Recent rumors that discreet surveys were being conducted for the construction of a cable car system through Son Doong Cave in Quang Binh are false, administrators of the north-central Vietnamese province said Friday.
News was circulated on social media platforms on Friday that FLC Group, a Vietnamese realty conglomerate, was conducting discreet field surveys for a widely-criticized cable car system through Son Doong, the world’s largest cave located in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park.
However, Le Thanh Tinh, director of the national park, dismissed such claims later the same day, insisting that no surveys were being done at Son Doong Cave by FLC Group.
The news had been fabricated from a late 2016 story of surveys conducted at the park’s En Cave for a cable car system there, Tinh explained.
En Cave, located around 3.5 kilometers from Son Doong Cave inside Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The cable car service through En Cave would stretch around 5.1 kilometers, with its construction plan already submitted to Quang Binh’s authorities in early 2017, Tinh said.
The plan was approved in principle in August 2017 by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, on the condition that the natural heritage is not damaged and that UNESCO is consulted before construction commences.
“Son Doong is not suitable for mass tourism, so there is no way a cable car system will be built through it,” Tinh stressed.
Ho An Phong, director of Quang Binh’s Department of Tourism, has also confirmed that as of January 2018 the province had no intention of having a cable car system developed inside Son Doong Cave.
Son Doong became internationally known after a group of cavers from the British Cave Research Association conducted a survey on the area in April 2009.
The cave has since been known as the largest cave passage cross-section in the world, according to the National Geographic.
In early August 2013, the first tourist group explored the cave on a guided tour, and tourists can now apply for permits, available on a limited basis, to explore the cave.
Only 500 permits were issued for the 2015 season, which ran from February to August.