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Geopark helps Central Highlands province lures more visitors

Geopark helps Central Highlands province lures more visitors


The Central Highlands province of Dak Nong has become popular to both domestic and foreign visitors after Dak Nong Geopark was recognised as a global geopark by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

On July 7, 2020, the Programme and External Relations Commission of the 209th UNESCO Executive Board approved the Global Geoparks Council’s proposal to grant the title to the Dak Nong Geopark, the third of its kind in the country. It received a certificate recognising the title on November 24 of the same year.

The Dak Nong Geopark covers an area of more than 4,700, stretching over six of the eight districts of the province with 65 sites of natural heritage, geomorphology, including craters, volcanic caves and waterfalls, according to UNESCO.

Possessing one of the most significant volcanic cave systems in Southeast Asia, theDak Nong Geopark also includes the many unique cultural features of forty ethnic minority groups. This means that other than enjoying stunning landscapes, visitors can experience a wealth of cultural diversity and enjoy numerous ethnic minorities’ cuisine and festivals.

The Dak Nong Geopark is distinctive in terms of geological features and geoheritage value. Being a piece of the Gondwana ancient supercontinent, from about 200-165 Ma ago it was deeply submerged into a passive continent marginal sea, very rich in ammonite and bivalve fossils.

This continental margin later, during 145-66 Ma ago became active due to plate collision, with red-bed sediments, eruptive andesite-dacite-rhyolite and intrusive gabbro-diorite-granodiorite-granite rocks. During the last 16.5 Ma, the territory became active again with wide-spread, multi-phase volcanic activities, forming a basalt covering more than 50 percent of the Geopark area.

These have been the source of some of the world’s largest and top quality bauxite deposits and a number of other minerals (sapphire, semi-precious stones etc.), and especially the fertile soils that have fed generations of local people with many industrial and fruit tree crops. In particular, young volcanic activities about tens of thousands of years ago (Late Pleistocene-Holocene) have resulted in spectacular craters, majestic waterfalls and Southeast Asia’s most extensive system of hundreds of magnificent volcanic caves, many of which have been used by prehistoric people as shelter since at least 6,000-10,000 years ago.

The UNESCO’s recognition has contributed to affirming Dak Nong’s global tourism values. Therefore, the locality aims to maximise values of geology and geomorphology, as well as traditional culture

Dak Nong has identified 44 destinations and three tours to Gia Nghia city and five districts, offering opportunities for visitors to explore unique values of the province.

Dak Nong’s tourism products are expected to contribute to promoting local tangible and intangible cultural heritage like UNESCO-recognised “Gong Culture Space”, folk songs and crafts, along with dishes of local ethnic minority groups.

According to provincial leaders, apart from tourism products associated with the tangible and intangible values, Dak Nong has focused on adventure, community-based and leisure tourism.

With the Ta Dung, Nam Cat Tien and Yok Don national parks, the Nam Nung national conservation area, the Dray Sap special-use forest and waterfalls, among others, Dak Nong has potential to develop adventure tourism.

Notably, community-based tourism would help Dak Nong reduce poverty, raise income of local residents and boost export.

With its potential and efforts, Dak Nong is expected to soon become a bright tourist destination despite difficulties in infrastructure and human resources./.