The main focus of the meeting was the discussion on Responsible Tourism development in Vietnam which is based upon social and environmental principles. It also provided an opportunity for tourism stakeholders to cooperate toward the establishment of the direction for responsible targets without damaging the environment, which is specific and vulnerable, as well as the integrity of the culture.
Opening the meeting, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Hung, vice chairmain of VNAT said “Mekong Delta is identified as one of the key areas for tourism development of the country according to the strategy and master plan for Vietnam Tourism Development to 2020 with vision to 2030. Therefore, promoting tourism development cooperation in the Mekong Delta Delta has always been one of the key issues concern and important task of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as well as VNAT”.
Next, representative of Kien Giang District of Cultures, Sports and Tourism updated recent cooperation situation of the three provinces with activities in five main cooperation areas including exchange of information and tourism management experiences; tourism product development planning; tourism promotion and communications; tourism development investment; human resource training and a shared tourism event. Although the three provinces have gained some positive results, they still face many challenges which prevent them from taking full advantages of their potentials and strengths.
At the meeting, the ESRT programme Team Leader, Ms. Mary Mckeon presented in more detail on Destination Management Organisation model with good practice in 3 Central Coast Provinces (Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Da Nang). Besides, the programme director, Mr. Vu Quoc Tri presented ESRT support activities up to date as well as in the future for the 3 Mekong Delta provinces following the principle of ensuring the effectiveness and sustainability.
Mr. Tri revealed that from now until the end of 2014, the ESRT would continue to implement Responsible Tourism training courses, VTOS training courses and training courses for staffs of provincial Districts of Cultures, Sports and Tourism on service quality management. The ESRT will also organise a study tour to 3 Central Coast provinces aiming at accumulating experience on Destination Management organisation.
According to the ESRT, in order to succeed, the three provinces need to cooperate more closely and engage in the development process of the ESRT’s action plan to support them in 2015. Moreover, they must enhance their activeness and commitment to implement the cooperation activities. Finally, it is necessary to involve private sector in destination management by enhancing the role of local tourism associations.
Closing the meeting, the three provinces signed an agreement on tourism development cooperation, creating foundation for exploiting tourism resources reasonably and promoting tourism growth sustainably in the region. The agreement focuses on four main cooperation areas: tourism management policy mechanism making and local tourism development; tourism product development; Tourism promotion and communication; and tourism human resource development.
To effectively implement the above cooperation activities, the agreement also recorded the establishment of the Steering Committee for Regional Tourism Development Cooperation of three Mekong Delta provinces with the participants from the People Committees. At the same time, Standing Group and Working Group were also established according to the agreement.
The model for Tourism Development Cooperation in Mekong Delta area is the third to receive technical support of the ESRT after Northern Highlands area (Hòa Bình, Sơn La, Điện Biên, Lai Châu, Phú Thọ, Yên Bái, Lào Cai, Hà Giang) and three Central Coast provinces area (Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam and Da Nang).