Turning a Vision into Reality
The Ba Vi mountains and forest area, which belong to the old Ha Tay province, were still untamed in the early 1990s. The hills and mountains were bald with barren land. People were allocated land but could not plant any trees, even the acacia trees, which were the easiest to grow and could not live under such harsh conditions. At that time, tourism was still a relatively new concept to many people, and even the officials were not very sure how to build a suitable product for the area. That is when Mr. Than had the idea of a model based entirely on the natural terrain. He then proposed his idea and was immediately approved. In early 1993, as Chairman of the Board and Director of Ao Vua JSC, he started to execute his brilliant idea.
The area’s amazing outlook that you can see today is the result of constant hard work over a long period of time. Mr. Than recalled that, seeing him invest so much money, many thought he had "problems", but he never doubted himself. He not only saw the hidden values in that barren land, but he was eager to contribute his knowledge and strength to his beloved homeland. The projects then succeeded, and the entire area quickly became a famous tourist attraction.
The success of Ao Vua not only acts as a pioneer of ecotourism, but it also paves the way for a variety of other tourist models in the area. This particular project has affected the officials’ perspective on developing the tourism industry.
Mr. Than's unique approach continues to prove itself with the success of the Ao Vua tourism area at Da river in Thanh Thuy district, Phu Tho. At the same time, Ao Vua has successfully turned the area that was used only for grazing cattle into a famous tourist spot, "Ngoc Xanh island," while bringing much greater economic efficiency... Regarding Ao Vua’s success, Mr. Than said that there is more to look at than just the number of guests and the total revenue. The project's success is not only measured by the numbers but also by how people's lives have changed: economic restructuring, poverty reduction in different regions, socio-economic development, stimulating exports, raising the price of agricultural products in the area, ...
Give in order to receive.
In addition to pioneering products, launching new products that can satisfy market demand has always been part of the Ao Vua’s business strategy. Currently, Mr. Than is working with the Public Health Care Association, the Vietnam Orientally Traditional Medicine Association, and the Traditional Medicine Administration of the Ministry of Health to urgently complete the project "Preservation, development, and exploitation of medicinal plants for public health." The project emphasizes the benefits of herbal plants being widely used in disease prevention and treatment, then implementing it into the company's business model and, in the long term, creating a key tourism product. Along with that, he and his colleagues have successfully studied healthy food products that are certified by the authorities. This product is being registered for intellectual property protection. The next step is meeting the OCOP standards, aiming to stimulate the demand for high quality agricultural products in the whole region.
Knowing the value of giving, Mr. Than spent time traveling to remote areas where there are insufficient materials, infrastructure, technology, and, most importantly, expertise and human resources to share his tourism experiences and vision. In reality, every region wants to increase tourism without having an actual goal of attracting visitors while having bad infrastructure. Mr. Than and his colleagues advise them not to rush but to focus on the product first. This is due to the fact that a well-designed product can attract new customers, investments, and potentially state investments.
Many years ago, he was known as the "Businessman of The Poor", since the "Cow Bank" project he started and financed has helped many households to escape poverty, improving the family economy. So far, the amount of money his company has spent on charity has reached hundreds of billions of Vietnam Dongs...
Minh Phuong – Viet Hung
(Source: Travel+ No1/2022)