A six-hectare ecotourism area has been put into operation near the headquarters of the People’s Committee of a district in northern Vietnam even though the developer of the venue has yet to obtain permits for its construction and business.
Located on the Da Do River bank in Kien Thuy District, Hai Phong City, this tourism facility, Big Sun, was previously an agricultural land area covering some 60,000 square meters, around one kilometer away from the office of the district's People’s Committee, as revealed in an exposé by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Big Sun now provides travelers with resorts, accommodations, infinity swimming pools, bars, coffee shops, ecological experience areas, sites for outdoor events, and many areas for recreation and adventurous sports.
Following the travel instructions posted on social media, Tuoi Tre reporters came to this tourism site, where a checkpoint had been set up at its entrance to charge VND150,000 (US$6.5) per visitor but to offer free admission to children under one meter tall.
|This image shows one of the accommodations for rent in Big Sun, an illicitly developed eco-tourism site in Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tien Thang / Tuoi Tre|
The facility provides customers with accommodations at rentals from VND800,000 ($35) to VND1.5 million ($65), depending on their stay period (daytime or overnight).
According to locals, the owner of Big Sun is a leading entrepreneur, who has built and developed it at a huge cost since 2019.
Notably, the facility has yet to obtain safety certificates for its swimming pool and adventurous sports services.
As a spontaneously-built tourism area, Big Sun has yet to be recognized by local tourism authorities.
“I don't understand the management role and responsibility of local government in this case, as they have let such a large unlicensed tourism facility exist close to the headquarters of the district’s and commune’s administrations,” Vu Duy Phong, 43, a resident in Kien Thuy, told Tuoi Tre reporters.
Phong pointed out that the local administrations had ordered the demolition of some other much smaller unlicensed construction works, which covered only several tens of square meters each.
The reporters contacted Nguyen Van Tuan, chairman of the Kien Thuy People’s Committee, to clarify Big Sun’s violations but he asked them to work with the local bureau of natural resources and environment.
Do Thai Quyen, deputy head of the bureau, confirmed to Tuoi Tre that Big Sun was built on an agricultural land area over which the land use purpose had been changed without approval from competent agencies.
On April 16, the district’s administration issued a decision to fine Vu Thi Lan Anh, the investor of the construction site, VND22.5 million ($978) for her unauthorized use of farmland for non-agricultural purposes, Quyen said.
|This photo shows Big Sun’s swimming pool and other recreation and sport facilities that have yet to be granted safety certificates by relevant agencies. Photo: Tien Thang / Tuoi Tre.|
The decision also requested that Anh, within ten days of the issuance of the decision, restore the status quo of the land lot, but after she paid the fine, her tourism facility has continued operating.
Currently, nearly 195 hectares of agricultural land in Hai Phong has been illegally encroached or used for construction works, while only a fractional ratio of such land, at 0.03 percent, has been handled after the violations were brought to light, according to statistics.
In another exposé carried out last month, Tuoi Tre uncovered a similar case in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, where many real estate projects have mushroomed illegally, turning many tea-growing hills in Bao Loc City and Bao Lam District into great construction sites despite ongoing police investigation.
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