Over the past couple of years, we’ve been watching the disappearance of Cua Dai Beach on Vietnam’s central coast. It’s been a shocking sight. Barely a decade into its life, Cua Dai’s promise as a global beach tourism destination, seems to be fading forever - a victim of overzealous tourism development and wild weather. Efforts at rehabilitating the beach have failed, and erosion continues to head north - making more resorts beachless as it goes. Some locals and expats are even speculating the erosion will reach An Bang beach, where the displaced locals and travellers have headed since Cua Dai disappeared. The losses to the resorts on the strip must be massive. And the loss of an asset for local people is immeasurable. I try and imagine what would happen if Bondi in Sydney suddenly disappeared? Only a few years ago, I’d head down to Cua Dai for a daily ocean swim each time I visited Hoi An. I used to chat with one of the lifeguards, Mr Nam, the guy in the pic. By chance, Mr Nam was there again on Saturday, and he was visibly upset as he talked about the loss of his beach. He’s held on to his job with his resort luckily. Most haven’t. But his beach seems gone for good. The loss of the beach is attributed to a mix of overdevelopment, poor river management and the impact of increasingly severe weather. The Cua Dai disaster doesn’t seem to be dampening the enthusiasm of local officials for mega-projects though. New mass-tourism developments are under construction and others are in the pipeline. They invariably include golf courses, casinos and massive hotels.
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