Officials in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi have reportedly approved a plan that is to see a $500 million multi-purpose entertainment facility complete with a horseracing track constructed in the city’s northern Soc Son District.

Economic growth:

According to a report from Retail News Asia, the coming development for the largely rural area located some 25 miles from downtown is all part of a master plan that has been designed to increase tourism and socio-economic growth in the region over the course of the next decade.

Tourism on the rise:

Citing official government figures, Retail News Asia reported that 2018 has so far seen Hanoi attract over 26 million tourists including some 5.7 million from overseas, which represent year-on-year increases of 9% and 16% respectively. The local government is keen to continue this growth and expects the horseracing portion of the coming complex to stage its first meet sometime in 2021.

Development to create jobs:

A Tuesday report from the Vietnam News Agency published by predicted that the completed development is expected to employ approximately 5,000 locals and create up to 25,000 indirect jobs. Its operation is to also lead to a significant rise in tax revenues and help the region of over 16 million inhabitants to attract even more foreign visitors.

Long time coming:

Retail News Asia reported that the idea of building a horseracing track near Hanoi was first floated in 1999 with the city’s southern Thanh Tri District and adjacent Hoang Mai District then considered the most likely locations. But, this inaugural suggestion ultimately failed due to a purported lack of local sportsbetting regulations as well as rules governing the sport.

However, the prospect of bringing a first horseracing track to Vietnam reportedly resurfaced some eight years later after local travel firm Hanoi Tourist partnered with South Korean consultancy Global Consultant Network to ask for permission to research just such an idea. Retail News Asia explained that they were subsequently told that the sport would be legalized once rules to govern sportsbetting were approved by the Asian nation’s 500-seat National Assembly, which eventually took place earlier this year.

Successor rumors:

Retail News Asia reported that the prospect of a horseracing facility opening on the outskirts of the country’s second largest city has prompted speculation that multiple foreign firms are currently investigating the feasibility of premiering similar operations near the even larger Ho Chi Minh City, which was known as Saigon until 1976, as well as in the northern provinces of Vinh Phuc and Bac Ninh.