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Are we ready after Kong?

The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Mar 13,2017,21:59 (GMT+7)
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Are we ready after Kong?

The Saigon Times Daily

A phenomenon has been seen just days after the movie “Kong: Skull Island” was premiered last Friday. Hundreds of thousands of locals have rushed to cinemas and the number is expected to shoot up to millions in the next few days.

It is reported that as of the end of last Friday, up to 163,000 tickets had been sold in Vietnam, generating total box office revenues of VND18.2 billion and setting up an unimaginable record for a movie in the local market.

It is also estimated by international media that the film could have fetched as much as US$47 million worldwide after the weekend, with the United States, Russia and South Korea said to be contributing the most.

The movie has immediately become a success story for the filmmaker, so to say. But it also leads to a big question as to what Vietnam should do to benefit from the positive ripple waves that the film has sent.

The movie shows numerous magnificent sceneries in Vietnam, especially Quang Binh, Ninh Binh and Halong Bay, all endowed with lots of magnificent natural sites like ponds, caves and grottos. Spectators enjoying the movie may be lost in admiration of the beauty of nature, and it is apparent that many from around the world might be incentivized to make a trip to Vietnam to eyewitness those places. That is a huge opportunity for the local tourism sector.

On the day the movie was premiered, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism swiftly named the movie director Jordan Vogt-Roberts as tourism ambassador to Vietnam. In Tuoi Tre, Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the Vietnam National Administration for Tourism, says there will be a tour taking in the three destinations of Quang Binh, Ninh Binh and Quang Ninh.

Similarly, scores of tour operators have quickly grabbed the opportunity by launching new tours to the sites to offer visitors chances to experience such beautiful sites first-hand. The movie, therefore, is undeniably a strong boon for local tourism.

However, to make the most of the special effect that the movie has created for local tourism, new tours alone to tap such sceneries alone are not enough.

Quanh Ninh, Ninh Binh and Quang Tri should quickly map out concrete plans to develop tourism infrastructure to cater to tourists, if they are to pursue sustainable development, if they are to enhance the merits of their tourism treasures, and if they are to lure tourists back after such first visits. National authorities should also lend a helping hand to this effort, now that “Kong: Skull Island” has become an invaluable vehicle to tap into the country’s tourism potential.

Over a decade ago, when it was learned that the total solar eclipse was best observed in Phan Thiet in the coastal province of Binh Thuan, tens of thousands of people rushed there to watch the phenomenon. Business-minded people saw this as a huge chance, and hundreds of resorts sprang up there afterwards, making Binh Thuan a prominent destination like now with annual revenue of some VND10 trillion. The special effect from “Kong: Skull Island” could be greater, but the question is whether we are ready to go after Kong.

The Saigon Times Daily

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