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Phu Quoc Authorities Want to Wipe out Forests, Farmland for Development

Famous for its beautiful (and sometimes polluted) beaches, the island of Phu Quoc has become one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations with arrivals increasing by 20% every year. As a result, major tourism development is in full swing and the days of deserted beaches are now a thing of the past.

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To capitalize on its growing popularity, provincial officials have asked the government to approve the removal of forests and farms to make way for a zoo, high-end casino complex, reports Thanh Nien.

The request to build the new US$449.3 million development comes on the heels of government approval to increase the island’s total tourism area by 3.6% a mere two months ago.

It seems inevitable that Phu Quoc will be subject to further development as tourism officials have publicly stated that they are targeting 2-3 million visitors to the island by 2020.

However, Phu Quoc authorities and businesses have failed to prove that they are able to achieve the delicate balance between development and protection of the natural environment.

While only 7% of Phu Quoc is currently used for tourism purposes, much of the 70-80 tons of garbage generated each day by resorts and hotels makes its way onto the island's beaches and into its surrounding waters due to the lack of a waste treatment plant.

Though unlikely, it would be great to see the government tell the island to clean up its act before approving more development concessions.

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