Authorities in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam, have proposed a pilot program for swimming and scuba diving at four new spots in Nha Trang Bay to ease overtourism at Hon Rom Island.
These four new sites are located in the northern part of Hon Rua Island, an artificial reef area in Vinh Hoa Ward, the northeastern part of Tri Nguyen Island, and the waters between Bai Tranh and Bai Soi beaches, the Nha Trang administration announced at a recent meeting.
Relevant agencies agreed to the pilot opening of the four new diving sites, according to Huynh Binh Thai, head of the Nha Trang Bay management authority.
The Institute of Oceanography in Nha Trang proposed that relevant parties assess the ecosystem of these locations so as to arrange appropriate diving activities in terms of scale and frequency, Thai added.
|A coral reef ecosystem in Nha Trang Bay, located in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam. Photo: Thanh Chuong / Tuoi Tre
At the meeting, various travel firms expressed their concerns regarding challenges associated with the introduction of the four new diving sites.
Vo Minh Tin, a local dive guide, highlighted that the two diving sites in the northern part of Hon Rua Island and the artificial reef area in Vinh Hoa pose logistical challenges due to their considerable distance and the absence of docks for convenient transport of tourists to the diving spots.
Therefore, Thai suggested a collaborative approach among diving tour operators, suggesting the shared use of private docks, including Ana Marina and another one in close proximity to the Amiana resort.
The dive guide emphasized the necessity of implementing regulations and recommendations for diving activities to safeguard the ecosystem once the four new diving spots receive approval for operation.
Dinh Van Thieu, vice-chairman of the provincial administration, urged relevant agencies to conduct assessments on the condition of coral reefs and provide detailed reports to the provincial administration.
Thieu underscored the importance of a thoughtful approach in the pilot opening of the new diving sites, balancing the promotion of local tourism with the imperative of preserving the marine ecosystem.
|Visitors are not allowed to take single-use plastic items along with them during trips to islands in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam. Photo: Minh Chien / Tuoi Tre
Participants at the meeting discussed measures to reduce plastic waste and protect the marine ecosystem.
Le Thi Bich Huyen, vice-president of the Vietnam Women’s Union in Nha Trang, said the union and the Nha Trang Bay management authority had jointly provided more than 300 trash bins for 300 households in the city’s Vinh Luong Commune and Tri Nguyen Island for waste classification.
Huyen explained that a significant portion of the waste collected will be transformed into bio-fertilizer, while recyclable waste will be sold, generating funds to support the union's operations.
The Vietnam Women’s Union in Vinh Luong also offered 130 mesh bags to fishermen for use as trash bags. Following just two fishing trips, local fishermen successfully gathered over two metric tons of plastic waste, as reported by Huyen.
Starting from October 1 of this year, stringent measures were implemented to curb plastic pollution in the Nha Trang region. Tour operators and tourists are now prohibited from bringing non-biodegradable plastic bags and single-use plastic items to the Nha Trang Tourist Pier and during their excursions to island destinations.
Household businesses in the tourist pier area are not allowed to use and trade non-biodegradable plastic bags and single-use plastic items either.
According to the Nha Trang Bay management authority, the coastal city is home to seven diving sites, with six in Hon Mun Island.
In June last year, the city halted swimming and scuba diving activities in the areas around Hon Mun Island in an attempt to revive its damaged coral reef.
Since then, Hon Rom Island has become overwhelmed by a huge number of tourists joining swimming and diving activities.