Disney backs new $1 billion resort project

Seven US investors want to build a Disneyland-style theme park and resort in the coastal town of Phan Thiet, 300 kilometres north of Ho Chi Minh City. South Fork Development Company has applied to develop a $1 billion resort in the town.

The company was to begin with registered capital of $25 million. “But that is just the start-up capital,” South Fork Director Le Thi Dung said. “In the next five to seven years, six large American companies would bring in some $1 billion to develop the project if the investment licence is awarded.”

The six American investors include many of the world’s biggest names in film, entertainment and amusement parks. Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney, Disney’s California Adventure, MGM, Warner Bros and Hong Kong Disney are all slated to become involved.

The investors expect to attract ‘five-star’ visitors from around the world by transforming Phan Thiet into a world-class resort.

The project document has already been submitted to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

“The project is undergoing an appraisal process,” an official from the MPI’s Foreign Investment Agency said.

The project will cover 600 hectares, encompassing five coastal resorts with about 900 rooms, two 18-hole golf courses and a 6,000-seat international conference centre.

A central area named ‘Downtown Asia’ will feature cultural specialities from Asian nations, a leisure area modelled on Disneyland and a park.

“The five resorts will be built with different architectural styles and all will be designed to top international standards. The American investors behind the project do not want to see mid-level products,” Dung said.

She said the two golf courses were planned to be designed by USA Nicklaus Designs, an international reputed golf course designer. The facilities will cover nearly 200 hectares of land with $4 million to be invested in each one.

“Construction will start soon after the investment licence is awarded,” Dung said, adding that the investors see no problems in land clearance as the area is virtually unoccupied and the local government has provided them with full support.

The first facilities to be built will include the international conference area, the golf courses and the resorts and are expected to be inaugurated after 30 months. The remainder are scheduled to finish in some five years.
Dung said the project had been initiated three years ago and received strong support from the US government.

“It is a typical investment of US investors in Vietnam with the participation of several American names,” she said.

She added that the investors had been contented by the working manner and support of the Vietnamese government officials at both central and local levels.

“Vietnam today is viewed as one of the most secure destination for investors around the world,” Dung said.

The MPI’s Foreign Investment Agency official said the project had mirrored the increasing interests of America’s “top brands” in the Vietnamese investment environment.

It was also a good sign pointing to a promising year for foreign investment attraction to Vietnam, he said.

By Le Minh
(Vietnam Investment Review)