» » Paper firm plans $56 mln highland resort

The Lam Dong Paper Materials Enterprise is seeking permission to build a VND900 billion (US$55.9 million) eco-tourism resort and golf course in Lam Dong Province’s Di Linh District, a company source said Thursday.

The company, an arm of the southern Dong Nai-based Tan Mai Paper Joint Stock Company, has applied for provincial government approval for the Kala Lake Resort covering nearly 4,000 hectares in Bao Thuan Commune in Di Linh District.

The project, on the shores of Kala Lake, will include a 90-hectare resort, an underground resort, an 18-hole golf course, a luxury hotel and restaurants.

It will also be home to a craft village where visitors can see gong performances and local ethnic artisans making handmade products such as tho cam (ethnic fabric).

Visitors to the resort complex will also be able to climb mountains, row dug-out canoes on Kala Lake, go camping or visit ethnic villages in the forests.

The Central Highland province of Lam Dong, with its capital of Da Lat, has so far attracted 145 tourism development projects with registered capital of dozens of trillion of dong, according to the city government’s website.

The province welcomed 545,000 tourists, including 34,000 foreigners, in the first quarter of this year.

It aims to attract 2.5 million tourists this year compared with 2.2 million last year.

Hanoi to encourage investments in parking lots

The Hanoi government will adjust its policies to encourage businesses and individuals to build parking lots.

This will discourage people from parking on pavements, the 13th session of the Hanoi People’s Council heard Friday.

At the three-day meeting, which wraps up today, the municipal People’s Committee Deputy Chairman Nguyen Van Khoi said the capital’s government would only approve multi-story building projects with underground parking floors.

The committee will set up an interdisciplinary working group to impose fines on those who violate the city’s regulations on vehicle parking, Khoi said.

Also at the meeting, Committee Deputy Chairman Hoang Manh Hien said this year the capital will inspect and cut unnecessary and ineffective public construction projects in order to focus capital on traffic and social security projects.

Proposed bill allows foreigners apartments only: ministry

The Construction Ministry has maintained that foreigners in Vietnam will only be allowed to buy apartments, not land or houses.

The restriction is included in a proposed draft regulation that would allow eligible foreigners to own apartments for 70 years and extend ownership once for another 70 years.

But the limitation might not be considered as such as foreigners are currently prohibited from buying apartments as well.

A source told Thanh Nien that the proposed bill would be brought up for consideration and vote at the mid-year full house session next month.

Most members of the Standing Committee, the leading body of the unicameral National Assembly, approved of the draft regulation, the source said.

Participants at the National Assembly Standing Committee session Thursday asked why the draft allowed land, but not houses or villas.

Minister Nguyen Hong Quan said possessing houses or villas had to do with land use rights.

“The current land laws do not grant foreigners the same land-use rights as Vietnamese,” he said.

Allowing foreigners to buy houses or villas would also complicate land management in terms of security, national defense and sovereignty, said Quan.

“Many other regional countries only allow foreigners to buy apartments,” Quan said without naming which countries.

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