|Cross culture: A foreign tourist shares his photos with ethnic women in Sa Pa. Thanks to a Spanish-funded project, many local women have been trained as tour guides to help increase family incomes. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha
HA NOI (VNS)— One of the successes of a Spanish project to enhance tourism sector capacity has been to raise the role of ethnic women in their communities, according to Hoang Thu Hien, head of the Lao Cai Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Speaking at a closing ceremony for the project yesterday, Hien praised the 400,000-euro (US$515,000) project funded by the Spanish Government via the Spanish Agency for International Development Co-operation (AECID).
The project was implemented in several northern and Central Highlands provinces, especially Lao Cai, Dien Bien and Ha Giang.
Beside developing Viet Nam's tourism in a sustainable manner, the project also aims to raise the awareness of tourism managers at central and local levels about the role of tourism and diversify tourism products while effectively exploiting Viet Nam's landscapes.
Launched in 2011, the project also focused on enhancing the participation of women in developing tourism, including ecological and community tourism.
Hien reported on the development of the local tourism industry in her province, saying she highly appreciated work on getting women more involved in developing tourism. Two training courses were held in Lao Cai with the participation of 200 local women.
"The project focused on developing community tourism in Sa Pa Town," she said. "It created jobs for local people, especially women who were trained to perform traditional music, make handicraft and work as tour guides.
"The women are taught foreign languages and techniques to develop their traditional handicrafts such as making jewellery and weaving brocade, they are confident and happy as they contribute to their household economy.
"Thanks to the project, we not only promote the local tourism industry but also ensure more balanced gender equality in the ethnic communities where women have been disregarded."
In addition to holding training courses, specialists from AECID also helped Vietnamese managers and authorities compile guide books, build up a website introducing tourism in the northern provinces at www.dulichcongdong-vn.vn and upgrade communal houses and exhibition areas at tourism villages in Lao Cai, Dien Bien and Ha Giang.
Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, said he respected the support of the Spanish Government, especially when Europe in general and Spain in particular are facing economic difficulties.
"We tried to use the budget effectively and co-operated with foreign specialists to implement the project in a serious manner," he said.
Viet Nam and Spain have co-operated actively in tourism. Spain has supported Viet Nam in a project to popularise tourism laws and develop tourism at world heritage sites and Cat Ba Island. — VNS