The over 1000-year-old banyan tree at Son Tra peninsula was considered as living entity and characteristic tree of Son Tra jungle. Recently, the Council of Vietnam Heritage Trees has recognized Son Tra tree as “Heritage tree”, which has contributed to raise consciousness of the community in conserving nature and to awake tourism potential at Son Tra peninsula.
Bringing tourists to heritage tree
Located in the southeast of Son Tra peninsula, Son Tra tree was rated as one of the largest trees here. This banyan tree has the perimeter of 10m, 26 lateral roots, each root about 25m high, at the zone 63 of Son Tra Nature Conservation area. Son Tra tree has been recognized as heritage tree by Danang Association of protection of nature and environment because the tree has satisfied all the rigorous requirements in many aspects such as history, growth process, culture and tourism…
This is the first heritage tree in Da Nang, which is significant to enhance the value of Son Tra jungle as well as create vibrant natural populations for the conservation and development of vegetation here. “The recognition of the heritage Son Tra banyan tree aims to promote the richness and diversity of the flora in Son Tra peninsula nature conservation as well as raise consciousness of the community when traveling here”, said Mr. Le Van Nhi, Head of Forest Management of Son Tra – Ngu Hanh Son district.
Not only has values in terms of nature conservation, Son Tra banyan tree is also a tourist destionation that attracts many travelers to visit Son Tra jungle, especially adventure tours and ecotourism. Representatives of travel agencies said that they have brought plenty of attractions at Son Tra peninsula in the tour program before, but the facilities as well as the dissemination and promotion were limited. Many travel agencies have estimated that the recognition of “heritage Son Tra banyan tree” will contribute to enhance the tourism image of Son Tra peninsula, as well as stimulate the curiosity of the tourists, especially foreigners.
However, to introduce the heritage tree to more tourists, the most essential thing is to improve the dissemination, promotion, reportages to make this destination become a bright spot in the Son Tra peninsula tour program. Besides, the investment in upgrading the stops, building toilets and transit stations… is also a question that the city’s tourism industry needs to consider when exploiting the heritage tree.
“Travel agencies always want to bring more tourists to the Son Tra peninsula to awake the potential of this jungle. The recognition of the heritage tree will help travel agencies to convince easily visitors when introducing the Son Tra tour. But to take good advantage of this tour, we need to have infrastructure investments and connect to many destinations at Son Tra like Truong Mai tourism, Vong Canh house, the top of Ban Co… in the development of potential tourism products such as trekking, team building, eco-tourism”, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Lien, Vice Director of the domestic market, Vietnam Tourism Corporation (Vitours) has proposed.
Exploit and conserve at the same time
Management Board of Son Tra peninsula and Danang beach said that last times, besides some group tours for domestic and foreign tourists, Son Tra tree has also attracted environmental foreign researchers, student of Biology – Environment who come here to study and learn about nature.
Therefore, besides the aim of tourism development, taking advantage of Son Tra tree should be connected to the conservation for the growth and durable development of a “heritage tree” in the future. According to experts, the population of banyan trees on Son Tra peninsula are one of the important food sources for brown-legged langurs. If the tree is well preserved, it will be a place for this rare primate species to move and in search of food to protect the environment.
Representatives of travel agencies said that, in most of the tours to Son Tra peninsula, visitors always love trekking, taking a bike ride to enjoy completely the beauty of the jungle; they don’t want to go sightseeing by moto. Most of these trips are spontaneous so it appears that many tourists carve out the tree trunk indiscriminately without the management of the authorities. Especially on weekends and holidays, many young travelers bring food, drinks around the heritage tree area for fun or entertainment; that makes the image of this attractive destination unpleasant.
“The carving on the tree trunk has a strong influence to the longevity as well as the growth of Son Tra tree. So I think when we exploit it for tourism, we need to take the effective plan to conserve this valuable resource”, said Mr. Nhi.