The largest tourism development project in Vietnam will start in eight northwestern mountain provinces next year.
Local authorities, officially from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), tourism operators and training institutions in the region gathered in Lao City on December 27 to discuss the plan.
Accordingly, the Northwest Travel Destination Management Board will be set up to co-ordinate inter-regional tourism. Community-based tourism projects will be developed in ethnic villages to preserve local culture and protect the environment.
There will be strong support in promoting tourism of the eight provinces on their official websites. Representatives agreed for the need to build unique tourism products to harness the cultural and natural advantages of the region.
VNAT Deputy director Hoang Thi Diep said that the present approach to visitors did not meet demand, despite the large potential. “We will work with local authorities to sort out the obstacles hampering tourism development and find out solutions,” she said.
Representatives said one of the top challenges is the low quality of human resources. Most people went into community-based tourism without any training.
This made training an important component of the project. The northwestern provinces – Dien Bien, Yen Bai, Son La, Hoa Binh, Phu Tho, Ha Giang, Lai Chau and Lao Cai –this year received more than a million tourists who spent trillions of Vietnamese dongs.
The new project will be funded by a EUR11 million (US$14.3 million) grant from the European Union and EUR1.1 million (US$1.43 million) from the Vietnamese Government.