The Conference was attended by leaders from Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), People’s Committees of the eight Greater North Western (GNW) provinces, representatives of the ESRT programme, SNV, a number of tourism education and training institutes and some major tourism enterprises operating in the region. The conference aimed at discussing the ESRT activities in the eight GNW provinces and thereby defining cooperation directions for implementation of such activities to assist them in 2012.
The ESRT is the largest technical assistance programme funded by the EU. 11 million Euros was provided by the EU while 1.1 million Euros was contributed by the Vietnamese government. In addition to its positive impacts on the tourism sector, the successful implementation of the ESRT programme will make significant contribution to Vietnam’s sustainable development via pro-poverty, environmental and gender impacts.
At the conference, representatives of the eight GNW provinces stated that their tourism Human Resources, including state administration officials and enterprises’ personnel are lacked and weak in terms of professional knowledge. They, therefore, fail to meet development requirements. Almost all the personnel working in community-based tourism sector have not attended official training courses, which leads to low-quality service. Moreover, these provinces have not successfully developed unique products for their localities in order to establish a brand name for the eight provinces’ tourism cooperation programme. The ESRT’s presence in the region brings a good opportunity for them to utilize the programme’s assistance in terms of destination management, tourism promotion and marketing, mechanism development for effective cooperation and HR training.
From its side, the ESRT programme highly appreciated the close cooperation among the eight GNW provinces based on SNV’s initiative. ESRT considers this region to be the key area when implementing its activities, in order to achieve identified outputs in the Overall Workplan. Specific activities to be implemented in endeavours to assist the eight GNW provinces in 2012 include:
1. Establishing the Destination Management Board for the GNW provinces to coordinate inter-regional tourism activities and to develop inter-provincial cooperative mechanism, in which Lao Cai will play the leading role. The establishment of this Destination Management Board is a pilot activity implemented in the GNW area in cooperation with SNV, which will serve as a foundation for the duplication of this model in other regions in cooperation with the initiatives of ILO, AECID and UNESCO.
2. Co-implementing the project of sustainable tourism development, community-based tourism in association with local culture and environmental protection in the eight provinces, i.e. to organise tourism activities at ethnic minority villages with a view to develop unique tourist destinations which can bring tourists valuable experiences and discoveries; as well as creating opportunities to improve the community’s capacity, diversify industries and generate more income for local people.
This activity was identified to materialise such results as forming typical community-based models representing typical ethnic groups in each GNW province. Besides, restoring and effectively exploiting community cultural values like folk music, cuisine and festivals… to offer tourists. This activity will also help to enhance the role of the women in the community and provide ethnic minority people with chances for poverty reduction by being involved in community-based tourism activities.
3. Cooperating in promoting and marketing tourism, including: supporting GNW provinces to access the market and travel enterprises through familiarisation trips to typical community-based tourism destinations and unique products developed from the cooperative programme. The introduction of tourism products and activities of the eight GNW provinces will be boosted though VNAT’s official websites.
4. Cooperating in developing local Human Resources: this activity will first and foremost concentrate on training and fostering state administration capacity in tourism for officials in charge of tourism activities in districts and cities in the region. It, at the same time, will provide training courses on tourism profession for officials working at Tourism Departments and Tourism Resources Development Departments. Besides, the project will continue to offer support to implementation of training courses on vocational skills according to VTOS standards and training programmes suited for local demand and situation.
With close collaboration of the eight GNW provinces and participation of relevant stakeholders including local communities, state administrative agencies and tourism enterprises and donors like ESRT and SNV, etc., it is believed that this will be a successful cooperative model, continue to be expanded in other regions, aiming at an environmentally and socially responsible tourism industry.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE COOPERATION PROGRAMME OF 8 GREATER NORTHWEST PROVINCES
The cooperation programme of 8 Greater Northwest Provinces based on the “Northern Highlands Trail” of SNV, Designed to benefit an estimated 250,000 people in eight of the poorest provinces of Viet Nam. The programme includes policy, product development, human resources development and marketing.
The cooperation set legislation for the mentioned provinces in being proactive to develop local annual action plans. In 2011, the programme has successfully conducting familiarise trip of multi-province trail, combining with visiting sustainable tourism and community-based tourism projects in the area, attracting more than 30 tourism enterprises through out the country. The website development plan for the whole area was conducted in 2010 and until now, SNV experts are finalising necessary processes to launch the website of the 8 provinces. Especially, in 2011, finalising the logo and slogan for 8 Greater Northwest Provinces which is the first and cohesive tourism brand of interlinked provinces in Vietnam.
1. 8 Northwest provinces include Dien Bien, Yen Bai, Son La, Hoa Binh, Phu Tho, Ha Giang, Lai Chau and Lao Cai.