120 years of Sa Pa tourism: Journey from Rest Station to National Tourist Area

Update: 26/09/2023
(TITC) - On 22nd September 2023, at Lady Hill Sa Pa Resort, the People's Committee of Sa Pa Town organized a conference "Sa Pa - journey from Rest Station to National Tourist Area". This is an activity to celebrate 120 years of Sa Pa Tourism associated with the 65th Anniversary of Uncle Ho's visit to Lao Cai Province.

Attending the conference were Vice Chairman of Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT) Mr. Ha Van Sieu, leaders of Sa Pa Town and 165 delegates who are scientists, experts, and managers in many fields at central and local levels throughout the country.

Located in the Northwest of Vietnam, Sa Pa is a highland town of Lao Cai province, 315 km from Ha Noi capital, 34 km from the Lao Cai city. The town is blessed with natural scenery, climate, and natural resources.

120 years ago (in 1903), the expedition of the Department of Geography of Indochina discovered the magnificent landscape of the Lo Suoi Tung plateau and Sa Pa village. The delegation named the regional rest station as Sa Pa.

This is considered the first milestone in the formation of Sa Pa tourist area. In 1905, a French inspection team explored and set a landmark on Fansipan peak. On 2nd June 1909, Chief Lao Kay (old name of Lao Cai province) submitted to the Governor of Tonkin a proposal to establish a high-altitude sanatorium at Sa Pa station.

Then there is the development process of Sa Pa over the years with projects being built one after another, tourism activities gradually developing. In 2017, Sa Pa was recognized by the Prime Minister as a national tourist area, thereby creating a premise for promoting its image, attracting investment, and attracting tourists to Sa Pa.

On 1st January 2020, Sa Pa Town was established according to the Resolution of the National Assembly Standing Committee. This is a landmark for the development of Sa Pa and an opportunity to build Sa Pa as a national tourist area.

With breakthrough developments, the number of tourists to Sa Pa is increasing, hotels, restaurants, service and tourism businesses are also developing strongly, and all types of tourism services are increasingly growing.

From the beginning of 2023 until now, the number of tourists has reached more than 2.58 million visitor arrivals, equal to 160% compared to the same period in 2022. It is expected that by the end of 2023, the town will welcome over 3.5 million visitor arrivals, with revenue more than 12 trillion VND.

Deputy Secretary of the Town’s Party Committee, Chairman of Sa Pa Town People's Committee Mr. To Ngoc Lien said: "Looking back at the journey from the rest station to national tourist area, we are even more proud to affirm our position of 120 year history. This is a milestone to learn, research and identify the value of Sa Pa's tourism resources throughout the journey of formation and development."

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Ha Van Sieu, Vice Chairman of VNAT, praised Sa Pa's efforts in forming and developing tourism over the past many years. Sa Pa has affirmed its tourism brand.

Sa Pa has a strange attraction to tourists. Not only because of the landscape, climate and unique natural heritage system, but also because of the rustic and simple life imbued with highland culture of ethnic minorities living in this area.

He also emphasized that there are many issues to discuss such as: developing Sa Pa's typical tourism products; Grasping tourism trends after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic; Learning from experience in developing international tourism... so that Sa Pa is always a place worth visiting, worth living and worth experiencing.

Vice Chairman suggested that Sa Pa should find solutions to develop sustainable tourism. Doing tourism becomes a livelihood for ethnic people, but does not destroy existing natural and cultural values. That is truly the right direction that Sa Pa has been heading towards for more than 100 years of establishment and development.

At the conference, documents and scientific arguments were discussed and analyzed by delegates to further clarify the role and value of the land and people of Sa Pa in the 120-year history. At the same time, point out solutions and orientations to develop Sa Pa tourism into a key economic sector, moving toward building Sa Pa into an national tourist area of international level.

On 23rd September 2023, in Sa Pa Town, the People's Committee of Lao Cai province organized the 120th anniversary of Sa Pa tourism (1903 - 2023).

Delegates, people, and tourists enjoyed the special art program "Magical Sa Pa", including 3 chapters: "Magical and sacred Sa Pa", "Magical land of dew and clouds" and "Sa Pa - Connecting green aspirations" with the participation of 200 professional actors and 400 local people. The program is elaborately and majestically staged, interwoven between artistic content and events associated with Sa Pa's transformation journey from a rest station to national tourist area of international level. The 120th anniversary of Sa Pa tourism ended with a colorful low-level fireworks display, bringing excitement and satisfaction to tourists and residents.

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