May 9, 2022
HANOI – Tuần Châu Island in Hạ Long City in the northern province of Quảng Ninh, is not only a famed tourism hub but also a successful host of regional and international sports events.
This year, the island is again selected as the venue for several competitions, including the handball, beach volleyball and triathlon (swimming, running, cycling) at the SEA Games 31, which officially takes place on May 12-23.
With the beautiful space and the best preparations, the Tuần Châu International Tourist Complex promises to help the tournament be a great success while promoting Quảng Ninh tourism.
The SEA Games 31, themed “For a Stronger South East Asia”, will be held in the capital city of Hà Nội and 11 neighbouring provinces and cities, including Hạ Long.
All efforts from provincial and local authorities, businesses, organisations and people have been mobilised to prepare facilities and equipment serving the Games and to ensure social security and traffic safety, according to the organisers in Quảng Ninh.
Publicity campaigns to promote local tourism have also been enhanced.
According to Đinh Hữu Chung, vice director of the Tuần Châu Group, the host of the beach volleyball, handball and triathlon events, preparations for the events at Tuần Châu are complete.
“This is an opportunity for Tuần Châu and Quảng Ninh in general to promote unique and impressive tourism products to international friends,” he said.
The provincial Party Committee has directed agencies and units to organise sightseeing programmes for sports delegations to help athletes and coaches enjoy an exciting experience in the locality, particularly on Tuần Châu Island.
During the Games, Quảng Ninh is the second most used venue after Hà Nội. The province will host handball, chess, women’s football, indoor volleyball, Chinese chess, beach volleyball, and the triathlon, slated from May 6-22, with over 1,400 athletes.
The Tuần Châu Group has invested VNĐ25 billion (US$1.1 million) in upgrading sports facilities for competitions at the Games. There will also be a wide array of street food available.
The beach volleyball competition will be located at the centre of the island’s beautiful man-made beach.
Featuring 40 sports with 526 events, the regional Games will attract around 10,000 participants, including athletes and officials from 11 Southeast Asian countries: Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Việt Nam.
The biennial event was initially slated for late 2021 but was delayed due to the pandemic. The organising committee has encountered many difficulties in preparations, and many athletes did not have opportunities to compete regularly and often trained abroad.
Thanks to the close direction of the Vietnamese Government, and coordination between ministries and sectors, preparations are on the right track.
The heads of Southeast Asian sports delegations said they appreciated the host country’s preparations on a recent field trip.
“Since Việt Nam announced the SEA Games 31’s official date in late 2021, the country has exerted tremendous efforts, and preparations are in full swing to meet deadlines,” said Director of the Singapore National Olympic Council Anthony Lee.
He believes that the regional sporting event will experience smooth sailing and efficiency.
Beauty of a ‘pearl island’
Tuần Châu is a soil island located southwest of Hạ Long Bay, connected by land and sea to Hạ Long City. Like other parts of the north, the island has four distinctive seasons. It also has beautiful natural surroundings including pine trees, lakes and a beautiful beach.
The island has a wonderfully rich archaeological history, and the remains of ancient people who lived in the area 3,500-5,000 years ago have been found there.
Over an area of 400ha, Tuần Châu has a population of about 1,500. The total area of the island will be widened to 675ha. It has both land and sea transport.
It is about 18km away from National Highway 1, an important artery of the robust Hà Nội – Hải Phòng – Quảng Ninh economic triangle.
Its name Tuần Châu is a combination of lính tuần (patrolman) and tri châu (district chief) because in feudal times the royal army set up a guard station to patrol and defend the borderland from here.
Late President Hồ Chi Minh visited the island in 1957, 1959 and 1962. He encouraged the local people to develop the island into a “shining pearl”.
Before 1999, Tuần Châu was an impoverished district where fishing with rudimentary tools was the only means of living. There was no power network or clean water. Local trails were unusable for mechanical transport.
Realising the island’s potential, the Âu Lạc Ltd Co (the Tuần Châu Group) built a road connecting the island and the mainland in February 1999, making the islanders’ long-awaited dream come true.
The group also invested trillions of đồng in transport infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, and world-class entertainment areas, including Tuần Châu International Marina, the world’s largest artificial port (as recognised by the Việt Nam Guinness Book of Records).
To diversify tourism, it has also invested in international-class entertainment services and tourism infrastructure, such as the 4-star Tuần Châu Holiday Villa Resort with nearly 1,000 deluxe rooms, Tuần Châu International Amusement Park, a 3,000sq.m area for helicopters bringing tourists from Hà Nội to Hạ Long, an artificial Paradise Beach stretching 10km, an outdoor performance stage, a Dragon and Carving Park, and a golf course.
The island has become a shining pearl in the UNESCO Hạ Long Bay heritage site, and now is set to shine even brighter as a host of several competitions of the 31st SEA Games. VNS