The UNESCO global geopark covers 232,606 hectares in districts of Dong Van, Meo Vac, Yen Minh and Quan Ba of Ha Giang Province. It was home to a population of about 283,000 in 2014, which is forecast to reach 320,000 – 325,000 by 2020 and 370,000 – 375,000 by 2030.
Under the plan, the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark will become a special tourist zone, representing for the entire Ha Giang Province. By 2030, it will meet all regulated criteria to become a national tourist area.
It targets to welcome 800,000 visitors by 2020, of which 130,000 are foreigners. The number of tourists to the area will increase to 950,000 by 2025 and 1.1 million by 2030, including 250,000 and 380,000 foreigners, respectively.
The Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark plans to become a national tourist area by 2030.
Turnover from tourism will reach VND1.3 trillion (US$57.27 million) by 2020, VND2.8 trillion by 2025 and VND5 trillion by 2030.
To meet the targets, authorities will focus on attracting domestic visitors from Hanoi and urban areas in the Red River region such as Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh and Thai Binh.
As for international markets, tourist promotion programs will give priorities to countries with high spending such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea. Other markets in ASEAN, mainland China and Taiwan will be also exploited.
Under the plan, areas in the geopark will be zoned for different purposes, including an area for geological heritage preservation, an area for nature and biodiversity conservation, one for developing sustainable natural resources and another for landscape protection.
Part of the geopark will be used to develop urban areas and tourism centers while another zone will specialize in agricultural and forestry production and hi-tech processing. An area for rural communities and another for farming high-quality herbal plants are also planned.
The area for geological heritage preservation will include 30 heritage clusters in the four districts. The area for landscape protection will cover Ma Pi Leng Mountain Pass, Lung Cu Flag Tower, Can Ty commune, and Thai Phin Tung commune.
Meanwhile, four urban areas are set to become tourism centers, namely Dong Van town – centre for cultural and historical tourism; Meo Vac town – centre for science and adventure tourism and border gate trade; Yen Minh town – centre for eco-tourism and green growth; and Tam Son town – centre for tourism and entertainment services.
In those areas, the construction of new structures must be restricted while existing cultural and historical facilities should only be upgraded. Meanwhile, infrastructure in residential communities, production activities, along with ecological and homestay tourism services need to be developed without harming the natural landscape and environment, according to the plan.
Dong Van plateau was recognized as a member of the Global Network of National Geoparks in 2010, becoming Vietnam’s first geological park and the second in Southeast Asia.