Authorities in the central province of Khanh Hoa have granted Vinpearl Joint Stock Company an area of nearly 1,500 hectares (3,706 acres) in the protected Nha Trang Bay for tourism investment, Tuoi Tre reported.
The involved area included more than 556 hectares of land and 926 hectares of bay, including the beaches and swamplands of Bai Ran, Bai Tre, Dam Bay, Vung Nga and Bich Dam on Hon Tre Island.
The grant came in response to a proposal made by the real estate and tourism investment company.
An official at the Nha Trang Bay management agency said that the land grant includes portions of Hon Tre's east coast - which was designated level-1 protected land.
The designation requires authorities to keep the protected area intact, though they can approve construction in the areas in special cases.
A deputy director at the Khanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said there has been no approved zoning plan for the area granted to Vinpearl.
In May, Khanh Hoa authorities appealed to the federal government to withdraw the protected land designation granted to Nha Trang Bay.
The provincial People's Committee deputy chairman Nguyen Chien Thang said the locality has "tied its own hands" since the bay was granted the title because any activities involving the area must comply with the Cultural Heritage Law and Environmental Protection Law.