Why Vietnam Is Perfect for Ecotourism

15.000 faunal species, 13.000 floral species, 54 ethnic minorities and 3 newly discovered big animal species

As you can see Vietnam has enormous (eco) tourism potential.

“Tourism development has become a spearhead economic industry indeed. It is necessary to improve the quality and effectiveness of tourism activities, bringing into full play the natural conditions, and cultural and historical tradition to meet the domestic and international demand for tourism and to catch up with tourism development in the region” (Document of the IX National Congress 2001).

Tourism has so far brought great benefits to the Vietnamese economy. However it has also contributed to environmental degradation, especially biodiversity deterioration

What is ecotourism?

The term ‘ecotourism’ comes from the concept that sustainable development, defined as the development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, has to be considered within tourism development. In simple words, ‘ecotourism’ refers to ecological and environmental tourism, nature and green tourism, sustainable and responsible tourism.

Ecotourism involves travel to untouched natural areas with the specific object of studying, admiring and enjoying scenery, plants, and animals, as well as any ethnic minorities found in these areas. Differently from mass or resort tourism, ecotourism is characterized by a low impact on the environment, a low infrastructure requirement and a major role in educating tourists about natural environments and cultural values.

What are the principles of ecotourism?

  1. To educate tourists on the natural environment to raise their awareness and get them involved in conservation work. Tour operators, tourist guides,  managers and other ecotourism staff are responsible for environmental education
  2.  To protect the environment and maintain vulnerable ecosystems. Ecotourism should be associated with sustainable development, human love for  nature, and protection of the environment
  3.  To maintain and promote cultural identity and involve local communities in ecotourism. Tourists often like to visit ethnic minority villages to observe  the culture, meet local people, and participate in traditional activities. The ethnic minorities who live in or near nature reserves maintain distinctive  lifestyles, cultural identities, and traditional customs. These features are part of the real value of ecotourism.

Why Vietnam?

The government of Vietnam has prioritized ecotourism in its strategy for tourism development in order to ensure both sustainability and economic benefits. Despite ecotourism in Vietnam is at a beginning stage of development, it is expected to grow strongly through support from government and international organizations.

But that’s not all. In fact Vietnam is considered one of sixteen countries with the highest biodiversity in a wide range of ecosystems.

There is possibly no better place for ecotourism than the beautiful, diverse and blessed by Mother Nature Vietnam.

Ecosystems

Vietnam enjoys some of the most various landscapes you could find in a single country. Mountains, hills, beaches, caves, bays, lagoons, sand dunes, waterfalls can all be found within the national borders, making the ecosystem one of the biggest and most various in the world.

Vietnam’s coast (over 3.000 km) counts infinite seagrass species (second only to the Philippines), a huge coral reef with a wide range of flora and fauna and long sandy beaches. Lagoons in Central Vietnam are not only very high in biodiversity with a high number of seaweeds and mollusks but also contain mineral resources and help regulate the local climate. The country’s mangrove forests, national parks and mountains’ evergreen forests host a great variety of faunal and floral species that are under governments’ protection.

Ethnic communities

Vietnam is culturally and historically extremely rich, with 54 ethnic minorities living in communities spread all over the country. One of the principles of ecotourism is to preserve cultural integrity because human value cannot be separated from natural value.

Many ecotourism destinations are indeed inhabited by ethnic minorities and the principle of “encouraging community participation in ecotourism activities” should both create income and help maintain cultural identity. These ethnic communities have a deep understanding of traditional festivals, cultivation and land use customs, culinary culture, traditional lifestyle, handicrafts and historical places.

 

Why Sens Asia?

Why should you choose the experts? Let me tell you why Sens Asia.

Most of the tourist guide and tour organizers have insufficient environmental training or indigenous knowledge to engage in education work. A research by Pham Trung Luong shows that ecotourism guides lack of environmental knowledge (80% about flora and fauna species, 80% about natural resources typical in their area).

Many tours still lack in management and visitor regulations. Some tourists are not fully aware of environmental protection and reluctant to pay conservation fees. If they throw rubbish or cut tree branches, they are not fined. As a result, some tourist areas have suffered serious environmental degradation.

Very often local people are not involved in ecotourism and most tourist guides have poor knowledge of the indigenous culture. Therefore, tourists get no exposure to Vietnam’s diverse cultural identities. In addition, local people still live in poverty and their life is associated with natural resources. The economic benefits of ecotourism need to be shared with them, but this will not happen without community participation.

Still wondering why you need Sens Asia’s expertise?

We offer a positive impact on local communities, on their society and their economy.

We, with your help, contribute to improve the lifestyle of these communities engaging them through employment and the implement of the infrastructures.

We are locals and based on the territory. Indeed we have great knowledge in sustainability, ecosystems and culture.

We provide “training and tips” to our clients in order to be able to protect and conserve vulnerable ecosystems, wildlife and cultural integrity.

We give you the chance to embrace the nature in some of the most beautiful ecolodges in the country. Breathe in the fresh air and sense of freedom of the forest, enjoy your morning coffee entertained by bird songs and fall asleep rocked by night sounds.

Besides ecolodges, our trips include homestays where you will have the chance to experience the Vietnamese rural life, enjoy walks along villages, rice terraces, cascades and natural pools, eat food prepared by the locals such as chicken with sour bamboo and purple sticky rice, visit local farms and fishing communities.

Also the transports aim to preserve the nature. The variety of wonderful landscape in Vietnam embrace perfectly the ecotourism cause, and make possible to enjoy long walks through villages and on hills and cycle tour among rice fields and vast untouched lands beside the use of the local communities’ transports.

The new trend of sustainable tourism is growing fast in Vietnam, and how couldn’t in such a beautiful place. This way, holidays are not only seen as relaxing time but also moments to do activities socially responsible and positive and help to protect the local communities as well as the ecosystems.

Head to SensAsia blog to read more stories like this one.

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