Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — HCM City is promoting responsible tourism considered the best approach to meet objectives related to economic development, local socio-cultural preservation and environmental protection.
“Responsible tourism is an urgent task of the city’s tourism sector,” director of the city’s Department of Tourism, Bùi Tá Hoàng Vũ, said at a conference on responsible tourism development held on Thursday in HCM City.
Peter Semone, managing director of Destination Human Capital, said that reckless driving, no sidewalks, constant honking, scamming taxi drivers and overbooking are troublesome problems that foreign visitors often face in Việt Nam.
A responsible tourist mindset includes the use of public transport, staying in smaller locally-owned accommodation and buying locally produced food and drink as well as souvenirs from local artisans, he said.
Minimising plastic waste, carefully managing limited energy and water resources, and offering real life experiences which promote cross-cultural understanding are parts of a responsible tourist mindset.
City planners must consider both the needs and desires of residents and visitors through surveys and research, Semone said.
The public transportation network should consider the needs of both residents and visitors, he said, adding that public engagement in planning and regular updates to the community were essential.
Residents should be informed of the economic value of visitors, which would encourage them to be friendly and welcoming to visitors.
“Cities that have a good quality of life for its residents offer a quality experience for visitors,” Semone added.
Responsible and sustainable development is a crucial determinant of competitiveness, especially for small and emerging tourism destinations, according to Nisha Barkathunnisha, CEO of Elevated Consultancy and Training in Singapore.
Responsible and sustainable tourism development should make optimal use of environmental resources as well as help conserve natural heritage and biodiversity, she said.
The socio-cultural authenticity, heritage and values should be respected and conserved. Viable and long-term economic benefits to local communities should be ensured, she added.
The conference, organised by the city’s People’s Committee and the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, aims to collect ideas and practical experience to develop responsible tourism in the city.
Nearly 300 foreign and domestic government officials, enterprises and experts in the tourism sector participated in the conference. — VNS