The contest was aimed at raising awareness for high schools’ students across the country on environmentally and socially responsible tourism which focused on using of natural resources in sustainable manner, reducing waste and limiting excessive consumption of resources, generating benefits for communities and socio-economic development.
In the opening speech, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Hung, VNAT Vice Chairman highly appreciated the initiative of organising the contest. Mr. Hung also stressed that to develop towards responsible tourism principles, it was crucial to have commitment and buy-in of all relevant stakeholders and the broad participation of all sectors in the society, especially young generation as tourists themselves or probably tourism practitioners in the future.
Starting from January 2015, after two rounds of multiple choice test and essay writing, the best 20 contestants passed more than 32,000 contestants from over 1,700 high schools across the country to enter the final round of the contest. In Ho Chi Minh City, the judges continued to select top 10 for the final round which is broadcasted live on television.
The final round of the competition consisted of oratory and questions and answer sessions. First of all, 10 contestants presented one of the topics related to environmentally and socially responsible tourism chosen in random. After then, the best five contestants were chosen to enter the questions and answers session where they directly addressed questions from the judges.
First prize: Nguyen Trung Hieu from Hue High school for the gifted, Thua Thien - Hue
Two second prizes: Ta Hoai Thuong from Bac Binh High school (Binh Thuan) and Nguyen Thi Yen Linh from Tran Phu high school for the gifted (Hai Phong)
Two third prizes: Nguyen Hoang Phuong Anh from Dau Tieng High school (Binh Duong) and Huynh Thanh Than from Tran Binh Trong high school (Khanh Hoa)
Besides, five most excellent candidates were awarded with a trip across Vietnam funded by the contest organisation board. Furthermore, organisation board also granted awards for 5 best candidates in round 1, 15 candidates with consolation prizes, and 3 high schools that have the biggest number of students participating in the contest.
Commenting on the quality of the contest, the ESRT Sector Development Manager Mr.Truong Nam Thang said: “This activity is an evidence for promoting responsible tourism in Vietnam. With a large number of schools and students participating in the contest nationwide, it has shown that people are paying attention to Tourism development in Vietnam in general and sustainable tourism development orientation with responsible principles in particular”. Thang also believes that similar initiatives will help to spread out the spirit and concept of Responsible Tourism wider to the society if more focus and investment are made.
In this year, the EU and Vietnam are celebrating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The European Union continues to be a strong partner to Vietnam and has over the past 12 years worked closely in supporting the tourism sector with the Government as the country solidifies its place on the world tourism stage. Over this time in excess of 20 million Euros was allocated to support strengthening the delivery of tourism trainings to services and to build capacities and strengthen the foundation of the Vietnamese tourism sector for socially and environmentally responsible and inclusive growth.