The Building Will Continue Until Morale Improves
Phu Quoc's grim future
Good morning! This is a rare three-post week for the Vietnam Weekly, starting with Monday’s special edition on the (hopefully temporary) shuttering of the Mekong Review. Today is a subscriber-only feature on another uplifting topic: the ongoing environmental destruction of Phu Quoc. You can subscribe to receive future paid articles (US$5/month, US$50/year) below.
Friday will include the usual free-to-read weekly round-up. I’m taking next week off for the Independence Day holiday.
What will become of Phu Quoc?
If you follow international travel news, you’ve likely come across articles celebrating the beauty of Phu Quoc.
Local news outlets routinely celebrate these distinctions, and PR material from new resorts shares blather like “Phu Quoc transcends cliché as a true island paradise; a gem of rarest jade reposing in the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand” while adding that “more than half of the island has been protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2006.”
Untouched beaches and forests (the words, not actual beaches or forests) make regular appearances in tourism advertising.
Juxtapose this with other recent headlines from the same local news outlets: ‘Phu Quoc forests in state of emergency,’ ‘Illegal constructions spring up in Phu Quoc’s protected maritime areas,’ ‘Phu Quoc authorities order demolition of illegal 12-story hotel,’ and ‘Waste treatment on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island raises concern.’
So is Phu Quoc a gem, or garbage?