14:04 | 10/11/2016 Society
(VEN) - The EU-funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Program (EU-ESRT) recently organized an annual conference in Hanoi to promote responsible tourism for sustainable growth in Vietnam.
Participants reviewed the program’s results over the past six years and discussed directions for maintaining sustainability through the principles of responsible tourism.
The core principle of responsible tourism is creating a good living environment for residents, while at the same time creating attractive destinations for tourists. In the opinion of experts, the successful application of this principle is based on the full awareness of all involved parties (the state, businesses, local community, and tourists) on responsible tourism.
The global market demand for responsible tourism products is growing, requiring the entire tourism sector to take action to meet the demand.
Responsible tourism has been widely known in the world since the release of the Cape Town Declaration in South Africa in 2002, but in Vietnam it remains a new concept. However, the EU-ESRT program over the past six years has to some extent made Vietnamese authorities aware of the necessity of responsible tourism development. The program has successfully made responsible tourism an indispensable part of Vietnam’s tourism development plans. The awareness of responsible tourism has spread to different parts of the country thanks to tight coordination with localities, destinations, and local communities.
Public-private dialogue (PPD) mechanisms created through the establishment of a Tourism Advisory Board and a Destination Management Organization marked significant progress of tourism management in Vietnam. Documents have been compiled for on-site training uses at tourism businesses as well as for reference to make training curricula for tourism colleges.
According to the Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, Ambassador Bruno Angelet, the EU has supported the Vietnamese tourism sector throughout the past decade. He hoped the EU-ESRT program would lay the foundation for Vietnam to promote sustainable and responsible tourism.
The EU-ESRT program will end in late 2016. Truong Nam Thang, an EU-ESRT program expert, believed that the deep awareness and a joint pledge of stakeholders to responsible tourism would contribute further to the sustainable development of this sector in Vietnam.
Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Director General Nguyen Van Tuan affirmed, “We pledge to make the most of the EU-ESRT program’s results.” He hoped the EU would further support the Vietnamese tourism sector so that it can contribute significantly to hunger eradication, poverty reduction, and socioeconomic development.
The EU-ESRT program totally worth €12.1 million has been developed in Vietnam since 2011 and will end this November. It has provided 460 training courses for 13,276 attendants; improved awareness of responsible tourism for 32,572 secondary school students, and posted technical documents online with 70,410 downloads.