Back Travel » Hanoi Tourism Union Proposes Controversial 'Formosa Tour' in Central Vietnam

Hanoi Tourism Union Proposes Controversial 'Formosa Tour' in Central Vietnam

Feeling inspired by the mass fish death that took place last April in central Vietnam, a Hanoi tourism union recently unveiled its latest travel package, which will take prospective tourists through a slew of sites affected by the environmental calamity.

Last Saturday, during a conference titled “Awakening Central Vietnam’s Sea Tourism With a Breakthrough Creative Mindset”, the Hanoi-based Scientific Union for Sustainable Tourism Development (STDe) put forth a new proposal detailing plans to revive the economy of central Vietnam by bringing tourists to the affected provinces on a fish-and-steel-themed tour, reports Tuoi Tre.

The tour, dubbed the “Formosa tour package”, will offer tourists a rare look into the life of locals following the environmental disaster, which struck Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces. If that catchy name is not enough to sell you on the Formosa experience, get this: the tour’s concept will revolve around a fish-steel love story.

According to STDe, the first stop on the fish-steel tour is Ha Tinh’s Vung Ang Economic Zone, where the Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Company – and its infamous wastewater pipe – is located. Tourists will have the chance to “witness the birth of the saga between fish and steel, as well as their harmonious coexistence through such activities as fish-steel motor racing, fish-steel coffee tasting, spending a night inside a giant fish-shaped steel hotel, and visiting a museum displaying fish-steel artworks”, Tuoi Tre writes.

The second stop on the proposed tour is Quang Binh province, where animals have reportedly died from fish consumption and a child was previously hospitalized due to fish-related food poisoning. On the Formosa tour, Quang Binh will serve as home of the fictional “Miss Wooden Fish”. At local villages, tourists will learn all about the Wooden Fish species, have a chance to dine with Miss Wooden Fish herself and even carve their own wooden fish, however it’s unclear who or what will take the shape of the ominous-sounding Miss Wooden Fish.

Quang Tri, where even deep-sea creatures died from toxic waste and washed ashore, will be the third stop of the fish-steel extravaganza, where the “How the Steel Was Tempered” resort is located. According to STDe’s legend, Miss Fish and Mister Steel will reunite at the resort and “try to conquer the Dragon’s Gate”. The resort will include three theme parks: fish-sand, fish-wind and fish-sun.

The last stop on the tour will be Hue’s Lang Co Beach, where tourists will end their fun Formosa adventure with a waterworks performance and the fictional fish-steel couple is reborn as a dragon.

STDe Chairwoman Dr. Nguyen Thu Hanh also elaborated on the meaning behind the fish-steel theme, comparing the fish to the resilience of local fishermen.

“The legend of fish-steel tells a story about a species of fish that knows not only how to swim but also how to fly because it had given up its old habits and adjusted itself to adapt to the new conditions and environment,” she shared at the conference, reports Tuoi Tre.

“The legend of fish-steel, relived through the Formosa tour package, echoes the story of locals in central Vietnam who are full of the will and wisdom to overcome any obstacle in their lives and perfect themselves.”

Unsurprisingly, the proposed Formosa tour faced immediate criticism, both from authorities and experts, who found the entire plan offensive and inappropriate.

Pham Chi Lan, an economic expert, told Dan Tri: “They copied the idea of operating tours to disaster-stricken areas from Japan and other countries but failed to realize that the disasters in those countries were either unintentional or natural and the consequences of which have been resolved.”

“I understand that they are using the business mindset to find opportunities amidst a crisis, but this is simply not the appropriate time for it since Formosa hasn’t fulfilled their responsibility and commitment [to compensate for the damage],” she stated.

Dr. Le Dang Doanh, former director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), was especially skeptical of STDe's name for the tour: “With such a name, it seems that they want to support Formosa. I’m not sure that, judging by the current situation, such support is justifiable.”

“I’m very surprised. The people there are in pain and going through a rough time. I don’t understand why there must be a tour package based in the area,” Doanh told CafeF.

[Photo via Soha]

Related Articles:

[Video] Formosa Responsible for Central Vietnam Fish Kill

In Central Vietnam, Mass Fish Death Raises Alarm

What We Know So Far About Central Vietnam's Fish Die-Off

Partner Content