quality instead of quantity.”, said Ms Hoang Thi Vuong.

Besides, Sa Pa will focus on creating different tourism products to serve tourists. Currently, the central area of Sa Pa town is quite cramped, it is necessary to expand and develop quality tourism service groups into the community. This helps create sustainable livelihoods for ethnic people here; Create an environment for people to expand communication with tourists, thereby raising awareness, expanding cooperation and cultural exchange with tourists. Accordingly, Sa Pa will prioritise building 5 sustainable community tourism destinations, meeting ASEAN standards. In particular, cultural values will be maximally exploited such as cuisine, costumes, performing arts, cultural space, cultural architecture and traditional occupations. So that tourists can have many experiences and not feel bored when staying for a long time in Sa Pa.

According to Mr. Ha Van Thang, Director of Lao Cai Department of Tourism, Lao Cai in general and Sa Pa in particular need to aim for sustainable development. To do so, it must meet international tourism, green tourism, and ASEAN tourism standards. Sa Pa as well as Lao Cai must preserve the green colour of the forests and mountains, and preserve and promote traditional cultural values. Continuously improve the quality of human resources to meet the increasing demands of tourists. Encourage attracting quality investors to build high-class accommodation facilities that meet international standards. “Sa Pa’s tourism development strategy is to develop green, smart and different tourism. We must apply information technology, maintain “green” features from culture to living environment, and create different emotions for tourists.”, emphasised Mr. Ha Van Thang.

Tourism Information Technology Center

Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend