As a land with a long history and rich in cultural relics, Soc Son District's advantages for tourism development remain untapped. The district is upgrading its infrastructure and cooperating with businesses and other localities to build typical tours.
Various natural and cultural attractions
|Ham Lon Mountain is an ideal trekking destination. Photo: Thu Thuy VRun|
Located in the north of the capital city, Soc Son boasts a variety of terrains with interlocking hills, mountains, lakes, and forests. There are many places here that attract tourists during vacations, namely Mount Soc, Twin Hills, Dong Quan Lake, Dong Do Lake or Ham Lon Lake.
On the other hand, Soc Son is also rich in cultural resources with a myriad of famous cultural relics, beauty spots and festivals. Specifically, among its 341 historical-cultural relics and 174 annual festivals, one is listed as a special national relic, and a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage - the Giong Festival in Soc Temple.
Speaking about the direction of local tourism, Tran Kien, Deputy Head of Soc Son District Department of Culture and Sports, said that in Hanoi's tourism development planning for 2030, Soc Mountain - Dong Quan Lake has been identified as one of the six key tourism clusters of Hanoi.
|Dong Do Lake is a good destination for weekend vacations. Photo: The Hanoi Times|
The area offers products ranging from spiritual tourism associated with the Giong Festival, eco-tourism and weekend getaways to lakes such as Dong Quan or Dong Do, to sports tourism and entertainment activities, including the Soc Son racecourse.
Currently, the district has 204 accommodation facilities with a total of 1,454 rooms, which is expected to reach 5,000 by 2030. In 2022, after the Covid-19 pandemic was under control, the number of visitors to Soc Son totaled about 1 million.
Assessing the potential of Soc Son District for tourism, Hoang Thi Diep, Vice Chairwoman of the Hanoi Tourism Association, said that in addition to eco-tourism, experiential tourism, sports tourism or weekend getaways, the district can also develop agro-tourism and wellness tourism. "With the advantage of being close to Noi Bai International Airport, Soc Son can become an attractive destination for domestic and international tourists," Diep said.
|Visitors enjoy moments in Dong Do Lake. Photo: The Hanoi Times|
Tourism investment and operation still largely fragmented
Although Soc Son has great potential, its tourism has not yet developed proportionately. Do Minh Tuan, Vice Chairman of the Soc Son District People's Committee, admitted that local tourism investment and operation is fragmented and unprofessional, with no hotels in the area rated three stars or higher. Entertainment venues and restaurants qualified to serve large tourist groups are still scarce, while tourism staff hasn't been professionally trained.
According to experts, the locality must work out a systematic plan for the development of the tourist area, and, at the same time, to have a policy to attract investment in large-scale projects.
|Non Nuoc Pagoda. Photo: Halo Hanoi|
"Large-scale tourism projects in Soc Son will create appeal for tourists, as in the case of Phu Quoc Island in the south. After Vingroup invested in Vinpearl Phu Quoc Resort and Entertainment Complex, a large number of tourists went to the island for vacation," said Pham Duy Nghia, CEO of Vietfoot Travel in a conference held recently in Hanoi.
Sharing his experience in tourism operations, Vu Van Tuyen, CEO of Travelogy Vietnam, said that although Soc Son is rich in potential, it hasn't attracted the expected volume of tourists. In addition to promoting spiritual tourism as it has done so far, the district could also consider medical tourism, eco-tourism, and farm-to-table products.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Tuan Anh, Vice Chairman of the UNESCO Hanoi Travel Club, advised the district to step up advertising and promotion, while drawing the interest of major investors to the local potential and strengths. "The locality should take advantage of its location near Noi Bai International Airport and promote its tourism products and services there," Tuan Anh suggested.
|A corner of Viet Phu Thanh Chuong (Thanh Chuong's House) in Soc Son District.|
Phung Thi Hang, Director of the Center for Tourism Training and Consultancy under the National Economics University, said that as a place with cultural relics and festivals, Soc Son should strengthen its ties with neighboring districts and provinces in the coming period to create thematic tourism packages. For example, it can cooperate with Phu Tho Province to create a spiritual tour that takes tourists to the Soc Temple Relic Cluster, Hung Temple and Thang Long Imperial Citadel in one trip.
To boost tourism in Soc Son District, Deputy Director Tran Trung Hieu of the Hanoi Tourism Department confirmed that in the coming period, the department will support the Soc Son District People's Committee to finalize its plan to attract investment in areas designated for tourism development, promote its destinations and tourism products, and encourage tourism businesses to build tours and routes connecting its tourist attractions.
|To Chim Homestay in Soc Son District. Photo: Ngan Nguyen|