Some experts say the work will destroy the landscape, biodiversity and especially the attractiveness of conquering Vietnam’s rooftop.
Fansipan – The mountain of conquerors
Tran Huu Son, director of Lao Cai’s Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, said that as a researcher he disagrees with the planned project.
“Conquering Mt. Fansipan is the dream of many people. They climb it to celebrate their wedding anniversary, for example, and even disabled people want to conquer it . With the cable car, people will flock in masses to the mountain, and Fansipan will not make any sense anymore,” he said.
The researcher also expressed his worry that the potential large number of people coming to the mountain will destroy the area’s biodiversity, which features many kinds of rare plants.
“For thousands of years, people have trekked to the mountain. The climbing has become a culture. The cable car will bring a lot of people there. It’s not good for the culture, it’s also not good for the environment,” he stated.
“It may bring a big profit at present, but it is also a threat for later generations,” he warned.
Sustainable tourism development must preserve the area’s cultural identity and protect the environment. “One day, if you come to Sapa and don’t see anyone wearing ethnic traditional costumes, you know that Sapa has died.”
“The cable car shouldn’t lead straight to the mountain’s peak”
That’s what some other experts’ think. Though they do not oppose the project outright on the project, they do not completely agree with it either.
“If the plan has been not approved, I suggest that the authorities put the final station of the system at a height of 2,000 meters, not at the highest peak,” opined Nguyen Luan, former chairman of Vietnam Architects' Association.
“The mountain’s peak is narrow, we cannot put such a massive structure on it,” he added. “The distance from the ending station to the mountain’s peak at the height of 3,143 meters will still be a challenge to climbers.”
Regarding the concern that the construction of the cable car system will destroy the area’s landscape, the architect said that if the construction process is managed carefully, there will be no serious damage.
Phung Van Khai, a tour designer who is the former director of Hapro Tour travel agency, said he agrees with the idea that the system should not lead to the mountain peak.
“As a semi-professional mountain climber, I think that the authorities should build stop stations along the path to the mountain’s peak,” he shared. “The peak is always for people who have faith and energy.”
Hoang Thuc Hao, a lecturer at the Hanoi University of Civil Engineering who is building the community house at Ta Pin Town in Sapa, said that what makes the mountain attractive is that it’s hard to conquer.
“If the cable car reaches the top of the mountain, it will affect the area’s biodiversity,” he shared.
“Each land has its own specific historical and cultural values. With this plan, I think we need to calculate the process carefully to preserve the area’s special values.”