Picture U Minh Thuong National Park. Credit Phuoc Hoia on flickr
Kien Giang province in Vietnam is planning to develop eco-tourism in the U Minh Thuong National Park.
Situated south of Rach Gia, the national park was established in 2002 and covers around 80.53 km2 (30 square miles). It is considered to be one of the richest regions of the Mekong Delta in terms of plant and animal diversity. The park is one of the two most important peatland areas in Vietnam and is home to 8,000 hectares of primeval forest of which around 3,000 hectares dates back 6,000 years.
It is part of the Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve.
The area is home to 187 species of birds including the oriental darter, spot-billed pelican, greater spotted eagle and Asian golden weaver, 32 species of mammal (10 of which are listed as endangered) including hairy-nosed otters, Finlayson squirrel, Sunda pangolin and fishing cats, 54 reptile and amphibian species including King Cobra and reticulated python, 34 fish species and more than 243 plant species.
The intention is that tours to the park will contribute to raising awareness among domestic and international travellers of the environmental protection in the area helping to conserve cultural and historical sites and promoting cultural exchanges.
The eco-tourism and education centre in the park is combining environment education activities with visits to local communities allowing tourists the opportunity to take part in daily activities to help understand the customs and cultural identities.
The area attracted 43,200 visitors last year.
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