Cam Ranh, Vietnam: Tourism ambitions along a fast-developing stretch of Vietnamese coastline have shifted into high gear with the opening of a new terminal for international passengers at Cam Ranh International Airport.
Built at a cost of US$163 million over a construction period of 2½ years, the addition opens the door at one of Vietnam’s four major airports to as many as eight million passengers per year — or almost 4.8 million more than it handled in 2017.
“Our portal has been a bottleneck,” said Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, General Manager of The Anam, which opened last year as the first five-star resort in Cam Ranh. “It’s limited the number of people we’ve been able to bring into the destination, no matter that we’ve got the longest runway in Vietnam. But now the bottleneck’s been broken.”
Long considered mostly a gateway to the bustling bayside city of Nha Trang, Cam Ranh is becoming a destination in its own right due to the evolution of Long Beach, an idyllic, eight-kilometre sweep of white sand less than five minutes from the airport.
Indeed, since 2015 more than 30 hospitality projects have been licensed for development along the strip. Many are hotels that do or will carry an international brand name.
The biggest venture is KN Paradise, an 800-hectare resort that is slated to include a suite of hotels and an array of real estate opportunities and entertainment options.
Its first components – a Greg Norman-designed golf course called KN Golf Links Cam Ranh and a 572-key Wyndham Grand Hotel – are scheduled to officially open in September.
“Cam Ranh has the potential to be a world-class tourist destination,” said Le Van Kiem, KN Paradise’s developer and a former military man who trained in the dunes of Cam Ranh when he was in the army. “With the airport expansion, we’ll now get to see just how long it takes.”
Designed to mimic a type of bird’s nest common in Khanh Hoa Province, the new terminal at Cam Ranh International Airport is a two-story structure with almost 52,000 square metres of floor space.
Contractors on the project included Singapore-based architecture firm CPG Consultants, Pacific Architects & Engineers out of the US, and Vietnamese construction company Airport Design & Construction Consultancy.
In May, the airport received more than 30 international flights per day, the majority coming from China, Russia and Korea.
That number is expected to increase significantly by the start of next year with the addition of regular services from Singapore, Thailand and Japan, and more flights from domestic destinations such as Phu Quoc.