Only 164 people visited the natural masterpiece, Son Doong cave, located in the heart of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO-recognised nature heritage site, in the first half of this year.
Managers said the figure is still modest in comparison with visitors’ demand, however it generated a revenue of nearly 10 billion VND (nearly 470,000 USD) for central Quang Binh province, the host locality of the cave.
Many people who have booked the tour, which is sold online only, said they are still waiting for their turn to explore the cave, which is described as the largest in the world.
Nguyen Van Ky, vice director of the Quang Binh Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, revealed that only four trips, each having eight people, were organised a month as the tour is still on a trial basis.
The province plans to review the tour’s efficiency, including its cost, in August this year in a bid to make the optimal plans for future exploratory activities. During the trial period, each seven-day-and-six-night tour costs a visitor 3,000 USD.
Recently, the cave welcomed Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Quang Binh opened Son Doong Cave in 2013, instantly catapulting it onto the bucket lists of travellers around the world.
The cave’s entrance was first discovered by a local man in 1991, and was further explored by a group of cavers from the British Cave Research Association in 2009. This was the third cave to be discovered in the central province – an expansive karst area buried deep in the jungle.
The cave is said to have been created two to five million years ago with river water eroding the limestone underneath the mountain. It is also described as having enough space to house 40-storey skyscrapers and 100-feet-tall trees.
Son Doong has a length of at least 6.5 kilometres and is estimated to be 200 metres in width and at least 150 metres in height, while its very largest chamber is an incredible 250 metres in height, enough space to accommodate 40-storey skyscrapers.
Cave tourism has recently turned Quang Binh into a hot spot for visitors from around the world.