Vietnam’s tourism industry grapples with environmental challenges

13:00 | 16/12/2020 Environment

(VEN) - Vietnam's tourism industry has made  significant progress in recent years, contributing greatly to the country’s socioeconomic development. In addition to ensuring the economic contribution of tourism, authorities and tourism facilities have sought to mitigate the negative environmental effects of this fast-growing sector.

vietnams tourism industry grapples with environmental challenges
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Vietnam is among the countries most challenged by climate change. It has approved the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the National Strategy on Green Growth, demonstrating the government’s strong commitment to environmental protection against climate change and the blight of rapid development, including that of the tourism industry.

Ngo Hoai Chung, Deputy General Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) assessed that tourism activities have contributed to increasing biodiversity through the construction of parks and safari areas for animal and plant conservation. In addition, the construction of tourism resorts has enhanced some landscapes and covered barren land with green trees. Tourism activities have also helped preserve and restore cultural heritage sites. Its growing contribution to the GDP yields revenues for investment in environmental protection.

Insufficient waste collection, treatment

However, the challenges and pressures on Vietnam's tourism are huge. According to a recent VNAT report, Vietnam's tourism destinations are facing challenges in terms of service quality, and especially environmental protection. For example, waste collection at beaches has been improved, but is still lacking. At relic sites, the collection and disposal of rubbish also remains slow, especially during festivals. Many tourism businesses do not have environmental assessment records, or they have not taken measures to protect the environment.

Deputy Director of the Hotel Department under VNAT Nguyen Thanh Binh said accommodation facilities and resorts are consuming a lot of energy and other natural resources for electricity, water, food and drink, and creating pollution through the use of chemicals, plastics, etc. As of December 2019, Vietnam had about 30,000 accommodation facilities with 650,000 rooms, 33 times and 19 times higher than the number of facilities and rooms respectively compared to 2000. This development has met the needs of the tourism market, but also places heavy pressure on infrastructure and natural resources. Some tourist destinations encountered water and power shortages and produced large amounts of waste that was not treated properly, causing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The VNAT added that although many accommodation facilities and resorts are using environmentally friendly products and technologies, many others are not and have also not implemented green management procedures, energy savings and proper waste treatment.

The VNAT has recently launched an environmental protection campaign as part of its tourism promotion

activities to implement tasks assigned by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism and respond to the

revised Law on Environmental Protection passed by the 14th National Assembly on November 17, 2020.

Hoa Quynh