Casino resort developer bullish on tourism after Trump-Kim summit

By Ha Linh - Mar 01, 2019 | 11:39 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERAlthough US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walked away from their summit in Hanoi with no deal, Michael Kelly, Executive Chairman of Ho Tram Project Company, which is developing a $4.2 billion casino resort in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province remains upbeat on the event’s impacts on the Vietnam’s tourism industry.

Casino resort developer bullish on tourism after Trump-Kim summit
Michael Kelly, Executive Chairman of Ho Tram Project Company.

What is the meaning to Vietnam when US and North Korea chose Hanoi as a conference venue for their summit?

Michael Kelly: There were some great reasons to choose Vietnam to host this summit. Firstly, with APEC last year bringing leaders from around the world to the country, the nation has shown that it can successfully host major meetings of world leaders, and manage all of the diplomatic and logistical challenges that brings.

More symbolically, the choice of Vietnam - a nation that maintains diplomatic relationships with North Korea and of course was a former adversary of the US - shows the ways that countries that have had disagreements in the past can ultimately become friends and partners. It illustrates Vietnam's commitment to peace in the world and its national ambitions to become a strong player in regional affairs.

The nation's economic growth since normalizing its relationships with the rest of the world is also a tremendous showcase not just to North Korea, for whom such progress could await, but also to the rest of the world, who are seeing now just how far this country has come.

It is said that with this event, Vietnam will have the opportunity to promote its image to the world and that will help attract international visitors to Vietnam. Do you agree?

Michael Kelly: The eyes of the world are on Vietnam this week. Major news sites are full of then-and-now pictures showcasing the spectacular growth and development that Vietnam has been able to achieve, and drawing attention to the country's landmarks in their coverage, as well as Vietnam's culture, food and people.

This all ultimately highlights the way that Vietnam has positioned itself as a peaceful nation, keen to work toward promoting stability in the region and the world to people in western countries who know little about Vietnam beyond 'there used to be a war there'.

Along with tourism, in your opinion, could this event be able to help boost Vietnam to attract more FDI capital, especially investment from the US?

Michael Kelly: By projecting an image of stability and peace alongside its thriving economy, all backed with visuals from the summit itself, Vietnam stands only to gain from hosting this event as a business and investment destination.

Vietnam is already a leading recipient of FDI in this region, and reinforcing the country's role on the world stage and its development as an economic power serve to reiterate this. Vietnam's fundamentals are already so strong - its large and young population, its high literacy rates and cultural valuing of education as primary economic driver, the embrace of new technology among the country's youth, the improving infrastructure and relatively low cost base for manufacturing and so forth all position Vietnam very well as a destination for investment from the US and around the world.

What do you think about the positive opportunities that the Ho Tram project may have after the summit?

Michael Kelly: With the world focused on Vietnam, and media all drawing attention to the country's various attractions in terms of both its natural and cultural beauty, literally billions of people are getting to know this nation this week. It is an historic moment that shows once again Vietnam's ascendancy on the world stage.

While much can be said about the economy, which President Trump himself said is "thriving like few places on earth" following its consistently growing GDP, elimination of poverty, rising middle class, stable political framework and ability to attract international investors, this attention on the nation's offering to tourists can only serve to benefit us at Ho Tram and the entire Vietnam tourism industry.