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Lao Cai: Hydro-power plants harms tourism

Five ongoing hydro-power plants at key tourist sites of Sapa town, Lao Cai province, have made adverse impacts on the landscape, environment and daily life of local people in Ho, Den, Lao Chai villages and Muong Hoa valley.

Den village, a tourist attraction, has been completely damaged because its La Ve waterfall does not have water. Ca stream does not have hot water. Muong Hoa valley does not have much terraced fields.

Mr. Dao Duc Tuyen, a Ho village’s resident, said that he had to give up his job as an amateur tourist guide two years ago because the number of tourists sharply reduced after the Su Pan 2 hydro-power project was kicked off. Because of this project, the road to Ho village has become very dirty.

Tuyen said that before this project began, Ho villagers performed music shows every night, which lured a lot of tourists. But these shows have not held in the last two years.

In the past, Ho village welcomed tens of thousands of tourists a year but now it has several visitors each day.

Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Lao Cai, Dr. Tran Huu Son, said that hydro-power development has broken the cultural space and harmed the environment. As a result, benefit from tourism has dropped.

Dr. Son said that hydro-power should not be developed in Sapa because this is a famous tourist attraction of Vietnam for a hundred years. Up to 19 hydro-projects have been approved in Sapa. In August 2010, Sapa authorities had to cancel all projects for checking, under the pressure from the public opinion.

Let’s see how hydro-power projects destroy landscapes in Sapa:

Le Anh Dung

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