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Life’s a beach

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Is the plan to reclaim a stretch of sandy beach for public use in Danang too little to late?


Prior to the current tourism boom the endless coastal stretch from Danang to Hoi An had been free from development for years. The beaches used to be a place for locals to take a dip on hot summer days or unload their overnight catch. But, the tourism boom has seen this stunning coastline divvied up by developers and it seems inevitable that grand resorts will soon have a monopoly on the seaside view.

That’s all very well for the more cashed up members of society and travelling community but the locals that once swam freely would be doing well to afford to join in the fun. The developers would argue that the hotels and resorts will provide employment with better earnings for the local population, though not everyone wants to or can make that kind of transition.

Fishermen will sail elsewhere as beaches accommodate the guests of the luxury hotels and golf courses. The developers will fence off the beach fronts so privileged guests are undisturbed. Local swimmers will have to drive further up the coast to find a spot to dump their bucket and spade.

For the time being you can flop around the beach at Non Nuoc or Cua Dai but for how much longer? Local authorities eager for tourism dollars continue to lease the beaches out to hotel developers. Hotel groups such as Hyatt, Raffles and InterContinental all have designs on this part of the country.

In Danang, at least, the authorities decided to buck the trend and earmarked a modest stretch in My Khe beach for public swimming. On Son Tra peninsula, the former military zone, nearly got swept away by the wave of tourism. The Danang authorities decided to reserve a small piece of this small paradise for public bathing and announced it would reclaim three hectares of Bai Nam and Bai Con for public use.

The only problem is that they already signed off this beach to a developer, which is still planning to build 198 villas and a hotel. The company is refusing to back off, claiming they have mortgaged the land to a bank to take out a loan for the construction of the resort. The matter is unresolved.

It is odd, however, that the authorities looked to stop a project that was already under construction while just a few hundred metres away, another resort project has sat idly for years with just a few half-completed villas


Source Timeout


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