In this connection, responsible tourism is one of the most significant contemporary issues for tourism scholars and practitioners alike. Increasingly, destinations and tourism operations are endorsing and following "responsible tourism" as a pathway towards sustainable tourism. Responsible tourism and sustainable tourism have an identical goal, that of sustainable development. The pillars of responsible tourism are amongst others, environmental integrity, social justice, and inclusion; economic development and cultural preservation.
Cultural preservation plays a pivotal role in the recognition of the many strands of culture through language, stories, songs, dances and practical skills, all of which are seen as valuable contributors in maintaining and optimising cultural preservation.
Recently, the concept of Responsible Tourism has emerged among Vietnamese stakeholders as a response to perceived lack of sustainability and competitiveness the sector is facing. The Responsible Tourism Approach aims to provide positive experiences for visitors and hosts while generating environmental and cultural awareness and respect. This pro-poor approach will aim to minimize the negative impacts of tourism by empowering local people, including ethnic minorities to maximise their income and employment from tourism services provision. The Vietnamese Government fully supports this approach and is willing to mainstream responsible tourism to address environmental, ethical and social concerns into policy-making, planning and implementation.
Recognising tourism as spearheading economic development in Vietnam, the Government's policy priorities for the coming five years are:
· To create a modern institutional framework for the industry towards sustainable tourism development
· To promote public and private partnership development, and
· To develop Human Resources for tourism management
The Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme will aim to strengthen institutional and human capacity in order to fully realize the substantial socio-economic development benefits available from the tourism sector while protecting and enhancing the resources (natural and cultural) on which the sector depends. It builds on the successful EU project for Human Resources Development in Tourism (HRD Tourism Project) and sustains and further expands on the Vietnam Tourism Occupational Skills Standards System (VTOS).
In general, the overall objective, project purpose and identified key result areas of the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme are in full conformity with these policy priorities.