The Workshop was chaired by Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) with the technical support of the European Union funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programne (known as the EU-ESRT Programme).
The Workshop was seen as an opportunity for EU-ESRT Programme to report results obtained from the mission of a team of international and domestic experts to three Mekong Delta River provinces from January 12th - 27th, 2015. The mission’s targets were studying and supporting tourism product development as well as destination promotion plan for the region.
Attending the one-day workshop were more than 50 participants including representatives of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, representative of VNAT’s leaders, representatives of the European Union Delegation to Vietnam, representatives of leaders and tourism administrators from three provincial Departments of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mekong Delta River Tourism Association, tourism colleges and tourism businesses in the region.
According to Mr. Robert Travers, an international expert on Destination Development and Management of the EU-ESRT Programme, a key challenge is the chronically short length of stay (just one night). It is seen as an excursion or add-on destination rather than a leisure destination in its own right.
In order to address this, the business sector and the Government were urged to come together to adopt a market-led approach, targeting longer staying visitor segments in the domestic and international markets.
The expert team suggested the industry and Government should work more closely together within the Delta region to create tourism hubs of excellence which can offer unique Mekong Delta experiences. The experts said the Delta needs to be different from other parts of Vietnam, because at the moment the thrust of development is making it just like anywhere else. The experts suggested that high quality riverside resorts and lodges, expanded water-based options, better orchard and agri-tourism visits and higher quality homestay are needed to enhance the Mekong tourism products.
The workshop was a technical support of the EU-ESRT followed the High level meeting on tourism cooperation between the three Mekong Delta provinces held in Rach Gia, Kien Giang on October 18th, 2014. In the meeting, representatives of the three provinces signed a memorandum of agreement on cooperation for tourism development in the region.
To enhance product competitiveness and public-private dialogue, the EU-ESRT initiated and supported Destination Management Organisations in eight North-Western provinces, three Central Coastal provinces and three Mekong Delta provinces.