"Coastal urban area" is a phrase that is appearing increasingly in the print and electronic media.
It began after the launch of a series of large-scale coastal developments like NovaWorld Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan Province and NovaWorld Binh Chau in Ba Ria-Vung Tau in recent times and some even started offering their products for sale.
The two projects are developed by prominent real estate investment and development company Novaland Group.
NovaWorld Phan Thiet, which spreads over an area of more than 1,000 hectares, will have more than 1,000 facilities including houses, villas and shophouses besides leisure and amusement options.
NovaWorl Binh Chau (also called NovaWorld Ho Tram) is a 1,000 ha complex with resort and entertainment facilities.
Danh Khoi Real Estate Company is developing the Asia Danang Hotel and Resort project in Ngu Hanh Son District with 106 metres of ocean frontage.
It spreads over 70,000 square metres and will have two apartment blocks with 30 storeys, two nine-floor hotels and 28 ocean villas.
Hung Thinh Group, Nam Group and Hung Loc Phat Real Estate Company are also developing large projects on the Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan and Phan Thiet coasts.
Long-term ownership, a ready eco-system and attractive business opportunities are driving demand from buyers.
Experts say the concept of ocean-front property has changed and now includes not only villas and condotels but also many other types of real estate products like apartments, villas and townhouses with long-term ownership just like elsewhere.
They are aimed at the dramatically expanding middle- and upper-income and ultra-wealthy classes.
Many families want to own second homes on the beach to get away from the pollution in cities but also to invest or speculate.
Viet Nam is blessed with a 3,260-kilomtre coastline and more than 3,000 islands. The S-shaped country has more than 125 beaches, most of which are very beautiful, including in Da Nang City, which was voted by Forbes magazine as one of the most attractive beaches on the planet.
Viet Nam also has many pristine bays, beautiful caves and lush tropical islands. Seven of Viet Nam's 13 world heritage sites are in coastal areas, as are six of its eight biosphere reserves, and many of its national parks and nature conservation areas are concentrated in coastal areas. It is also home to two of the most beautiful bays in the world, Ha Long and Nha Trang.
Communities are well-established in coastal areas and have created island and sea cultures that include folk festivals, food and unique local characteristics, which can be used to develop tourism, infrastructure and transportation.
The maritime economy is one of Viet Nam's key sectors with 28 coastal localities being a part of it. These provinces and cities account for more than 47 per cent of the country's GDP, and this is expected to increase to 65-70 per cent by 2030 as envisaged in a master plan unveiled by the Government in March this year.
The plan, for 2021-25, is part of the efforts to implement Resolution No.36-NQ/TW passed in 2018 by the Viet Nam's Party Central Committee on the sustainable development of the maritime economy with the goal of turning Viet Nam into a country with a strong sea-based economy.
The plan offers six main solutions for ocean governance and coastal management like developing the marine and coastal economy; improving people’s living standards, and developing coastal cultures, science, technology, and human resources.
Its top solution is to invest in tourism infrastructure in key coastal areas and islands, create large tourism complexes and develop eco-, adventure and community-based tourism.
Analysts said these policies have helped attract a lot of investment in coastal property development.
Marine tourism accounts for nearly 70 per cent of tourism activities in Viet Nam, and is increasingly drawing both foreign and local tourists.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the number of foreign tourists visiting beaches has been increasing consistently in recent years, and they now account for 80 per cent of the total number of foreign visitors to the country. The rate is 50 per cent for domestic tourists.
Fulbright Vietnam estimates global health tourism to generate US$919 billion by 2022, or 18 per cent of the overall tourism market.
In Viet Nam, health tourism is growing rapidly, it said.
Health tourism covers a wide range of health-oriented tourism ranging from preventive and health-conductive treatment to rehabilitational and curative forms of travel. Wellness tourism is a related field.
Coastal urban areas are preferred by people looking for wellness tourism.
Pristine nature, cheap prices and good infrastructure are some of the strong points of Viet Nam's coastal property segment.
These advantages have been attracting investors for years to the coast, and a chain of cities and towns has developed strongly, making very important contributions to the country's socio-economic growth, experts said.
They include Hai Phong, Ha Long, Ða Nang, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, and Vung Tau.
Many luxury hotels and resorts have been built along their beaches.
As a result, most coastal provinces and cities already have or are going to have large urban areas, even megacities, with various kinds of property products and services on offer.
Vu Van Phan, deputy director of the Ministry of Construction's Department of Housing and Real Estate Market Management, said ocean-front properties have become a real magnet for investors.
A decade ago holiday homes on beaches were treated as a luxury meant only for the wealthy. But with incomes growing significantly, a second home or holiday home now appeals to more and more people.
Tran Le Thanh Hien, general director of Danh Viet Group, added other reasons like the significant improvement in infrastructure with a network of expressways, the entry of famous brand names including global property management companies and finally having a proper legal framework in place for holiday properties.
Eric Solberg, chairman and CEO of EXS Capital Group, an independent investment firm, said coastal urban areas in Viet Nam are becoming magnets for both foreign and domestic investors thanks to the beautiful but under-utilised coastline, and rising property prices in major cities that forces people to seek new investment channels.
Phan said developers of coastal urban projects must think of how to connect their projects with transport networks and tourism service facilities to become really attractive to investors and convenient for tourists.
Tuan of Fulbright agreed, saying that modern coastal urban areas must be developed together with amenities and facilities for shopping, sport and amusement and healthcare.
Only large developers with deep pockets, patience and vision could do this, he said.
However, many property companies seem to be prepared to play the long game.
What about the Government's role?
The current coastal urban development spree has had negative impacts on the environment and given rise to social issues because of a lack of specific development strategies.
For instance, uncontrolled construction has hindered access to the sea and affected the livelihoods of fishermen in many places like Quang Ninh, Ða Nang, Nha Trang, and Phan Thiet.
The rapid population growth is having an impact on coastal and marine eco-systems.
Experts said countries around the world have their strategies to develop coastal urban areas, and Viet Nam also has developed its own strategy very early.
But the current uncontrolled development of coastal urban areas is causing a waste of natural resources and affecting the environment.
Pham Lam, CEO of DKRA Vietnam, said it is imperative for related authorities to carry out methodical urban planning to ensure the new developments have all the necessary utilities and are connected with the transport infrastructure and the environment as well as natural and historical relics are properly protected.
The Government should soon have a legal framework in place to properly manage coastal urban areas to safeguard all stakeholders' interests and ensure they fulfil all their obligations and responsibilities, he said. VNS
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