Vietnam’s farms offer major untapped tourism potential

11:15 | 25/06/2018 Society

(VEN) - Home to more than 70 percent of Vietnam’s population and to a large part of the country’s historical and cultural relic sites, rural areas have major potential for combining agriculture and tourism in keeping with the worldwide trend of agro-tourism.

vietnams farms offer major untapped tourism potential
Development of agro-tourism has become a growing trend in Vietnam

Speaking last month at a seminar on sustainable eco-tourism and agriculture and rural development, Nguyen Quy Phuong of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said agro-tourism would help farmers preserve their traditions and culture, while improving their income and living standards.

“Local farmers could use their produce and production as a craft demonstration to tourists, while earning more from tourism service beyond than the harvest itself,” Phuong said.

Phuong said agro-tourism had been successful in Thailand, Japan and Chinese Taipei, but was still a new concept in Vietnam.

A number of farming localities are already working with travel companies. For example, My Hoa Hung, Tan Trung and Van Giao communes in the southwestern province of An Giang are promoting tourism successfully. Each of these communes in Long Xuyen, Phu Tan and Tinh Bien districts has 10-15 farmer households offering homestays and river cruise tours, including tours to the Tra Su mangrove forest and fishing tours. Their success has encouraged other districts in the province to develop tourist services.

The southern central province of Quang Nam is renowned for its Tra Que vegetable village, Thanh Ha pottery village, and Cu Lao Cham fishing village, which all have become attractive destinations for visitors.

VNAT says agriculture-based tourism development has increased sales of farm produce and farm produce-derived products, including beverages, handicraft and fine art articles, through restaurants and hotels. Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism data show that demand for farm and orchard tours and other tourist offerings like high-tech agricultural products increase 20-30 percent annually.

Pham Ha, CEO and founder of Luxury Travel Company, said tourists want to explore local lifestyles during their visit. They come to Vietnam to understand how farmers grow rice and cook from farm produce, and they even cook themselves after a farm experience tour, Ha said.

Deputy Director of Quang Nam Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Le Ngoc Tuong said agro-tourism also requires huge investment in infrastructure, brand promotion and information technology.

Nguyen Van Tuan, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said the tourism and

agriculture sectors should cooperate more closely. VNAT has launched the One Commune One Product (OCOP)

program, requiring each locality to develop their own distinct tourist product, while providing them with preferential

policies to improve their access to capital.

Bao Thoa