As a mountainous district of Lao Cai province, in the Northwest economy of Vietnam, Sapa has spectacular natural scenery, fresh air and is the home to ethnic minorities. In recent years, the renewal of economic mechanisms, along with the economic development of Lao Cai province as well the whole country, the Sapa economy has the steady development. The average economic growth from 1991 - 1995 reached 8.5% / year then reduced by the objective effects of economic and finance crisis in the region. The crisis affected the service and tourism industry of the district, the growth rate from 1996 - 2000 was 6.8% / year. In recent years, the district's economy had the growth, in 2000, increased 7.6% and in 2001 rose to 7.80%. The economy in Sapa has seen positive changes gradually reducing the proportion of agriculture - forestry, increasing the proportion of service industry - tourism.
In past years, agriculture sector plays a key role in the economy of Sapa, accounting for over 89% the social labor. The production value of the sector continuously grew. In 1995, it reached 14 481 million VND and in 2000 was 23 903 million VND. The average growth rate in the period 1996 - 2000 reached 10.55% / year. In 2001 the agricultural production value was 26 197 million VND, increased 9.60% compared to in 2000 (according to the constant price in 1994).
In term of the cultivation, the district has applied the scientific and technical progress, used new rice variety, performed intensive cultivation and expanded the farming land. The area of farming land reached 3.419ha, increased 65ha compared to in 2000.
The industrial crops, fruit trees, vegetable plants were developed to meet the consumer demand of the people. The soybean yield increased rapidly from 28.86 tons in 1995 to 49 tons in 2001, the nut yield rose from 18.5 tons to 30 tons in the same period. The raising sector is still maintained and developed. Overall agricultural production in recent years has the development and contributes to stabilize the lives of people.
In addition, the production value of Sapa forestry sector in recent years has grown rapidly. In 1995 reaches 6.8 billion VND, in 2000 was 15.7 billion VND. The average growth from 1996 to 2001 reached 16.77% / year. In 2001, the forestry sector protected and took care of 20526.52 hectares of natural forest, 2,000 ha of forest regeneration, planted 250 hectares under 5 million ha of forest programs of the Government and planted 78,000 trees.
In term of fishery sector, the area of water surface for aquaculture of Sa Pa is not much, the production value in 1995 reached 51.3 million VND, in 2000 reached 23.7 million VND (compared to the constant price in1994).
The production value reached 1242.6 million in 2000 and 1.300 million in 2001. The industry accounts for a very small proportion of the Sapa economy. The district has 38 industrial production facilities and small scale industry, of which 15 quarries, 14 food processing units and 9 production facilities recycled products (wood , bamboo ...) with the small scale.
In recent years, with the opening of the economy, Sapa tourism has the strong development. In 2001, the district has 335 commercial businesses, motels, hotels, of which there are 233 enterprises running in the commercial field, 102 restaurants and hotels. The economic area having the foreign capital investment has formed. Now, there is an enterprise with 100% foreign capital of France trading in the luxury hotel with an investment of millions of dollars.
The state trade system is strengthened, always keeps the leading role in the provision of essential goods and price stability in the market. In 2000, the total retail sales of goods and services reached 23.557 million VND and in 2001 reached about 30 billion VND (according to the current price).
The tourism industry is considered to be an advantage and a key industry in the strategic economic development of the district in recent years. The number of tourists, number of stay days and revenue from tourism activities constantly increase. In 2001, the district welcomes about 45,000 tourists including 44% of foreign tourists and 56% of domestic tourists. The revenue increased from 3.068 million VND in 1995 to 21.883 million in 2000 and reached 25,000 million VND in 2001.
The strong growth in tourism has helped the proportion of tourism and service industry rise sharply in the economic structure of the district. In the past 3 years, the proportion of the tourism sector has increased from 55% in 2010 to 58% in 2013, agriculture, forestry, industry and construction accounts for only 42%. In 2013, the number of tourists to Sapa reached 720,000 arrivals; the total tourism revenue reached 576 billion VND. The development of Sapa economy also contributes the development of Vietnam economy in recent years.